LaTour Genealogical Collection

L.W. Thomas
Sex: Male
Birth: August 15, 1873(1873-08-15)
Death: April 11, 1953
Father: Boss Thomas
Mother: Bettie Arbuckle
Spouse/Partner: Clemmie Estella Ross
Marriage: 1895

Lee Wilder Thomas, known as Rev. L.W. Thomas, (August 15, 1873[1] - April 11, 1953) was a prominent African-American business and oil[2] man. L.W. Thomas was among the lucky land owners in the Mexia, Texas oil field. In the early 1930's, he partnered with Jake Simmons, Jr.[3], another wealthy African-American oil broker. Together, these two men built Simmons Royalty Co.,[4] one of the leading African-American oil and mineral right royalty companies in the the state of Oklahoma.

Early lifeEdit

Born in Springfield & Tehuacana, Limestone County, Texas. L.W., the only child born to Boss Thomas[5] and Bettie Arbuckle. His father, Boss Thomas was an early Alabaman who migrated and re-settled in Texas.

As a young boy, he grew a calling to the "Lord", our God in heaven to preach[6] the gospel. He attended the Sardis Primitive Baptist Church[7], Mexia, Limestone County, Texas.

He received his early education in the Mexia, and would later attend and graduate college from Wiley College, Marshall, Texas. After graduating college L.W. married Clemmie Estella Ross[8] in 1895. This union would produce thirteen children.

Oil businessEdit

In 1912 a large natural gas deposit was discovered by the Mexia Gas and Oil Company. Oil was discovered in 1920. L.W. Thomas was among the lucky land owners in the 1920 Mexia, Texas oilfield[9] strike. He had ten producing oil wells on his property.

The excitement of booming fields in three-counties fostered crime and social problems that forced Governor Pat Morris Neff, on January 12, 1922, to order martial law for Justice Precinct No. 4[10] in Limestone County and No. 5 in Freestone County to deal with robberies, gambling, and alcohol sales. But the boom rolled on, and at the end of 1922 the fields showed a markedly-increased combined yearly yield of nearly 34.8 million barrels of oil.

Summit, OklahomaEdit

L.W. Thomas[11] came to Oklahoma with a vision of estabishing a model community on the Jefferson Highway (U.S. 69), eight (8) miles southwest of Muskogee[12].

He came to Muskogee County July of 1922 with a dream of establishing a model community, Summit, for African-Americans.

He came from Mexia, Texas where he had ten producing oil wells on his land.

He invested more than $100,000 in Muskogee County real estate.

He divided the site into lost and put them up for sale as well as surrounding property which he divided into small farms.

He said the land was to be sold to African-Americans with preference being given to those from Texas.

He had already erected a building housing a general store and another as a real estate office. A cotton gin was under construction, and workmen were working round the clock to have it finished for the fall crop.

He had built a $12,000 house on a nearby hill and was reserving adjoining lots for additional better class homes.

In addition to growing cotton and peanuts, he was going to encourage the growing of vegetables for the Muskogee and Tulsa market.

The 1932 Muskogee City Directory indicated that L.W. Thomas was president of the Jake Simmons, Jr., Simmons Royalty Co.

St. Thomas Primitive Baptist ChurchEdit

St. Thomas Primitive Baptist Church[13] is a historic church building in Summit, Muskogee County, Oklahoma. It was erected in 1922 by the Rev. L.W. Thomas of Mexia, Limestone County, Texas. The building was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2004.

St. Thomas Primitive CemeteryEdit

Location: Sec. 20, R18E, T14N, Muskogee County
Condition: Some maintenance

St. Thomas Primitive Cemetery is owned and managed by L.W. Thomas, Summit, Oklahoma. He is also the owner of the Wright-Smith Undertaking Co. of Muskogee, Oklahoma.


Name Birth Death
Children of L.W. Thomas and Clemmie Estella Ross

Boston Eugene Thomas December 16, 1899(1899-12-16)
Limestone County, Texas
February , 1995
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

Oletha Thomas November 11, 1896(1896-11-11)
Limestone County, Texas

Muskogee, Oklahoma

Cecil Emile Thomas May 13, 1913(1913-05-13)
Limestone County, Texas

Ruby L. Thomas May 6, 1898(1898-05-06)
Limestone County, Texas

Lee Mildred Thomas March 19, 1903(1903-03-19)
Limestone County, Texas
May 25, 1930

Kemper M. Thomas August 19, 1904(1904-08-19)
Limestone County, Texas
August 9, 1989
Muskogee, Oklahoma

Carrie Matile Thomas
Limestone County, Texas
October 23, 1977


  1. ^ 1880 United States Federal Census Name: Wilder Thomas Home in 1880: Springfield & Tehuacana, Limestone, Texas Age: 6 Estimated Birth Year: abt 1874 Birthplace: Texas Relation to Head of Household: Son Father's Name: Boss Mother's birthplace: Texas
  2. ^ Railroad Commission of Texas - BROWN OIL & GAS CO. MEXIA - RRC: H-8, February 2004THOMAS, L. W., MEXIA. 2004, 08, ENCORE OPERATING, L.P., 2/25/04, Producer, ANDREWS, 22927, 000000, 0000, Crude, 20, 20, 0, Tank Battery, Other, Other ... - 144k -
  3. ^ Jake Simmons Jr. - Profile of an Unsung Oil Broker
  4. ^ The 1932 Muskogee City Directory indicated that L.W. Thomas of Summit, Oklahoma was president of the Simmons Royalty Company.
  5. ^ 1880 United States Federal Census Name: Boss Thomas Home in 1880: Springfield & Tehuacana, Limestone, Texas Age: 26 Estimated Birth Year: abt 1854 Birthplace: Alabama Relation to Head of Household: Self (Head) Neighbors: View others on page Occupation: Farmer
  6. ^ President of the Primitive Baptist National Convention
  7. ^ Sardis is on Farm Road 2705 five miles west of Mexia in north central Limestone County. It was established, probably in the 1870s, by a former slave and Primitive Baptist preacher. The Sardis school had thirty-seven students and one teacher in 1897. A church and a few scattered houses marked the community on county highway maps in the 1940s, but only the church was shown on maps in the 1980s.
  8. ^ 1900 United States Federal Census Name: Lewilda Thomas Home in 1900: Justice Precinct 4, Limestone, Texas Age: 25 Estimated Birth Year: abt 1875 Birthplace: Texas Relationship to head-of-house: Head Spouse's Name: Clem J
  9. ^ The Woodbine Fault-Line fields stretch along the Mexia Fault Zone, which runs through Milam, Falls, Limestone, Freestone, Navarro, Henderson, and Kaufman counties in east central Texas
  10. ^ 1920 United States Federal Census Name: Lee W Tomar [Lee W Tomer] Home in 1920: Justice Precinct 4, Limestone, Texas Age: 46 years
  11. ^ THOMAS v. NOEL 1924 OK 997 230 P. 480 107 Okla. 94 Case Number: 15887 Decided: 11/01/1924 Supreme Court of Oklahoma
  12. ^ 1930 United States Federal Census Name: Lee W Thomas Home in 1930: Ogle, Muskogee, Oklahoma Age: 56 Estimated birth year: abt 1874 Birthplace: Texas Relation to Head of House: Head Spouse's name: Clemmie Race: Negro (Black)
  13. ^ National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service (2007-01-23).