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Thomas Jackson Wilmore and Some of His Descendants

Thomas Arthur Wilmore's gravestone, Wilmore Cemetery, Wilmore, Comanche County, Kansas. Photo by John Edward (Ed) Schrock, used with permission of Janet Schrock Hubbard.

Thomas Arthur Wilmore's gravestone, Wilmore Cemetery, Wilmore, Comanche County, Kansas.

A Family History by Gene & Sue Wilmore

Thomas Jackson & Mattie (Wright) Wilmore with their sons, Arthur Thomas Wilmore (standing) and Ray Wright Wilmore. Photo courtesy of Gene & Sue Wilmore. At left: Thomas Jackson & Mattie (Wright) Wilmore with their sons, Arthur Thomas Wilmore (standing) and Ray Wright Wilmore. Photo courtesy of Gene & Sue Wilmore.

Wilmore, Comanche County, Kansas, was named in honor of Civil War veteran Thomas Jackson "Tommy" Wilmore, who was born Sept. 17th, l840, "Toronto Canada West", Canada. When he was l4 or l5 years old he left home, supposedly because he didn't get along with his father. He did keep in touch with a brother. (We so far haven't been able to get any information from Canadian relatives).

He went to New York and enlisted there in the Union Navy on April 23rd, 1863. At the time his occupation was "clerk" and his post office address was "New York". He was discharged from the US Naval Service September 22, l865 from the U.S.S. Niagara as landsman, in New York, with ordinary discharge. And, also from his Civil War service pension application: "Thomas Wilmore enlisted April 23, l863 and was discharged from the US Naval Service April 22, l864, from the USS Niagara as landsman, with ordinary discharge, at expiration enlistment, in Boston, Massachusetts". He personally filled out his pension request form on October 15th, 1915, and it was witnessed by both of his sons, Arthur and Ray Wright Wilmore

After his Civil War service, he left New York for Texas. While in Texas he received a wire from his brother telling him that his mother was very ill. He left Texas to go home; in Kansas City he had a wire waiting on him telling him that his mother had passed away. We assume that he went back to Texas.

According to his pension application (Department of the Interior, Bureau of Pensions, Washington, DC, Sept. 28, l9l5), after he was discharged from the United States Navy, he then resided from l865 to l874 in Texas; from l874 to l880 in Kansas; from l880 to l884 in Arizona and from l884 to l9ll in Kansas.

He married Mattie Wright in Wilmore, Kansas. The marriage license of Tommy and Mattie was issued in Comanche County, Kansas, at Coldwater, June 27th (year unknown). It says, in part: "you are hereby authorized to join in marriage Thomas Wilmore of Wilmore, Comanche Co., Ks, aged 42 years, and Mattie A. Wright of Wilmore, Comanche Co., Ks, aged 18 years. Signed E. B. Widaman, Probate Judge". The bottom half of the document, which is the Certificate of Marriage, says, in part: "I did on the 2nd day of July, A.D. 1889, at Wilmore in said county, join and unite in Marriage the within named Thomas Wilmore and Mattie A. Wright. Signed: Arthur Ferrin, Justice of the Peace".

Wilmore resident Lewellyn "Lew" Baker mentioned this wedding in his memoirs: "Mr. Jim Wright used one of father's mules to help build the road through Wilmore. The town of Wilmore was named after Captain Pepperd's foreman, Thomas Wilmore, who was married to a sister of Jr. Wright and I happened to be at the ceremony. It was performed by Arthur Ferrin who was a Justice of the Peace. Cigars were free, so I got my first, last and only cigar. I took it home and took it with me to herd cattle. After dinner I lit up and in just a short time I crawled down in the shade to die, as I thought, but the Lord preserved me for some reason..."

Mattie Wright was born about 1865, place unknown, and died 02/03/1931 in Eugene, Oregon, where she is buried. She had relatives in the Wilmore area. Tommy Wilmore passed away in 07/07/l9l7 in Salida, Colorado. He was either living in Del Norte, Colorado, or visiting there. He is buried in Del Norte, Colorado.

Tommy & Mattie (Wright) Wilmore had two sons: Arthur Thomas Wilmore and Ray Wright Wilmore.

The Wilmore News, January 14, 1915.

Thos. Wilmore, of Del Norte, Colo., arrived here Tuesday for a visit with relatives and old friends. Mr. Wilmore is one of Comanche county's oldest settlers, and the man which our town is named for, and all his old friends will be glad to see him.

Article contributed by Shirley Brier.

