Saturday, July 19, 2008

Roman Swiss Thomas: 19th Century Itawamba County Merchant and Planter

Roman Swiss Thomas was born February 2, 1841, the son of William Carothers Thomas (born April 5, 1817 in Giles County, Tennessee, the son of Ezekiel Thomas and Nancy Jane Carothers) and Nancy I. Gibson (daughter of Silvanus Gibson, Jr. and Mary “Polly” Orr” of Wilkes County, Georgia). The Ezekiel Thomas family came to Itawamba County around 1839 from Lawrence County, Alabama settling in the old Van Buren and Richmond area where William Carothers Thomas was a landowner and a prominent member of the county’s Baptist clergy. Ezekiel, the patriarch of the family, died about 1843 and was buried in Keyes Cemetery (his daughter Suka had married Judge William Keyes for whom Keyes Cemetery is named).

Roman Swiss is found in the 1850 Itawamba County census with his family and is enumerated in the 1860 Monroe County census in the town of Aberdeen downriver from Itawamba, listed as a merchant living in the household of Dr. B.T. Armstrong. After the Civil War he is back in Itawamba and Lee counties in the Plantersville area. Roman Swiss Thomas married (1) M.E. Borum, daughter of western Itawamba planter and merchant Richard M. Borum of Woodlawn (2) Anastasia Stovall, the daughter of Itawamba County planter and merchant George Stovall of old Richmond in the southwestern part of the county. During the 1900 and 1910 census records Roman Swiss Thomas is listed as a merchant in the town of Plantersville in Lee County. Roman Swiss Thomas died on January 26, 1917 in Lee County.

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