Copyright 2011-2018 John N. Lupia, III

Fig. 1. Photograph of Frederick Almeron Thomas in 1903.

Frederick Almeron Thomas (1867-1938), was born on September 10, 1867, at Mexico, New York. Frederick was the seventh and final child of Almeron Thomas (1812-1897). His mother is his father’s second wife Louisa "Lois" Paine Thomas (1831-1903), married on May 18, 1848, of which they had only two children, Emma and Frederick.

His father “Almeron Thomas was born in [South] Rutland, N. Y., June 22, 1812, and during most of his active life was a miller. About 1850 he purchased a grist mill at Pulaski, which he traded in 1855 for a farm in Mexico. Later he became proprietor of the Railroad (formerly the Sandhovel) Mills, and the Toronto Mills, in Mexico village, and also a mill at Parish, another at West Amboy, and still another at Holmesville. During his life he owned seventeen different milling establishments. The mill in Mexico village is now conducted by his son, Frederick A., who recently succeeded his brother, Amos C. Thomas.”

In 1885, he graduated from the Mexico Academy, Mexico, New York. His earliest pursuits were in the newspaper industry working in Mexico and Utica, New York, and Jacksonville, Florida.

Throughout the nineteenth century stamp magazines frequently also had material in them about coins since they are two branches of the same hobby, numismatics. Although the branch of stamp collecting bears the name philately it is not separate and distinct from numismatics, and the collectors and dealers in the nineteenth century were more aware of that than people today.

Fig. 2. The first six numbers of volume one of Common Sense were published in a newspaper format. Illustrated is Volume 1, No. 6, October 1887 issue of Common Sense published by Frederick Almeron Thomas. This issue contains an article by Jay Cook, "The Silver Three Cent Piece," discussing the varieties of design changes over time and the rarities by dates. Courtesy, Lupia Numismatic Library.

Fig. 3. Back cover of the November 1887 issue of Common Sense advertising his sales of Coins, Stamps, Indian Relics & Curiosities. The magazine now has booklet format with paper wrappers. Courtesy, Lupia Numismatic Library.

Frederick, like his father was an industrialist in mills. He was also, however, a newspaper man, and coin, stamp, Indian relics, and curiosities dealer, and publisher of the magazine Common Sense : Devoted to the Interest of Collectors of all classes, beginning with Volume 1, Issue number 1, March, 1887. The magazine was so-named after Thomas Paine's (1737-1809), Common Sense, perhaps since he thought he might be related through his maternal ancestry. He began this collectors magazine after the demise of his earlier magazine, the Mexico Republican, which ran from November 1884 until March 1887. Copies of Common Sense are in The National Postal Museum, Smithsonian Institution Libraries, Washington, D. C., and of course, the Lupia Numismatic Library.

Fig. 4. Harry B. Wilber to Frederick A. Thomas, postmarked February 29, 1888, Cambridgeboro, Pennsylvania. Ex-Boyd. Courtesy Lupia Numismatic Library.

On July 18, 1888, he started a local weekly newspaper of 8 pages each having 7 column titled : The Mexican.

On November 6, 1888, he married Anne Hooker Taylor (1867-1938), daughter of John C. Taylor. They had one son John Frederick Thomas (1892-1965).

In 1889 he ran a quarter-page display ad in McLean’s Stamp Collectors’ Guide (1889) : 52.

In March 1892, upon the death of his elder half brother Amos he took over two the family mills, the State Mill, and the Toronto Mill.

In October 1896, the Toronto Mill burned down filled with corn and feed for the winter trade at a loss estimated at $12,000.

In April 1897 he erected a new modern designed mill on the site of Toronto Mill.

The State Mill which had also suffered fire damage in 1896 was torn down in 1898, replaced with a new planning mill.

In 1901, he erected the Masonic Temple on Main Street, Mexico, New York.

On July 10, 1901, the planning mill and hoop factory owned by Thomas also burned down.

In 1910, he moved to Alameda, Alameda County, California, where he became sales manager selling time recorders or time clocks.

In 1920, he moved to Berkeley, Alameda County, California, where he became a manufacturing agent for time clocks.

In 1923, he moved to San Francisco, California.

Fig. 5. Photo of 56 years old Frederick A. Thomas for his 1923 passport.

In June 1923, he traveled to Japan, Hong Kong, China, and the Philippines.

He died on October 20, 1938, at the Alexander Sanitarium, Belmont, California. He was cremated and given a burial plaque at Mexico Village Cemetery, Mexico, New York.

Fig. 6. Thomas' gravesite plaque.

For Bibliography see below this ad.

Bibliography :

The Exchangers' Monthly, Vol. I, No. 7, May (1886) : 53

The Conchologists' Exchange, Vol. 1, No. 11, May (1887) : 72 ad "Common Sense"

The Curiosity World, Vol. II, No. 1, November 1 (1887) : page 3 column 1 ad

Amos Russell Thomas, Genealogical Record and Sketches of Descendants of William Thomas (Philadelphia : F. A. Davis, 1891)

John C. Churchill, ed., Landmarks of Oswego County. (Syracuse, New York : D. Mason & Co., 1895) See History of Mexico, New York.

McClean’s Stamp Collector’s Guide (Boston)

Edgar Luderne Welch, "Grips" Historical Souvenir of Mexico, N. Y. Historical Souvenir Series, No. 15 (1904) : 86