William Carl Thoma, 1860

stan@wiclarkcountyhistory.org on Thu, 15 Feb 2001


Source: 1918 History of Clark Co., WI, by Franklyn, Curtiss-Wedge
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William c. Thoma and Family

WILLIAM CARL THOMA, road commissioner of Clark County, and a widely known and respected citizen, was born at Oak Creek, Milwaukee, Wis., Sept. 10, 1860, son of Ferdinand and Barbara (Haag) Thoma. The father was a German Lutheran minister, born in Pommern, Germany, who came to the United States as a missionary in 1848, making the voyage by sailing vessel. After a long and tedious journey he reached Milwaukee,which was a small hamlet of a few houses. Securing a piece of land, he erected log dwelling. Here, also, he married Barbara Haag, who was born in Germany, and had come to America in 1846 by sailing vessel. His time was devoted to taking care of his missions, which he visited regularly making the journeys sometimes on foot and sometimes on horseback this being his manner of life until his labors were terminated by his death three years after the birth of his son, William Carl. He and his wife had another child, Margaret, who died at the age of one year. After the death of her husband Mrs. Ferdinand Thoma removed to Jefferson County, taking with her her surviving child, William C. The latter attended school in that county, and when he grew old enough engaged in farm work, finally taking half a section of land between Delavan and Janesville, which he operated for sixteen years. Then, in 1892, he came to Clark County, locating on a tract of land in Sections 29, 30, 1 and 2, Weston Township. He was at this time already married, having been united June 5, 1881, to Amelia Floerke, a native of Jefferson County, Wis., and they had three children who accompanied them to this county, William, Paul and Benjamin. She was the daughter of August and Christiana Floerke, farming people of Jefferson County.

Mr. Thoma gradually increased the size of his farm until he had 420 acres, all of which he operated, planting the usual crops raised in, this region and breeding full-blooded Holstein cattle, Poland-China hogs and a good grade of horses. His farm was well equipped with good buildings and modern machinery, and was conducted by him in accordance with the most approved modern methods with profitable results. In 1913, Mr. Thoma took up his residence in the city of Neillsville, which has since been his home. Aside from his personal farming interests he has taken an active part for many years in township and county business, and also in other enterprises. Among other things, he helped organize the Clark County Butter Company, and was its president for ten or twelve years. While living in Weston Township he at different times held every local office, being township treasurer, assessor, chairman of the township board for a number of years, and-by virtue of that office--a member of the county board, and census enumerator. He was also county superintendent of assessors for four or five years. The branch of public business in which Mr. Thoma has taken the most interest, and in which, perhaps, he has rendered the most efficient service, is that relating to the construction of good roads. This came about through his election, about five years ago, to the office of county highway commissioner. On making himself acquainted with the duties of the office he found the subject so interesting in its bearing upon the welfare and development of the county, that it aroused his enthusiasm, and he devoted himself to the work with all his energies. His labors have had a highly beneficial result, and may be seen in some of the excellent roads which traverse the county, which- are an aid to quick transportation and more than pay for their cost in the time saved, and the lesser strain on vehicles of all kinds. Few public improvements are of greater importance, and in bringing this fact to the attention of his fellow citizens and gaining their appreciation of it, Mr. Thoma has performed an excellent public service.

In addition to the three children previously mentioned, he and his wife have had two born in Clark County-Helen and Carl. He and his family are members of the Lutheran Church. Two of the sons are in distant states--William in Texas and Paul in South Kansas. Carl and Helen reside in Neillsville, while Benjamin resides on the home farm. Mr. Thoma takes an interest in all worthy local enterprises' and is a member of the Clark County Fair Association, and a stockholder in the Farmer's Co-operative Elevator of Neillsville, and many other enterprises in Clark County.



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