Born in Pickens County, Ala., Dec. 19, 1868, J.A. Thomas, 33rd president, came to Texas in 1885, settling on a farm in Hunt County. He taught school a year in Hunt County and a year in Kaufman County, having graduated from Calhoun College, Kingston.
In 1894 he acquired the Leonard Graphic and edited and published it until 1907 when he sold it and purchased the Mineola Monitor. He continued publication of the Monitor until his death in July 1915.
He was mayor of Leonard and president of the school board and soon after moving to Mineola he served in the same positions. He represented Fannin County in the Legislature two terms.
He joined Texas Press Association in 1900. From the time he became a member until his death, he never missed a convention.
He was postmaster in Mineola when he died. Thomas married Mollie Caylor in March 1895 and they had two sons.