Here are my Grandfather and Grandmother Thomas with their six children at their golden wedding anniversary in 1957. She was the former Lydia Morton, a granddaughter of a Scholl. That's my father Vernon Morton Thomas standing directly behind her.
But the story of that side of my family goes back much further than that. I've tinted the text about the Thomas line in sepia and the Scholl line in blue.
Yes, with the help of ancestry.com and family lore, I can trace my origins back more than two centuries!
I am the great-great-grandson of Dr. Archibald D. Thomas, born in 1780 near the end of the American Revolution in the new state of Virginia. His father was Archibald White Thomas of Scotch-Welsh extraction, and he grew up to marry Tabitha H. Dixon, two years younger than himself.
Across the ocean at Mannheim, Germany, Adam Scholl and Mary Magdalina Pommert were each born in 1807. I am their great-great-great-grandson.
Early in the 19th century, Archibald D. Thomas moved to Springfield, Tennessee, 25 miles north of Nashville in Robertson County. He became only the third medical doctor in that city.
According to a history of Robertson County, A few of the settlers brought slaves with them and a small contingent of free blacks lived in the county in the 1790s. However, the majority of the region's inhabitants used no slave labor. Late in the 20th century, my uncle happened to mention the subject. Had any of our ancestors been slaveholders? I don't think so, Uncle Hubert told me; I hope not.
During the War of 1812, a local man, Col. Archer Cheatham, commanded the 2nd Regiment of Tennessee Militia. Dr. Thomas enlisted on January 28, 1814, and served as a surgeon's mate during the Creek War. Later he reportedly joined Gen. Andrew Jackson's forces for the Battle of New Orleans.
A new Masonic Lodge at Springfield, to be called United Lodge No. 20, was approved in 1817. Dr. Thomas was to be the Worshipful Master. But the dispensation was surrendered when another lodge moved into the city from the western part of the county.
A boy was born to Archie and Tabitha in 1818, and they gave him a mouthful of a name: Benjamin Archer Martin Thomas. Back then many men were known by their initials (for example, the aforementioned E.H. Hicks). Therefore young Ben, bearing two middle names, became known as B.A.M. Thomas.
A second child, Elizabeth, followed in 1819. However, her mother Tabitha died in 1826. That same July in neighboring Sumner County, Archie remarried at the age of 46. His second wife was 25-year-old Edith Hardaway White.
Adam Scholl was now a weaver's apprentice in Heidelberg, Germany. In 1828 he and Magdalina had a son whom they named George Frederick.
In the 1830s, many Tennessee men and even entire families went to Texas, wrote Charlotte Reedy in the Robertson County Times. The idea of wide-open spaces, plenty of buffalo to hunt, and new opportunities drew them west.
Archie's son B.A.M. had flaxen hair, blue eyes and a fair complexion. He grew up but never grew tall, with a low and well-set stature, below ordinary height. Nevertheless, he was adventurous. Emulating his father's military example, he searched out the action at the age of 18.
According to Ms. Reedy, Four men from the area traveled to Texas late in 1835: Peter Bailey, William Fauntleroy, B.A.M. Thomas, and Joseph G. Washington. All four took an oath of allegiance to Texas. That was in January 1836. Joining the Volunteer Army Corps, they arrived at San Antonio de Béxar on February 9 and were garrisoned at the Alamo.
A century later, his name was engraved near the right edge of the memorial cenotaph.
Elsewhere, more than a million German people emigrated to the United States in the decade beginning in 1845. They were fleeing political unrest, including riots that would lead to the revolution of 1848, and economic hardship, including unemployment and crop failures.
with 205 other passengers, the Scholls arrived at New York on the
21st of July. Then they traveled via rail to Buffalo, via lake
to Cleveland, and via the Ohio and Erie Canal to Columbus. The
populace in Ohio's capital was then almost one-third German.
The Scholls remained in Columbus for a year before moving 50 miles further down the canal to Chillicothe. Adam and Magdalina would spend the rest of their lives there, passing away in 1895 and 1899 respectively.
In 1852, Dr. Archibald Thomas passed away at Springfield. When the Civil War began, his 60-year-old widow was working as a seamstress.
For most residents, a historical marker tells us, Robertson County was a difficult place to live during the war. Union forces occupied the county and made the town of Springfield a military base.