Col. John Thomas Sr.
It may not be disagreeable to the reader to know something of Col. Thomas, the father-in-law of Major McJunkin. In consideration of the fact that he occupied a prominent place in his own region of country during a considerable portion of the War of Independence and as he is now almost unknown to those who enjoy the benefits of his skill, efforts and privations, I shall make a short digression to introduce him to the reader’s acquaintance.
Col. Thomas was a native of Wales, but brought up in Chester County, Pa. He married Jane Black, a sister of the Rev. John Black of Carlisle, Pa., and the first President of Dickinson College.
A number of years before the war Mr. Thomas removed to South Carolina, resided for some time upon Fishing Creek. Before hostilities commenced with the mother country he was residing upon Fairforest Creek, in the lower part of what is now Spartanburg District. He was one of the founders of Fairforest Church, and his wife was one of its most zealous members. He was a militia captain and a magistrate under the Royal Government. He was industrious, intelligent, patriotic and highly distinguished for his devotion to the public welfare.
Upon the refusal of Col. Fletcher to accept a commission under the authority of the Province, an election was held and John Thomas was chosen Colonel of the Spartan Regiment, having previously resigned the commissions that he had held under the Royal Government. He directed the movements of this regiment until Charleston fell, soon after which he was taken prisoner by a Tory Captain by the name of Sam Brown and confined at Ninety Six and in Charleston until near the close of the war. The said Brown carried off his Negroes and horses.
Col. Thomas had four sons, two of whom watered the tree of liberty with their blood. Robert was killed at Roebuck’s Defeat. Abraham was wounded and taken prisoner at Ninety Six and died in confinement. John succeeded his father in command of the Spartan Regiment and made his mark in many a well-fought battle. The other son was a youth in time of the war. Col. Thomas had also four daughters. The husband of each was a Whig, and all held commissions in the war and rendered their country most substantial service in securing victory and freedom. The ladies of South Carolina were proverbial for being true to the cause of independence, but the zeal and fidelity of Mrs. Thomas and her daughters will compare favorably with the brightest of that bright galaxy that adorns the history of the State. Soon after the war closed Col. Thomas removed to Greenville District, where he resided until the time of his death. His descendants are widely dispersed over the land and generally unknown to the writer.