Thomas, Isaac Sr.

Birth Name Thomas, Isaac Sr.
Gramps ID I0176
Gender male
Age at Death 68 years, 10 months

Events

Event Date Place Description Notes Sources
Birth 1762-08-26    
 
Residence 1810 New Philadelphia, Tuscarawas Cty, Ohio, USA Homesteaded
1a
Residence 1830 Dover Twp, Tuscarawas Cty, Ohio, USA  
2a
Death 1831-06-26 Ohio, USA  
 
Burial   Thomas Family Cemetery, Dover Twp, Tuscarawas Cty, Ohio, USA  
 

Families

    Family of Thomas, Isaac Sr. and Flack, Mary Anna Maria [F0086]
Married Wife Flack, Mary Anna Maria [I0177]
   
Event Date Place Description Notes Sources
Marriage 1796-11-17 Frederick, Frederick Cty, Maryland, USA  
3a
  Children
  1. Thomas, Catherine [I0655]
  2. Thomas, Elizabeth [I0656]
  3. Thomas, Barbara [I0658]
  4. Thomas, Anna [I0654]
  5. Thomas, Isaac Jr. [I0659]
  6. Thomas, Anna Mary [I0657]
  7. Thomas, Magdalena [I0660]
  8. Thomas, Jacob [I0661]
  9. Thomas, David F. [I0039]
  10. Thomas, John Lucas Flack [I0662]

Media

Narrative

Note: Researching Isaac Thomas Sr.

Establishing our Thomas family lineage prior to Isaac Thomas Sr. has been difficult, and even confirming Isaac as our earliest Thomas ancestor has been challenging. I had notes and other items from Jane Anne Thomas, but none of her sources, when I began this work. A few publicly-viewable family trees, notably on websites like Ancestry.com and MyTrees.com, showed Isaac Sr. as the husband of Anna Mary Flack (sometimes given as Anna Maria Flack) and father of up to ten children, including a David Thomas. FindAGrave.com indicates that Isaac is buried in the "Thomas Family Cemetery" in Dover Twp on land near County Road 52 (formerly Crooked Run Road) near New Philadelphia, Tuscarawas Cty, Ohio.

In a letter written to me in the early 1990s (listed in the sources as the "Thomas Genealogy Letter") Jane Anne noted that Isaac homesteaded near New Philadelphia in Tuscarawas Cty, Ohio and was "the first to enter his land" from the township where he had resided prior. She also notes that he came from "the corner of Penn. close to Maryland," and that his wife was Anna Mary Flack, whose family resided in Maryland and was of German descent. Lastly, Jane Anne mentions that she had "pictures of the church he helped to found and build near his land" and that he is "buried on his own land in Ohio." In her submission to the text Wells County, Indiana Family History 1837-1992, in the article on David F. Thomas and his family, Jane Anne mentions that five children of Isaac Thomas Sr., along with their families, migrated to the Zanesville area of Wells Cty, Indiana, from Dover Twp, Tuscarawas Cty, Ohio, between the years of 1845 and 1850.

Family recollections of other things Jane Anne had mentioned about Isaac and his origins differ; I recall being told by her that the Thomas name was Welsh, but others in the family (including my father) recall her saying that our family was of German origin.

My initial research focussed on three texts, with the hope of either finding substantiation for connecting David F. Thomas to his father Isaac Sr., or in finding information on the parents or origins of Isaac Sr. In The History of Tuscarawas County, Ohio (p512) I found mention of Isaac Thomas as among the "early pioneers who arrived prior to 1812 and located in the western part of Dover Township." His land is specifically described as being "the northeast quarter of Section 10" of the township. There is further mention (p515) of the Thomas family as among those who built the Union Church on Brandywine Creek in 1844, where services for United Brethren were held. This lined up with the information that Jane Anne had presented thus far, with regards to his early residence in Tuscarawas Cty and his family's involvement in helping construct a church - specifically this one, as in later years his son David F. Thomas was a minister and circuit rider in the United Brethren conferences and was active within the larger regional church.