In C.C. Pepperd's Confederate Pension Application #16216, he stated "...that on the 25th day of May, 1915, the affiant left his home at Ft. Worth, Texas for the purpose of visiting relatives in Coldwater, Kansas and remained with said relatives until the 2nd day of August, 1915, when he returned to his home at Ft. Worth, Texas". Thus, both Cap Pepperd and his friend Tommy Wilmore were visiting Comanche County, Kansas, at the same time and, presumably, would have had the opportunity to visit with each other then. According to Willis E. "Gene" Wilmore, grandson of Tommy Wilmore: "We do know that Cap and Tommy remained friends until Cap went back to Texas and Tommy went to Colorado".

The Wilmore News, July 19, 1917

Thomas Wilmore Dead.

Saturday night, July 7, Thomas Wilmore passed away at his residence in this city, following an illness of several weeks, caused by hardening of the arteries and infirmities which come with old age.

Funeral services, in charge of the Masons, were held from the Wilmore home at 2 o'clock Monday afternoon, following the arrival of Ray Wilmore from Fort Russel, Wyo. Rev. Adams preached a very fine sermon and a choir composed of members of the Eastern Star lodge, Mrs. Adam Weiss, Mrs. Webster, Mrs. Evans and Miss Dorothy Stone sang several hymns.

Following the services the funeral cortege formed, and the remains under escort of a very large number of Masonic brethren, were taking to the Del Norte Cemetery and laid to rest with Masonic rites.

Thomas Wilmore was born in Toronto, Canada September 17, 1843, of Scotch and Irish parentage. Before reaching his majority he left his Canadian home and arriving at New York City in April. 1863, he enlisted in the U. S. Navy, serving for two and one half years, all of this time on the battleship Niagara. He is assisted in the capture and return to England of the Confederate Cruiser and blockade runner, Georgia, in August, 1863.

After the close of the Civil War he was honorably discharged from the Navy, and went to Texas where he settled near San Antonio, and engaged in the cattle business. He took part in many drives of Texas Long Horns thru the Indian Territory and Texas panhandle to the railroads in Kansas and Nebraska, and his exciting and interesting experiences on the Indian infested plains of the west during those early years would make very interesting reading.

He settled in Kansas in the year 1876, and from this date until 1911, with the exception of tour years spent in Arizona, he was engaged in the livestock and ranch business in western Kansas where he had a prominent part in the development of that new country.

The town of Wilmore, Comanche County, Kansas, was named after Mr. Wilmore, and it was here that he lived for 25 to 30 years. Considerable part of this time he was postmaster of his hometown.

Mr. Wilmore was married July 2nd, 1888, at Wilmore, Kansas, to Mattie A. Wright who survives him. From this union two children wee born, both sons, Arthur T., of the Wilmore Hardware Co., and Ray W. now in the U. S. Army service stationed at Fort D. A. Russel, near Cheyenne, Wyoming. Besides his wife and sons he leaves three grandchildren.

He came to Colorado in November, 1911, and settled at Del Norte, where he purchased a ranch on Pinos Creek and engaged in the cattle business, in the year 1914 he traded his ranch for the W. W. Wilson hardware stock, which he turned over to his sons, purchased a residence in town and retired from active business to enjoy a well earned rest.

During the years that the deceased resided in the Del Norte section he made many friends and acquaintances.

By his very acts he proved that he was a man in the true sense of the word. He was a good citizen, a good neighbor, a kind and loving father and husband. Three score years and more were his in this world. These he had lived actively and well, and goes to the world beyond to take the reward for those who live the honorable and upright life.

Members of the family here have the sympathy of the entire community in their dark hour of sorrow and bereavement.

(From Del Norte News.)

This obituary was found and transcribed for this web site by Shirley Brier.

Research tip: Look in Del Norte, CO, records for information on people from Wilmore, Kansas, who moved from Wilmore in the early 1900s. Another former resident of Wilmore who moved to Del Norte, Colorado, died there and was buried there in August of 1947, is Kathleen (Newlin) Coulter.

Coldwater Echo, July 4, 1889.

MARRIED - At Wilmore July 2; Mr. Thomas Wilmore and Miss Mattie Wright at the home of the bride's parents. The Echo wishes them the usual flowery future. (S.B.).

Arthur Thomas Wilmore, first son of Tommy & Mattie Wilmore, was born in 02/07/1890 in Wilmore, Kansas. He married Mary Emeline Ray on 03/30/1912 in Wilmore, Kansas. He died 11/15/l9l8 in Salida, Colorado; he was living in Del Norte, Kansas. He is buried in Wilmore, Kansas.

Mary Emeline Ray was born 08/23/l888 in Burchard, Nebraska, and died at Temple, Arizona on 09/27/1983. She is buried in San Diego, California at Greenwood Memorial Park. Arthur had to move away from Wilmore due to his asthma; he moved to Del Norte, Colorado, then went back to Wilmore and married Mary.

