BENJAMIN F. THOMAS.
A man of broad mentality and high scholarly attainments, Benjamin F. Thomas, of Fairfield, occupies a place of prominence among the leading attorneys of Wayne county, his habits of industry, well trained mind and professional skill and knowledge having gained for him noteworthy success at the bar of Southern Illinois. A native of Wayne county, he was born August 18, 1873, in Jasper township, where his early life was spent.
The father of Mr. Thomas, Jason H. Thomas, was born near Salem, Ohio, July 9, 1827, and now, in 1912, is living on his farm of one hundred and five acres, which he improved from its original wildness. Coming to Wayne county in 1854, he followed the trades of a tanner and cabinet maker for many years, also being successfully engaged in agricultural pursuits. During the Civil war he enlisted in Company D, Eighty-seventh Regiment, Illinois Volunteer Infantry, and served until the close of hostilities.
Acquiring his preliminary education in the common schools, and afterwards graduating from Harvard College, Benjamin F. Thomas subsequently studied law, and in February, 1898, was admitted to the bar. On March 21, 1898, he formed a professional partnership with Thomas H. Creighton, of Fairfield, with whom he is at the present time associated, being junior member of the firm of Creighton & Thomas. In November, 1900, Mr. Thomas was elected state's attorney by a majority of seventy-three votes, and at the same time gained the distinction of being the first state's attorney ever elected on the Republican ticket in Wayne county. The administration that followed was an excellent one, and in November, 1904, Mr. Thomas was re-elected state 's attorney by a majority of four hundred votes, the increase in the number of ballots east in his favor bespeaking his popularity with all classes of people. During his eight years as state's attorney Mr. Thomas made a notable record, achieving over fourteen hundred convictions in the time; ridding the county of boot-leggers; thoroughly cowing the tough element by his strenuous work as prosecutor; at the expiration of his term turning over to the school funds more money than ever has been by a state's attorney before or since; and through his wise and efficient labors converting Wayne county into a law-abiding community. The abilities of Mr. Thomas receive hearty recognition not only in his home city, but throughout the county. He is highly esteemed and professionally and financially has attained marked success, being a large land
owner and having a financial interest in a number of prominent business ventures.
Mr. Thomas married Miss Minnie Farmer, of Noble, Illinois, and they have one daughter, Marjorie.