In Christian Metzger: Founder of an American Family 1682-1942, David Thomas (husband of Metzger descendant Anna Weible) is described as coming from "Canal Dover" in Tuscarawas Cty (p182) - the name for their homestead area is said, in that text, to be a colloquialism from the Thomas family for that portion of Dover Twp. That same reference mentions that, shortly after their marriage, David and Anna relocated to Wells Cty, Indiana, where "he joined the United Brethren Conference." It should also be noted that the same page mentions his sister Anna Thomas married Anna Weible's brother, John. The genealogy listing for John on p175 states that Anna Thomas was from Tuscarawas Cty, Ohio, and while it indicates that John resided in Van Wert, Van Wert Cty, Ohio (nearly 180 miles away from New Philadelphia), the listing for his brother Frederick Weible just below describes the Weible homestead as near Dover Twp, Tuscarawas Cty, Ohio.

The third text into which I poured significant time was Genealogy of the Thomas Family (George Leicester Thomas, published 1954). In the introductory pages, the author notes that there were two separate Thomas lines that both seemed to have lived in the Frederick Cty, Maryland area at the same time. One of these lines is German, and the other is called English in this volume. There is mention that the two families intermingled over the years; the book deals nearly exclusively with the German line. Several portions of this descendancy came from Maryland to Tuscarawas Cty, Ohio. Disappointingly, there is no mention of an Isaac Thomas anywhere in this text that I have been able to find, nor any strongly identifying information for his family members or descendants. As the listed descendants of this family line number in the thousands in this text, and as the locations for the early history of the lineage trace quite neatly along the route taken by Isaac Thomas Sr. and his descendants, I have strongly entertained the idea that Isaac could quite likely be an early descendant of one of the major Thomas lines detailed in the book.

The major lines in the book deal with the descendants of Michael Thomas and Anna Veronika, who left Schifferstadt (in the Rhineland Palatinate of Germany) and sailed from Rotterdam to arrive in Philadelphia in 1730. With them were seven sons, born between the years of 1714 and 1729. Of those seven sons, four of them have their lineages marked in great detail in the text, while one (Christopher Thomas, b. Christoph in 1729) has a very abbreviated bio and lineage given in a single page, with the author believing some descendants to have lived around Frederick and Hagerstown, Maryland, but that he could find "no definite authentic information." Another, Christian (b. 1714) has his lineage given with the introduction stating that the author believes "there are no living descendants of the Christian line bearing the Thomas name." The remaining son (Philip Henry, b. 1715) is listed with not much more than few sentences saying he had attended the Reformed Church in Frederick, Maryland, and that another genealogist had indicated that Philip Henry's descendants lived in and around Dayton. (I have assumed the author means Dayton, Maryland, a small community near Baltimore.)

Of these seven brothers, all are of the correct age range to have been the father of Isaac Sr.; six of them are given marriage dates in the text (all but Philip Henry, for whom no marriage information is given in the text), which all fall between 1744 and 1758. (For reference, Isaac Sr. is presumed to have been born about 1762.) If Isaac Sr. is a descendant of one of these brothers, there are two possibilities: that he is mentioned in the book by a different given name (and without identifying information or names for his line following), or that he is absent from the book (either because he was born to one of the brothers whose lineage is not detailed or because the records mentioning him were lost or otherwise unavailable to the author). There are two sons of the Gabriel Thomas lineage for whom there is no record after their birth, and neither of which are given more than one name in the text; both of these have birth years close to Isaac's. Likewise, there is a son born to the John Thomas line in 1762 who is called Gabriel for whom there is no mention or record after his birth, and he is also listed with only a single name.

Another potential indication that Isaac is descended from German lineage would be the names given his children - many of them are primarily Germanic-derived names (including his own), rather than common English names at the time. Even those whose names ring more anglicized were likely German names with English cognates. It could be argued, though, that the source for these Germanic names was not from Isaac's side of the family, but from his wife's family (Anna Maria Flack, born to Johann Lucas Flack), but that still leaves his name as an indication of origin.

