On this day, 18 June 1910, Solomon S. Thomas passed away. He was my 3rd great-grandfather.
Solomon S. Thomas was born on 18 February 1831, in Washington County, Maryland. Solomon joined three siblings: Leah, Ruanna, and Noah. Their parents were George Thomas and Sarah Schlosser, who were married on 17 March 1823, in Washington County, Maryland.
On 18 December 1834, sister Mary Thomas was born.
In 1840, the George Thomas family resided in Boonsboro, Washington County, Maryland. Living in the home was one male age 40-50 (George), one female age 30-40 (Sarah), one female age 20-30, one male age 20-30 (Noah), one age female 15-20 (Leah), one age male 10-15 (Solomon), one female age 10-15, and one female age 5-10 (Mary).
Tragically, Solomon’s sister Mary Thomas died exactly six months before her sixth birthday on 18 June 1840.
Two years later, sister Ruanna Thomas died on 29 May 1842. She was 15 years old.
Then, on 1 July 1843, sister Leah Thomas passed away. She was 19 years old.
On 6 August 1850, George and Sarah Thomas lived on a farm in Washington County, Maryland, along with their sons Noah Thomas and Solomon Thomas. Their real estate was valued at $7,500. At the time, three other people who did not share the Thomas surname resided with them (farms hands and domestic workers).
Sadly, Solomon’s father George Thomas died on 30 October 1857, in Washington County, Maryland.
On 8 November 1857, Solomon and Elizabeth Thomas welcomed their first son, John Luther Thomas (my 2nd great-grandfather).
In March 1860, son Elmer Carlton Thomas was born in Washington County, Maryland.
On 15 August 1860, Solomon and Elizabeth Thomas resided near Bakersville, Washington County, Maryland. Their sons John Luther and Elmer Carleton lived there, as well. In addition, two servants and two farms hands lived with the family. Solomon’s farm was valued at $12,600; personal property was estimated at $1,000.
On 12 April 1861, almost 500 miles away, a shot was fired on Fort Sumter, outside of Charleston, South Carolina. The War Between the States had begun. Western Maryland experienced great upheaval, with sympathies between neighbors and within families split between Union and Confederate causes.
Amidst all this discord, son George H. Thomas was born in Boonsboro, Washington County, Maryland on 25 October 1861.
The Civil War would soon arrive in Washington County, Maryland. On 1 January 1862, Major General Thomas J. “Stonewall” Jackson marched north in bitter cold from Winchester to Bath with the objective of disrupting traffic on the B&O Railroad and C&O Canal. On 5 January 1862, after skirmishing with the retiring Federals, Jackson’s force reached the Potomac River opposite the garrisoned town of Hancock, Maryland. His artillery fired on the town from Orrick’s Hill but did little damage. Union garrison commander Brig. Gen. F.W. Lander refused Jackson’s demands for surrender. Jackson continued the bombardment for two days while unsuccessfully searching for a safe river crossing. The Confederates withdrew and marched on Romney, in western Virginia, on 7 January 1862.
On 14 September 1862, after invading Maryland, General Robert E. Lee divided his army to march on and invest Harpers Ferry. The Army of the Potomac under Major General George B. McClellan pursued the Confederates to Frederick, Maryland, then advanced on South Mountain. Pitched battles were fought for possession of the South Mountain passes: Crampton’s, Turner’s, and Fox’s Gaps. By dusk the Confederate defenders were driven back, suffering severe casualties, and McClellan was in position to destroy Lee’s army before it could reconcentrate. McClellan’s limited activity on 15 September 1862 after his victory at South Mountain, however, condemned the garrison at Harpers Ferry to capture and gave Lee time to unite his scattered divisions at Sharpsburg. Union general Jesse Reno and Confederate general Samuel Garland, Jr., were killed at South Mountain.
