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Thomas-Prescott families papers

Identifier: 00170

Scope and Contents

The collection documents the lives of the Thomas and Prescott families of Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Ohio. The collection contains biographical papers, genealogy/lineage records, and correspondence of family members. The bulk of the collection is the correspondence of Benjamin H. Thomas Jr., spanning the period from 1879 to 1927.

The biographical papers consist of obituary notices and correspondence which discuss eligibility to join the D.A.R. and the moral character of family members. The correspondence of the family members discuss religion, health, and daily activities.

The papers of Benjamin H. Thomas Jr. includes correspondence sermon notes, diaries, a notebook, travel summaries, and various church histories and documents. One travel diary describes his trip to the Orient. The notebook gives an account of daily activities, expenses, and information about family members.

Other correspondence includes letters related to the illness and subsequent death (13 May 1863) of Amos W. Thomas, a soldier in the Civil War (11th Pennsylvania Cavalry). During his illness he was cared for in the Small Pox Hospital, close to Camp Suffolk in Virginia. Friends, the nurse, and chaplain wrote letters home for him. Included are a map of his burial site in Virginia and a letter discussing the possible removal of the remains from Virginia to Michigan. These letters have been transcribed, scanned and placed online at

The death of Charles B. Thomas in a plane collision is another large part of the collection. There are files containing his correspondence and documents, his aviation book, information concerning his death, including obituary notices, articles about the accident and correspondence to the family about his death.

Included among the church documents are the minutes from the annual Clairon Baptist Association meetings (1838-1888). Pennsylvania churches documented in the church histories include, Union Baptist Church in North Buffalo, Armstrong County; Greenville and Zion Baptist Churches in Clarion County; Leatherwood Church; and the Soldier Run Church in Reidsville, PA.


  • Creation: 1824 - 1960


Conditions Governing Access

Collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

Permission to publish material from this collection must be obtained from University Archives & Historical Collections, Michigan State University.

Biographical Note

Thomas E. Thomas (circa 1788-1854) immigrated from South Wales to the United States in 1817, settling in Huntingdon County, Pennsylvania. He was ordained a Baptist minister in 1824 and became a naturalized citizen in 1828. His son, Benjamin H. (1815-1887) attended Granville College (circa 1845-1846) and was also a Baptist minister. In 1865, Benjamin Thomas became president of the Board of Trustees at the Reid Institute in Reidsburg, Pennsylvania. He married Eleanor L. Williams (1817-1904) and they had at least seven children: Elizabeth, Alfred, Shadrick, Amos W., Thomas E., Benjamin H., Jr. and Ella.

Amos W. Thomas was a soldier in the Civil War (11th Pennsylvania Cavalry) and died of smallpox in May 1863. Benjamin H. Thomas, Jr. (1853-1927) an ordained Baptist minister, was a pastor at several churches in Michigan and Ohio.

In 1879, Benjamin H. Thomas, Jr. married Rosannah T. Prescott (1860-1943). They had five children. Sara Eleanor Thomas, born in 1882 and eventually married to Robert Andrews. Effie Allene died in 1900 at age 16. Charles Benjamin (1886-1918) was aviation instructor who died in a plane collision while on active duty at Camp Selfridge, Michigan. He had a son, Charles Frederick, by his first wife, Louise Garten. Harold Wilbur (born 1896) married Louise Johnson in 1917, and was a graduate of Colgate University (1918). Harold served as a first lieutenant in the army during World War I. After the death of his brother, Charles Benjamin Thomas, Harold and Louise raised their nephew, Charles Frederick. Charles Frederick attended numerous private schools and was a graduate of the University of Michigan (1935).

Rosannah T. Prescott, the wife of Benjamin H. Thomas, Jr., was the daughter of Charles H. Prescott (1828-1913) and Sarah A. Barnard Prescott (1838-1912) of Bay City, Michigan. Charles Prescott, was an ordained Baptist minister, who became a millionaire through his involvement with lumbering, real estate, and stock raising.


6.25 Cubic Feet

Language of Materials


Legal Status

Copyright: Michigan State University. Property Rights: Michigan State University.

  • Three razors, two empty wallets, one cloth bag
Thomas-Prescott Families Papers
3 Ready For Cataloging
E. Polaski
May 1993
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Finding aid written in English.

Repository Details

Part of the University Archives and Historical Collections Repository

Conrad Hall
943 Conrad Road, Room 101
East Lansing MI 48824 US