John W. and Calphurnia Neel Thomas

 

Contributed by: Carolyn Feroben

 

HISTORY OF MERCED- page 451

SURNAMES:  HAUN, VAUGHT, SPRAGUE., CREWS, BLAKE, DEXTER, JOHNSON, VOSS,  FLORY

John W. Thomas was born at Mountain View, Santa Clara County, on September 22, 1853, the son of Silas and Emaline (Haun) Thomas.  The father was a native of Missouri and came to California at the age of nineteen, in 1849; he died in Mountain View. leaving a family of four children;  John W.; Seth, deceased; Eliza, who became Mrs. Vaught of  Watsonville and is deceased; Ellen, who became Mrs. Sprague of Oakland and is also deceased.  Emaline Haun was also a native of Missouri and crossed the plains with an ox-team. She first married Silas Thomas, and after his death married C. B. Crews.  IN 1864 the family moved to a ranch at Old Gilroy which is known to this day as the Old Crews Place.

John W. Thomas was educated in the schools of Mountain View and at a private high school which was in Old Gilroy. He has been twice married, first at Oakland, in March, 1875 to Miss Bell Doll who was born at Red Bluff, Tehama County, in 1856, the daughter of Jacob Granville and Harriet  (Johnson) Doll.  Mr. Doll was one of the early settlers of Tehama County, coming with the gold rush.  He was a man of affairs and represented Tehama County two sessions in the State Senate.  Mrs. Thomas died in 1884, leaving four children, namely:  John M., who lives at Fresno and has two boys; Erin M., superintendent of the Frankenheim ranch of Oakdale, who has two sons; Lucy,. Mrs. William Blake, of Gilroy, now deceased; and Emma, Mrs. George Dexter of Betteravia, Cal., who has one daughter and two sons.

In 1875, in company with his brother -in-law, Mr. Thomas purchased 3500 acres of land tying three miles sough of Pacheco Peak in Pacheco Pass, and they carried on the stock business on this ranch until 1900, when Mr. Thomas moved to Dos Palos.  Having traded some of his mountain land  for a thirty-acre ranch one mile northeast of Dos Palos, he improved the place and built a home on it and other farm buildings and has carried on a general farming and a dairy.

On May 14, 1888, in Gilroy, Mr. Thomas married for his second wife Calphurnia Neel, born in Red Bluff, Tehama County, the daughter of Barnett and Calphurnia (Johnson) Neel, and a cousin of the first Mr. Thomas, their mothers being sisters.  Barnett Neel was a native of Pennsylvania and his family traces its ancestry back to 1700, when the Neel family first landed in America.  His great-grandfather fought in the he American Revolution.  Mrs. Thomas' mother came from Tory stock in Virginia and she was born in Missouri, but her mother, Martha Brock Johnson, Mrs. Thomas' grandmother, came from Virginia.  In 1852 Calphurnia (Johnson) Neel came to California , across  the plains in the train under the command of Captain Bridger, and landed in Truckee in the same year.  Barnett Neel came to California later, settling in Tehama County, and being an expert in figures he was for years a public accountant and served as  Tehama County as treasurer.  He passed away in 1869.  Mrs. Thomas was one of four children; Nora, Mrs. Voss of San Francisco; Martha Neel and Grandville D., both of Watsonville; and Calphurnia  She was educated in the Oakland Grammar School, and after one year in the high school she was later graduated from the San Jose State Normal School.  She began teaching in the Bryant district of Fresno County and for fifteen years followed teaching in central California; the last fourteen years she has taught in the Dos Palos Colony, and one year  in the Junior High School of Dos Palos.  In 1923 he was appointed by the superintendent of schools of Merced County as a rural supervisor of general subjects, and has charge of all rural schools west of the Merced state highway to the west county line.  She is a member of the county Board of Education.

Mr. and Mrs. Thomas have three children namely; Martha of Oakdale; Granvile, of Berkeley, who has a daughter; and Helen, Mrs. E. E. Flory of Dos Palos, who has two girls.  These children have received the best of education's and all are following the profession of teaching and are very successful educators.  MR. Thomas is a Democrat in politics. Mrs. Thomas is active in club and lodge work, and is a charter member of the Dos Palos Women's Improvement Club.  She is a member of the Eastern Star and a Past Worthy Matron of Morgan Hill Chapter; she is also a member of the Ladies of Maccabees, of Dos Palos.


Outcalt, John.History of Merced County, California : with a biographical review of the leading men and women of the county who have been identified with its growth and development from the early days to the present
Los Angeles, Calif.: Historic Record Co., 1925, 903 pgs.