They had four children:

  1. Arthur Doane Wilmore was born 0l/08/l9l3 on a ranch outside of Del Norte, Colorado. He died 10/02/1999 at Great Bend, Barton County, KS. He is buried at Wilmore, Ks. In 1987, Doan Wilmore was the eldest living member of the Wilmore family and he took part with Dwight Pepperd, a descendant of "Cap" Pepperd, in the re-enactment of the tossing of the coin to determine whose name the town would bear. He has one son, Arthur Dean Wilmore, born in Kansas.

  2. Doris Ann Wilmore born 04/13/l9l5 on ranch outside of Del Norte, Colo. Died (date unknown as of yet) at Lancaster, CA, and is buried there. She married Fred Houser, who is deceased and buried in Lancaster, CA They had two sons.

  3. Willis Thomas Wilmore born 09/l9/l9l6 in Del Norte, Colo. Died 09/26/1992, Yucaipa, San Bernadino, CA. His ashes were scattered. He married Vivian Lucille Casey in 1936 at Hutchison, Ks. She died 01/24/1998 at Yuciapa, CA. Her ashes were scatttered. They had three children: Willis Eugene "Gene" Wilmore, Bonnie LaVon Wilmore, and Lis DeeAnn Wilmore.

  4. Francis Ruth "Norma" Wilmore born 06/02/l9l8 in Del Norte, Colo. She married Elgin Ross Miller on 04/23/1938 in Hutchison, Kansas. They have three children: Doris Ann Miller, Karen Sue Miller, and Ronald Elgin Miller .

Arthur Thomas Wilmore's obituary from The Wilmore News:

Wilmore gravestone, Wilmore Cemetery, Wilmore, Comanche County, Kansas. Photo by John Edward (Ed) Schrock, used with permission of Janet Schrock Hubbard. Nov l5, l9l8: Last Friday evening the sad news came to relatives here that Arthur Wilmore had died at l:l8 p.m. that day at Salida, Colorado during a surgical operation.

He was 28 years, 9 months, and 8 days old.

He had spent his boyhood days and grew to youth in the village of Wilmore,Kansas, his father being the first postmaster at this place, and conducted a merchandise business in connection. As he grew to youth the deceased became afficted with asthma and while yet in his teens went to the higher altitude in Colorado. He continued to reside in that state until his death. He was converted and joined the First Baptist Church of Wilmore and remained a member until death. Year l9l5 he became a member of Del Norte Lodge No l05 A F & A M of which society he was an earnest and capable worker and was accordingly honored by being elected to some of the principal offices in that lodge.

He married Mary Ray on 03/20/l9l2. After their marriage they moved to a ranch near Del Norte where Arthur was associated with his father in the livestock business. Later they exchanged the ranch for a hardware business in Del Norte of which Arthur was the active head until his recent sickness compelled him to quit.

Deceased leaves his mother, Mrs. Thomas Wilmore of Del Norte & his brother, Ray, who is now in military service, his wife and four children.

Remains were brought to Wilmore arriving at 3:33 Wed. afternoon and interment was made in the Wilmore cemetery. The funeral was held immediately after the arrival of the body and was in charge of the masonic lodge of this place.

Ray Wright Wilmore, second son of Tommy & Mattie (Wright) Wilmore, was born in Wilmore, Kansas. He passed away 02/l966 in Long Beach, California. He married Edna Galbreath. They had two sons. (The Social Security Death Index lists a Ray Wilmore, born 17 Oct 1892, who died in Feb 1966 at Westminster, Long Beach County, CA. The SSDI also lists an Edna Wilmore, who was born 28 Oct 1890 and died in December of 1982; her last residence was in Lakewood, Jefferson County, CO.) Both Ray & Edna Wilmore are buried in Westminster, California. Their son, Ray Hunter Wilmore, and his wife, Evangeline Harriet (Peterson) Wilmore, are both buried in Ulen, Minnesota.

Department of the Interior, Bureau of Pensions, Washington, DC, Sept. 28, l9l5.
Thomas Wilmore, US Navy,
Mr. Thomas Wilmore, Del Norte, Rio Grande Co., Colo.

1.) When were you born? Sept. 17th, l840.
2.) Where were you born? Toronto Canada West.
3.) When did you enlist? April 23rd, l863.
4.) Where did you enlist? New York.
5.) Where had you lived before you enlisted? New York.
6.) What was your Post-office address at enlistment? New York.
7.) What was your occupation at enlistment? Clerk.
8.) When were you discharged? April 23rd, l864 and Sept 22nd, l865.
9.) Where were you discharged? New York and Boston, Mass.
10.) Where have you lived since discharge? l865 to l874, Texas; l874 to l880, Kansas; l880 to l884, Arizona, l884 to l9ll, Kansas.
11.) What is your present occupation? Hardware, mercantile.
12.) What is your height? 5' 6 1/2". Your weight? 150. The color of your eyes? Gray. The color of your hair? Gray. Your complexion? light.

