(see bio of 1881 and 1922)

 Bio-Pen Pictures- 1888

was born on Green River, in Ohio County, Kentucky, January 27, 1813. His parents were James and Elizabeth (Miller) Thomas, the former being a native of Tennessee. Massey Thomas, the grandfather of the subject of this sketch, was born in Virginia, and was a soldier in the Revolutionary army. He emigrated to Tennessee when there was nothing but a pack trail there, and removed to Danville, Kentucky, when James was a mere child. The family was contemporaneous with Daniel Boone. He afterward removed to Ohio County, where he died and was buried on his own farm. Massey Thomas, Jr., was reared in Kentucky until he was fourteen years of age, when his parents removed to Marion County, Missouri, and after remaining there three years removed to Lewis County, where he grew to manhood, and bought and improved a farm. In 1849 he crossed the plains in Eb. Ousley's train bound for California, and after a trip of five months reached Sacramento. He then went to the mines at Auburn, but in one month gave up mining and went to teaming, at which he earned from $25 to $30 per day. He followed this business eighteen months, and then returned to Missouri, by way of Panama and New Orleans, and February 15, 1851, reached his old home. He remained there until April, when he again came to California, bringing 300 head of cattle, which comprised his entire capital.

        He reached Gilroy about the middle of October, and located where he now resides. He erected his present residence in 1862. Mr. Thomas was married, May 7, 1837, to Miss Phebe Foster Bain, a native of Bracken County, Kentucky, daughter of Balden and Nancy (Reynolds) Bain. Her parents were natives of Virginia. Her grandfather Reynolds was a soldier in the Revolutionary army. Her grandmother was a sister to Daniel Webster, and Governor Reynolds, of Missouri, was Mrs. Thomas' uncle. Her mother died in Bracken County, Kentucky. When Mrs. Thomas was seventeen years of age (in 1833) she went with her sister to Missouri, and located in Lewis County. Her father afterward removed to Pike County, Missouri, where he died. Mr. Thomas' father came out to California in 1855, in his seventieth year, and resided here until his death, in 1868. He was a great hunter, and while out deer-hunting one evening he was thrown by his horse near a precipice and was not found until the next morning, and soon died. He clung to his hunting proclivities until his death. He was born August 27, 1786. Mr. and Mrs. Thomas have reared ten children: James Balden, born June 30, 1838, and died October 29, 1859; Mary Susan, born February 3, 1840, wife of William O. Barker, now residing in Fresno County; Thomas Reynolds, born December 8, 1841, and died in 188–; he was a grain dealer in Gilroy; John and William (twins), born October 28, 1843; the former resides in San Benito County, and the latter died January 4, 1880; Benjamin F., born December 22, 1846, was educated in San Jose and is now practicing law in Santa Barbara; Louisa E., born August 7, 1848, died December 7, 1849; Massey, born December 10, 1851, now residing at San Felipe; Clayton R., born January 25, 1854, residing with his parents; and Charles E., born January 15, 1857, now residing at San Miguel. Mr. Thomas was an old-line Whig in the days of that party, but upon its disintegration became a Democrat. His father was also a Whig, and later a Democrat. Mr. and Mrs. Thomas are members of the Christian Church, and he is an Elder. He was one of the founders and principal supporters of the Gilroy congregation, and he and his wife were among the original members.

        Mr. Thomas has a fine ranch of 501 3/4 acres in Gilroy Township, 300 acres being valley land and the balance table-land. It is all susceptible of cultivation. He usually raises about 250 acres of grain annually, 200 acres of wheat, and 50 of barley. His crops have never failed. His wheat usually averages from fifteen to twenty-five centals to the acre, and he has raised seventy-five bushels of oats to the acre. His barley yields about twenty-five centals to the acre. His table-land is used for pasturage mostly. He has about seventy head of cattle and thirty-five horses. His brand is a capital "T," with the lower portion ex­tended through a small "o." He raises choice stock of all kinds. He also has an orchard with most of the varieties of fruits, and has been a successful fruit-raiser.

Pen Pictures From The Garden of the World or Santa Clara County, California, Illustrated. - Edited by H. S. Foote.- Chicago:  The Lewis Publishing Company, 1888.

Pg. 611-612


SANTA CLARA COUNTY The Valley of Heart's Delight