Stevens Thomas

Stevens Thomas (1814-1891), a respected businessman and dealer in real estate married Isabella L. Hayes on June 20, 1836. The marriage produced seven children. Thomas Street, in downtown Athens, is named in honor of the family.

Stevens Thomas, the son of Stevens Thomas and Elizabeth Peyton Cary Stevens, was born on June 27, 1814. The family were among the first settlers in Athens and lived at the corner of what became Thomas and Broad Streets.  Thomas, a classmate of future Confederate vice president Alexander H. Stephens, graduated from the University of Georgia in 1832. He attended law school at Yale, probably graduating in 1835. He married Isabella L. Hayes the following year. After passing the bar, Thomas opted not to practice law, but to focus his efforts on entrepreneurial endeavors and planting. He served as president of the Athens Bank from 1856 until the outbreak of the Civil War. During the war years, Thomas joined a local home guard unit named the Mitchell Thunderbolts. Composed primarily of elderly but prominent Athenian men, the unit refused to turn out for inspections by Confederate authorities and their drills proved adventures in lumbering chaos. Fortunately, no one ever needed this comical assembly of “troops” to fight. After the war, Thomas held the position of secretary and general agent of the Southern Mutual Insurance Company from 1867 until his death in 1891. He also served as a trustee of the University of Georgia for twenty-eight years and as a member of the Board of Directors of the Georgia Railroad for twenty-eight years. He suffered a stroke in July, 1891 and his health proved fragile thereafter. He died of a sudden attack of “apoplexy” on October 26, 1891. Isabella followed him into death two months later.

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