THOMAS, JOSEPH L., of the firm of Thomas & Hill, funeral directors and embalmers, is a son of George W., and Matilda (Coxston) Thomas, and was born in Winchester, Va., December 16, 1851.
The ancestors of Mr. Thomas on both paternal and maternal sides were natives of Virginia, in which State his parents resided until the breaking out of the late Rebellion. In 1861 the family removed to Harrisburg, where they resided for three years, and in June, 1864, they moved to Philadelphia, where the mother of Joseph L. died in February, 1865, and the father in December, 1868. Of a family of seven children, two died in infancy, George died in Philadelphia in 1869, at the age of eleven years, and these still survive: Joseph L.; Rachael, wife of Talmage Edwards, residing in New York; Martha W., wife of William H. Fields, residing in Harrisburg, and Sarah Matilda, wife of John H. Murray, residing in Harrisburg.
Joseph L. acquired his primary education in the schools of Harrisburg, and after his removal to Philadelphia attended the schools of that city until 1870, in which year he returned to Harrisburg and became a waiter in the Brady House. He later served in the same capacity in the Lochiel Hotel, and subsequently became head waiter at the Bolton House, Harrisburg, which position he efficiently filled for ten years. During the years 1893 and 1894 he filled the position of assistant head waiter at the Logan House, of Altoona, and on May 1, 1895, engaged in his present business.
Mr. Thomas is a graduate of Prof. P. A. Renavord's Training School for Embalmers. He is past master of Chosen Friends Lodge, No. 43, Harrisburg; a member of Purity Chapter, of Altoona, and Harrisburg Consistory, No. 8, A. Y. M.; member of Brotherly Love Lodge, No. 896; Council No. 7, and Harrisburg Patriarchie, No. 5, G. U. O. of O. F. During the years 1881, 1882 and 1883 he filled the office of district grand master of the latter order, and in the years 1879, 1880 and 1881 was grand patriarchie for the United States. In political views he is an ardent Republican.
Mr. Thomas was married in Harrisburg, October 26, 1881, by the Rev. George M. Bonnard, to Miss Marion B. Himes, daughter of William E. and Annie E. Himes, of Northumberland county, who was born at Mount Joy, October 14, 1865. No children have been born to their union. Both Mr. and Mrs. Thomas are members of the Capitol Street Presbyterian church, of which Mr. Thomas was choirmaster for eighteen years, and now holds the office of secretary.
The occupation of undertaker is one that necessitates certain qualities not common to all lines of business in consequence of being thrown in contact with those in deep affliction. Mr. Thomas is a gentleman whose pronounced success evidences his possession of all the essential qualifications for a proper conduct of this line of business. He gives personal attention to all details, is always ready to render any and every service to those in affliction, and is very considerate as to their wants and requirements.
Historical Review of Dauphin County
Transcribed by Robert Demyrdemy@earthlink.net for The Dauphin County, Pennsylvania Genealogy Transcription Project – http://maley.net/transcription.
Date of Transcription: 16 Feb 2001
Copyright (c) 2001 – All Rights Reserved: Use, duplication or reproduction for profit or presentation by any person or organization is strictly prohibited.
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