There is also record (reported in Margaret Meyers' Marriage Licenses of Frederick County, Maryland 1811-1840) of the marriage between Isaac Thomas and Mary Flack on 17 Nov 1796. Anna Maria Flack's family was resident in that region of Maryland at the time, though it is unknown whether Isaac was himself. Jane Anne had described him to be from southeastern Pennsylvania, near Maryland, though I do not know the dates of the earliest records she may have uncovered for Isaac; it is possible that she hadn't reached as far back as the marriage, though I find that slightly unlikely. Further complicating matters is that, in the 1900 US Census record for son David's household, David reports both his parents' birthplace as Germany. I suspect this is incorrect, either because David's memory was a bit fuzzy by that time (being eighty-four years old) or simply because he was not strongly aware of the details of his lineage at all. By contrast, the 1880 US Census record for Isaac's youngest son, John Lucas Flack Thomas, reports Isaac's birthplace as Pennsylvania and Anna Maria's birthplace as Maryland. I have not visually reviewed other census records for these two brothers (or other siblings) to compare the listed responses in those records.

There are also US Census records for 1820, 1830, and 1840 for Dover, Tuscarawas Cty, Ohio that list Isaac Thomas, though it is unknown at this point whether the first two are Isaac Sr. or Isaac Jr., as both were still alive at that point and Isaac Jr. had not yet relocated with his family to Indiana. (The 1840 listing is almost certainly Isaac Jr., as he did not relocate to Indiana until after 1845 and Isaac Sr. had passed away in 1831.)

Interestingly, in the files of Jane anne Thomas were many letters from Marge Karlberg, a descendant of Jacob Thomas (another son of Isaac Sr.), in which the two discussed family history and compared notes on their genealogy research. In a hand-written postscript at the end of one typed letter (believed to be from early 2007), Marge speculated that Isaac Sr. may have been one of the many German mercenaries hired by the British to fight in the Revolutionary War, and that he may have simply stayed and settled in America after the war. This seems quite possible, as there have not yet been found any records of his entry into the port cities, he seems to have no other family here (parents or siblings), and he would have been a young man in his late teens or early twenties (given a birth year of 1762) during the course of the war. Further reading along this line shows that roughly 5,000 "Hessians" were unaccounted for in the course of the war, and many of the soldiers were forcibly conscripted, with deserters summarily executed or beaten in many cases. Along with the ill will that could follow if one's post-war neighbors discovered that one had fought for the British, it seems unlikely that a former Hessian soldier would be forthcoming about his past. This could be a plausible explanation for the lack of details on Isaac's past as known by the family; such a man would likely carry that secret to his grave, and instead pretend to be a landed immigrant no different than many of the other Germans around him. Given the prevalance of the Thomas name in southestern Pennsylvania and Maryland, he may even have taken that surname for use to replace his own, blending in with the large, spread-out local families around him; if Thomas was his surname of birth, then perhaps the location he chose to "emerge" as a legitimate settler was a deliberate choice instead of merely a fortuitous one.

Isaac Thomas Sr. remains one of the larger mysteries in my work - whether he was an ordinary German immigrant farmer, a Pennsylvania-born man of then-recent German heritage, or the more exciting-sounding former mercenary soldier, or of some as-yet unconsidered origin, will be, I'm sure, one of the larger puzzles to solve.

 

 

Narrative

Note: The children of Isaac Thomas Sr.

Between the work done by Jane Anne Thomas, the work I'd done independently, and the contributions of others (notably Jim Flack), I have a relatively good accounting of Isaac's family. He and his wife, Mary Anna Maria Flack, are believed to have had ten children. As adults, the bulk of them went on to settle in Indiana, and the majority of those settled in Wells Cty, Indiana.

- Barbara married John Gimlin in 1828, had at least two children, and was a widow by the time of the 1840 US Census. Sometime between 1860 and 1866, she would move to Daviess Cty, Indiana, with both her son David and his wife and children and her unmarried daughter Rebecca. Rebecca would marry in Daviess Cty in 1866, and Barbara lived with her daughter there until sometime after the 1880 US Census. She is presumed to have died and been buried somewhere in Daviess Cty, where a number of her descendants would live.