Then, on 17 September 1862, near Sharpsburg, Maryland, the Battle of Antietam was waged. It was the bloodiest single-day battle in American history, pitting the Army of the Potomac, numbered at 87,164, against the Army of Northern Virginia, numbered at 38,000. After the last shot was fired and the dust and smoke had cleared, 2,108 Union soldiers were dead, 9,549 were wounded, and 753 were captured or missing. For the Confederates, 1,567 soldiers were dead, 7,752 were wounded, and 1,018 were captured or missing.
On 4-5 July 1863, Lee’s battered army began its retreat from Gettysburg, moving southwest on the Fairfield Road toward Hagerstown and Williamsport, screened by Stuart’s cavalry. The Union infantry followed cautiously the next day, converging on Middletown, Maryland.
On July 7 1863, Imboden (Confederate) stopped Buford’s Union Cavalry from occupying Williamsport and destroying Confederate trains. Kilpatrick’s cavalry division drove two Confederate cavalry brigades through Hagerstown before being forced to retire by the arrival of the rest of Stuart’s command. Lee’s infantry reached the rain-swollen Potomac River but could not cross, the pontoon bridge having been destroyed by a cavalry raid.
On 8 July 1863, the Confederate Cavalry, holding the South Mountain passes, fought a rearguard action against elements of the Union 1st and 3rd Cavalry Divisions and Infantry. This action was one of a series of cavalry combats fought around Boonsboro, Hagerstown, and Williamsport.
On 11 July 1863, Lee entrenched a line, protecting the river crossings at Williamsport and waited for Meade’s army to advance.
On 12 July 1863, Meade reached the vicinity and probed the Confederate line. On 13 July 1863, skirmishing was heavy along the lines as Meade positioned his forces for an attack. In the meantime, the river fell enough to allow the construction of a new bridge, and Lee’s army began crossing the river after dark on the 13th. On 14 July 1863, Kilpatrick’s and Buford’s cavalry divisions attacked the rearguard division of Henry Heth still on the north bank, taking more than 500 prisoners. Confederate Brigadier General James Pettigrew was mortally wounded in the fight.
On 16 July 1863, David McMurtrie Gregg’s cavalry approached Shepherdstown where Fitzhugh Lee’s and J.R. Chambliss’s brigades, supported by M.J. Ferguson’s, held the Potomac River fords against the Union infantry. Fitzhugh Lee and Chambliss attacked Gregg, who held out against several attacks and sorties, fighting sporadically until nightfall when he withdrew.
By the time the war had ended in May 1865, Washington County, Maryland was in shambles. Farms in and around the battles were decimated. Crops waiting to be harvested were razed by bullets and cannons or trampled in the troops. Harvested crops were requisitioned by the military to feed the troops. Smaller animals, like pigs and chickens, were confiscated to feed the masses, as were the eggs from laying chickens. The military also requisitioned horses and mules to replace dead, wounded, or exhausted military draft animals. Wooden fences were destroyed during the battle or were dismantled for fire wood. The area around the battles were littered with debris.
Circa 1868, son Alvin Edwin Thomas was born in Washington County, Maryland. Sadly, on 23 September 1869, Alvin Edwin Thomas died in Washington County, Maryland.
On 27 July 1870, Solomon and Elizabeth Thomas lived near Bakersville, Washington County, Maryland with their sons John Luther, Elmer Carleton, and George H. A domestic servant, as well as their young niece Martha Motter, lived with them. The farm was valued at $34,000, and personal property was estimated at $2,000.
On 11 June 1880, Solomon and Elizabeth Thomas lived near Keedysville, Washington County, Maryland with their sons John Luther, Elmer Carleton, and George H. Their niece Martha Motter was their housekeeper.
On 16 November 1882, Solomon’s mother Sarah (Schlosser) Thomas died in Washington County, Maryland.
On 18 June 1910, Solomon S. Thomas died in Washington County, Maryland. He was 79 years old. He was buried in Boonsboro Cemetery, Washington County, Maryland.