Signed: Thomas Wilmore
Witnessed by Arthur and Ray Wilmore, Oct 5th, 1915.

This web page is under construction by Jerry Ferrin. This webpage began when I received the following email message:


My name is Willis E. (Gene) Wilmore and I live in Riverside, California. I am the son of Willis Thomas Wilmore, the grandson of Arthur Thomas Wilmore ( who is buried in Wilmore, KS) and the great-grandson of Thomas J. "Tommy" Wilmore.

I read your message about the tossing of the coin to name the town of Wilmore. I attended the l987 l00th year anniversary of the town's founding. My uncle, Doan Wilmore was the eldest of the Wilmore family who took part with Dwight Pepperd in the re-enactment of the tossing of the coin. We have never heard about the gun threat. We do know that Cap and Tommy remained friends until Cap went back to Texas and Tommy went to Colorado.

We just spent Memorial Week-end at Wilmore, Kansas with my cousin from Colorado, Dean Wilmore. It would have been interesting to have talked with you. We are seeking information about Tommy's life in Texas. We do know that he was born in Alberta, Canada and left at the age of 14, joined the Navy in the states. We have been unable to verify this. We would love to hear from anyone if they have any information.

Thanks, Willis E. "Gene" Wilmore   email:

In the above message, Gene referrs to a story I posted at RootsWeb about the naming of Wilmore, Ks. Here's my reply: "I don't know that the story about the challenge to a duel is true; I just presented what my dad wrote and said that he'd always heard was true. I think it quite possible that it was a "B.S. story" meant as a joke which could have been remembered by my great grandmother, Alcana (Wagner) Ferrin, in her old age, as what actually happened. I was just a little kid when I figured out that my grand-dad, Ernie, liked to "B.S." for the fun of seeing me figure out the truth for myself and that I'd been "had" in the joke. He was always a practical joker, and I think his father, Loren Ferrin, may have had the same sense of humor."

The other version of how Wilmore, Kansas, came to be named after Tommy Wilmore came from an interview with my great-grandfather's brother's wife, Alice (Eyerly) Ferrin, who said that "Cap" Peppard loved his ranch foreman so much that he named the town after him. I don't recall having seen the historical source material for the story that the two of them flipped a coin to determine whose name the town would bear. To me, the story of them flipping a coin is much more plausible than the conflicting accounts of Cap deciding to name the town after Tommy Wilmore because of the high esteem in which he held him or the other story of Tommy challenging Cap to a gun duel unless he named the town after him. While I don't doubt that Cap held Tommy in high esteem, having grown up near Wilmore, and having known the way folks settled conflicts around there, I think it is most likely that the town really was named because they flipped a coin and one of them correctly predicted the coin's orientation when it came to rest.

Unfortunately, I fear I may have offended one of Tommy Wilmore's descendants by publishing the story about the naming of the town which my dad told. I hope that by building this web page in honor of Tommy Wilmore and his descendants that I've "made up" for any unintended offense I've caused anyone by passing on Dad's story.

--- Jerry Ferrin.

Related Histories:

Christopher Carson "Cap" PEPPERD
Confederate Civil War Veteran, Cowboy, Bronc Buster, Trail Driver & early (1874) Comanche County rancher. Founder of the city of Wilmore, Kansas. He lost his fortune in the 1887-1888 Coal Mining Fever in the county. Also see:
A Chronology of the Life & Times of Christopher Carson Pepperd
State of Kansas vs. C.C. Pepperd, 1876
Testimony of C.C. Pepperd: State of Kansas vs. William Thompson
The Death Certificate of C.C. Pepperd
The Gravestone & Burial of C.C. Pepperd.

"Of course all parents had an interest in school and church. We built a sod house for school that year and our first teacher was Jennie Doig (and a noble girl was she) - afterwards she was the wife of Grant Stevens. We voted for a new school house the 17 of Jan. and in the spring built the new school house and named the same "Ridge Summit." Our first teacher was Mattie Wright who afterwards married Tommie Wilmore. The town of Wilmore was named for him, he being a favorite cowboy and foreman for Cap. Pepperd, a big cattleman. Then began the free range fights. In after years those wanting free range wanted herd law (such is life)."
-- (Excerpt from) "Early Day Memories" by Alice Eyerly Ferrin, The Wilmore News, October 31, 1939.

The Wilmore Family Resource Page at RootsWeb