- Anna married John Weible (son of Hanz Jakob Weible and Anna Nancy Metzger) and had at least one daughter. I have not determined the family's later movements as of yet.

- Isaac Jr., the first son, married Barbara Ann Harbaugh and had at least five children (four daughters and one son). He moved his family from Tuscarawas Cty, Ohio to Wells Cty, Indiana, sometime after 1850, where he lived and farmed until his death in 1864. Many of his descendants would continue to live in Wells Cty or nearby in Allen Cty or Huntington Cty, Indiana.

- Anna Mary (called Mary) was the wife of Pennsylvania-born Abraham G. Beaber. They had at least eight children, and moved from Tuscarawas Cty, Ohio to Wells Cty, Indiana, then onto Fort Wayne, Allen Cty, Indiana.

- Magdalena married Henry Beaber, believed to be a younger brother of Abraham, and had four children. The family relocated from Tuscarawas Cty, Ohio to Wells Cty, Indiana.

- Jacob is believed to have married a woman named Anna Mary Weible, though her immediate parentage isn't confirmed as of yet. My research so far indicates she may have been a cousin of John Weible (husband of Anna Thomas), and not a sister, though he did have a sister by that name (noted below). He and his wife had at least four children prior to her early death - three sons and one daughter - and he is believed to have died sometime between 1860 and 1870. His line continued through two of his sons, primarily in Nebraska and Illinois.

- David F. married Anna Weible, sister to the John Weible who married David's older sister Anna. He and his wife had six children, and relocated to Wells Cty, Indiana where he farmed and became a United Brethren minister. His oldest son and subsequent generations continued to farm in Indiana, while his only surviving daughter had one son who moved to the northwestern corner of the continent, where most of those descendants still live.

- John L.F. married Elizabeth Cora North, and they had eight children. He worked as a blacksmith and machinist, and relocated to Wells Cty, Indiana with his family.

The remaining two children are presumed to be daughters Catherine and Elizabeth, though very little is known about them and I have their names only from notes and some items in the files of Jane Anne Thomas. It should be noted that there is an "unknown" Thomas daughter buried in the same family cemetery as Isaac Sr. and his wife; the FindaGrave.com website lists her interment without vital dates but does include the text "25y 9m/d. of I. & A." (This is presumably from the original inscription on the stone, the information for which probably came from documentation kept by the Tuscarawas Cty Historical Society). The website also gives an interment in that family cemetery for an infant Landis daughter, d. 18 Jul 1829, and includes the text "Age abt. 3m d/H. & C." From these, it seems to lead to reasonable speculation that the twenty-five-year-old might have been daughter Elizabeth, who perhaps died unmarried. The other burial's inscription might indicate that the parent "C" could have been Catherine, who may have married a man by the name of H. Landis. This is unconfirmed, and is merely guesswork on my part at this point.

 

Narrative

[Typewritten transcript of the will of Isaac Thomas, as found in the files of Jane Anne Thomas. The transcript also includes the order of execution by the court. I would expect that this photocopy came from the probate court archives held by the Tuscarawas County Historical Society, but I do not have confirmation of that.]

