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Elvira Melvina (Rowntree) Thomas

1845 - 1936

Source:  Burnet Bulletin, 27 Feb 1936

Pioneer Citizen Called by Death

Mrs. Frank Thomas, a pioneer citizen of Burnet County, died at her ranch home a few miles west of Burnet on Feb. 20, 1936. Her body was interred the next day in the Odd Fellows' Cemetery in Burnet. The funeral service was conducted by Bro. L. V. Nobles, Church of Christ minister, with the Burnet Funeral Home in charge. The active pallbearers were John Baker, Pete Elliott, Vert Gibbs, Charley Schnabel, Pres Graves and Ballard Dorbandt. The honorary pallbearers were Chris Dorbandt, R. J. Knox, Basil Baker, O. A. Riggs, John Harness, Henry Harness, Eppie Debo, Ed Magill, Hardee Chamberlain, Gus Stuart, Frank Pavitte, Ellis Guthrie, Earl Foulds, John Davidson, M. G. Schnabel and Captain D. G. Sherrard.

Mrs. Thomas was a daughter of Mr. and Mrs. J. L. Rowntree, pioneer citizens of Burnet County. She was born March 10, 1845 in Milam County, Texas, making her at the time of her death almost 91 years of age. With her parents she moved to Burnet County while a small child and has been a resident of this section ever since. She was united in marriage to Frank Thomas on December 12, 1866. To this union was born seven children, one of whom died in infancy. A daughter, Mrs. V. T. Breazeale, a resident of Nevada, was called by death a few years ago. Five children, three sons and two daughters, survive her. They are: Marshall Thomas of Dallas, Mrs. J. A. Graham of Brownsville, Robert Thomas of Tampica, Mexico, Frank Thomas and Miss Louise Thomas of Burnet. She is also survived by three brothers and one sister, Jeff and James Rowntree of Nogales, New Mexico, J. M. Rowntree of Bertram and Mrs. J. W. Fitts of Berkley, California.

Until only a few years ago, Mrs. Thomas, notwithstanding her advanced age, was very active in her home and business affairs. Upon her visits to town, scarcely a week would pass that she failed to visit the Bulletin office and it was a pleasure to converse with her. She had been a resident of this county for more than 80 years and could recount many interesting events of this section when it was a frontier, in some of which she was an active participant. She was here when the Indians made their forays into Burnet County, stealing horses and murdering the settlers. She knew pioneer life in all its varied aspects and with the people of that day met and bravely overcame the many dangers and problems that made our present day civilization. Almost since the earliest settling of Burnet County, the Thomas and Rowntree families have been numbered among its leaders. For many years Mr. and Mrs. Thomas resided in the town of Burnet, where Mr. Thomas was one of the pioneer merchants and where their children grew to manhood and womanhood and received their early education. A number of years ago they moved to their ranch a few miles west of Burnet, where Mr. Thomas first died, and now his companion has joined him. People of 60 years of age and older are able to realize to some extent the stability and worth of people like Mr. and Mrs. Thomas who so courageously brought this country from a wilderness to what it is at the present time, but a recital of such sounds like fiction to the youngest generations. Most of them have passed to their reward and a monument should be erected to their memories and placed upon the courthouse square in our county seat, so that as time passes, their heroic lives may not be forgotten.

The Bulletin joins the many friends of the Thomas and Rowntree families in extending condolence and sympathy to the bereaved relatives in the death of this remarkable and good woman.

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