Thomas was born in 1814 in Philadelphia, Co Durham. His parents were Wesleyan. At an early age he went to work in the local coal mine. At the age of 12, Thomas was subject to ‘deep religious impressions’ under the ministry of some early PM preachers of the Sunderland circuit. He became a diligent reader; essentially he was a self-taught man. Thomas became a local preacher when he was 18.
On completion of his probation, Thomas immediately became a superintendent.
On several occasions, Thomas was appointed as a General Committee delegate. He became Governor of Elmfield College in 1868 when John Petty died.
Thomas was President of Conference in 1877 and in 1878 was one of the fraternal representatives to the Wesleyan conference.
His obituary records that his peaceful disposition, his high Christian character, his sound judgement, his mental ability, and his kindly manner always won for him the good will and cooperation of the people in his circuits, as well as the confidence of the brethren in the ministry.
Thomas married Elizabeth Middleton (1817-1884) on 23 Jun 1838 at Gateshead, Co Durham. Census returns identify three children.
- George (1839-1881) – a commercial clerk
- Thomas (b abt 1844)
- Jane Eleanor (1851-1924) – married Thomas Gough, headmaster of Elmfield College in 1881
Thomas died on 29 August 1879 at York, Yorkshire.
- 1834 Sunderland (6 mths)
- 1834 N Shields (6 mths)
- 1835 Brompton
- 1836 Westgate
- 1839 Alston
- 1840 Sunderland
- 1842 Berwick
- 1844 Carlisle
- 1846 Barnard castle
- 1848 N Shields
- 1852 Darlington
- 1856 Durham
- 1857 Hexham
- 1859 N Shields
- 1863 Newcastle
- 1868 Governor of Jubilee School
Primitive Methodist Magazine 1878 (portrait)
PM Minutes 1880/6
H B Kendall, Origin and History of the PM Church, vol 2, p393
W Leary,Directory of Primitive Methodist Ministers and their Circuits, 1990
Census Returns and Births, Marriages & Deaths Registers