Will of Isaac Thomas

In the name of God Amen: I Isaac Thomas of Dover Township, Tuscarawas County and the State of Ohio, being sick and weak in body but of sound mind, memory and understanding praised be God for it and considering the certainty of death and the uncertanity [sic] of the time thereof and to the end I may be better prepared to leave this world when ever it shall please God to call me hence do therefore make and declare this my last will and testament in manner following that is to say first and principally I command my soul into the hands of Almight God my creator hoping for free pardon and remission of all my sins and to enjoy everlasting happyness [sic] in the heavenly Kingdon [sic] through Jesus Christ my Savior, My body I commit to the earth that it may be buried in a christian manner and as touching my worldly estate it is my will that all my just debts as shall be by me owing at my death together with my funeral expenses and all charges touching the proving of or otherwise concerning this my will shall in the first place, out of my moveable estate and effects be fully paid and satisfied and from and after payment thereof then my will is that all the residue of my movable goods, stock, chattels, merchandize [sic], furniture I do bequeath to my beloved wife Anna Mary together with a tract of land situated in the above County and Township it being in the North East quarter of section ten of Township eight of range three and also a tract being the North West quarter of section ten in Township eight of range three both tracts situated in the above township and county and likewise a tract estimated to contain one hundred acres lot number thirty two in the fourth quarter of the tenth township in the fifth range and also a tract of the south east quarter of the tenth section in eighth township and third range being conveyed to me by Jacob Crits and Elizabeth Crits containing eighteen acres, I also grant it is my will that she my beloved wife Anna Mary shall have and hold during her widowship and authorize her to act, transact, sell, buy, lease, and if she the said Anna Mary should marry again then and in such case it is my will that all the property then remaining shall be appraised and be divided among all my children and widow, each one th [sic] have share and share alike and I do hereby avoid [sic] all former wills and grant this as my last will and testament.

Isaac Thomas (seal)

Signed and sealed this fifteenth day of September in the year of our lord one thousand eight hundred and twenty five before us:

Jacob Weibel
John Weibel
Henry Critzer (x his mark)

State of Ohio, Tuscarawas County
Court of Common Pleas September Term A.D. 1831. The last will and testament of Isaac Thomas was this day brought into Court and proven to the satisfaction of the Court to be the last will and testament of the said Isaac Thomas by Jacob Weibel, John Weibel, and Henry Critzer the subscribing witnesses to said will who testified that the said testator signed and sealed the same in their presence that he knew the contents thereof and declared the same to be his last will and testament. That he appeared to be of sound disposing mind, memory and judgment [sic] and called upon them to bear testimony thereof.

Whereupon the court order that letters testamentary issue to Mary Thomas the Executrix named in said will and that she give bond in the sum of seven hundred dollars, Henry Critz and Jacob Weibel approved as security and that Frederick Swinehart, Jacob Kore and Christian Kore appraise the goods and chattel of the said estate whereupon the said executrix appeared in open court and was sworn agreeable to the stalute [sic] in such case made and provided.

A Record Attest James W. English, Clerk.

 

Pedigree

    1. Thomas, Isaac Sr.
      1. Flack, Mary Anna Maria [I0177]
        1. Thomas, Barbara [I0658]
        2. Thomas, Anna [I0654]
        3. Thomas, Isaac Jr. [I0659]
        4. Thomas, Anna Mary [I0657]
        5. Thomas, Magdalena [I0660]
        6. Thomas, Jacob [I0661]
        7. Thomas, David F. [I0039]
        8. Thomas, John Lucas Flack [I0662]
        9. Thomas, Catherine [I0655]
        10. Thomas, Elizabeth [I0656]

Source References

  1. History of Tuscarawas County, Ohio [S0094]
      • Page: p512
      • Confidence: High
  2. US Census of 1830 [S0354]
      • Date: 1830
      • Citation:

        "United States Census, 1830," database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:XHGV-R81 : 18 August 2015), Isaac Thomas, Dover, Tuscarawas, Ohio, United States; citing 70, NARA microfilm publication M19, (Washington D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, n.d.), roll 141; FHL microfilm 337,952.

        Event Date 1830
        Event Place Dover, Tuscarawas, Ohio, United States
        Isaac Thomas
        M5-10 1
        M10-15 2 [John L.F., age eleven, and David, age fourteen]
        M15-20 1 [Jacob, age seventeen]
        M20-30 1 [Isaac Jr., age twenty-five]
        M40-50 1 [Isaac Sr., age sixty-eight; I believe the column choice was in error]
        F5-10 1 [unknown daughter or grandchild?]
        F20-30 1 [Magdalena, age twenty]
        F50-60 1 [Mary, age fifty-five]

         

  3. Frederick County Marriage Record, 1779-1798 [S0068]
      • Page: p53
      • Confidence: High