J. W. Elmer Thomas, U.S. Senator

Is your surname Thomas?

Research the Thomas family

J. W. Elmer Thomas, U.S. Senator's Geni Profile

Share your family tree and photos with the people you know and love

  • Build your family tree online
  • Share photos and videos
  • Smart Matching™ technology
  • Free!


John William Elmer Thomas

Birthdate: (89)
Birthplace: Greencastle, Putnam, IN, USA
Death: September 19, 1965 (89)
Lawton, Comanche, OK, USA
Immediate Family:

Son of William Thomas and Elizabeth Jane Thomas

Managed by: Private User
Last Updated:
view all

Immediate Family

About J. W. Elmer Thomas, U.S. Senator


John William Elmer Thomas (September 8, 1876 – September 19, 1965) was a Representative and a Senator from Oklahoma.

Born on a farm near Greencastle, Indiana, he attended the common schools; graduated from the Central Normal College (now Canterbury College (Indiana)), Danville, Indiana, in 1897 and from the graduate department of DePauw University, Greencastle, Indiana, in 1900.

He studied law; admitted to the Indiana bar in 1897 and to the Oklahoma bar in 1900, and commenced practice in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma; moved to Lawton, Oklahoma, in 1901 and continued the practice of law; member, State senate 1907–1920, serving as president pro tempore 1910–1913; founded the town of Medicine Park, Oklahoma 1908; unsuccessful candidate for election in 1920 to the Sixty-seventh Congress; elected as a Democrat to the Sixty-eighth and Sixty-ninth Congresses (March 4, 1923–March 3, 1927).

He was not a candidate for renomination in 1926, having become a candidate for United States Senator; elected as a Democrat to the United States Senate in 1926; reelected in 1932, 1938 and 1944 and served from March 4, 1927, to January 3, 1951; unsuccessful candidate for renomination in 1950; chairman, Committee on Indian Affairs (Seventy-fourth through Seventy-seventh Congresses), Committee on Agriculture and Forestry (Seventy-eighth, Seventy-ninth and Eighty-first Congresses), Committee on Indian Affairs (Seventy-eighth Congress); engaged in the practice of law in Washington, D.C., until August 1957; returned to Lawton, Oklahoma, where he died September 19, 1965; interment in Highland Cemetery.

During the Depression, Senator Thomas proposed an amendment to the Agricultural Adjustment Act that would help farmers financially by empowering the president to reduce the gold backing for dollars and to print bills backed by silver alone when cash became depressively tight. Lewis Douglas, Roosevelt's budget director, was furious about this threat to the gold standard, and in its final form the amendment was weaker.

Elmer Thomas Lake

Senator Thomas was behind the creation of Medicine Park, situated in the Wichita Mountains of Oklahoma. A lake named after the senator lies to the West of the park, just Northwest of Lawton. It has 8 miles (13 km) of shoreline and 334 acres (1.4 km2).

view all

J. W. Elmer Thomas, U.S. Senator's Timeline

September 8, 1876
Greencastle, Putnam, IN, USA
September 19, 1965
Age 89
Lawton, Comanche, OK, USA