Image of Thomas, William

Thomas, William

b. November 22, 1802, in Allen County, Kentucky; d. August 22, 1889, in Jacksonville, Illinois. William Thomas was admitted to the Illinois bar in 1823. In 1826, he settled in Jacksonville. He served in both the Winnebago War in 1827 and the Black Hawk War in 1831-32. In 1829, Governor Ninian Edwards appointed Thomas as the state’s attorney for Morgan County, Illinois, and in 1831, he served as that county’s school commissioner. Voters elected Thomas to the state senate in 1834. He resigned in 1839, when Governor Thomas Carlin appointed him as judge of the First Judicial Circuit. He served until 1841, when the general assembly expanded the supreme court to nine justices, and gave each justice responsibility for a judicial circuit. Voters again elected Thomas to the state legislature, where he served from 1846 to 1848, and again from 1850 to 1852.
Frederick B. Crossley, Courts and Lawyers of Illinois (Chicago: American Historical Society, 1916), 1:228-29; Charles M. Eames, Historic Morgan and Classic Jacksonville (Jacksonville, Illinois: Daily Journal Steam Job Printing Office, 1885), 323-26; John Palmer, ed., The Bench and Bar of Illinois: Historical and Reminiscent (Chicago: Lewis Publishing Co., 1899), 1:337. Illustration courtesy of the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library, Springfield, IL.