1702 - ?
of Pennsylvania & Kansas
It all started when
John Benjamin Thomas married
Beulah Bertha Brown.
It was 1917 and the
beginning of a new life . . .
and, the beginning of World War I.
John Benjamin Thomas was the youngest of seven children (known) and
the third son; his mother, the former Florida Ann Johnson, was the
second wife of his father, John B. Thomas. He was born 7 Jul 1892 in
Arcadia, DeSoto Co, Florida. In 1917, he was a fireman residing in
Miami. World War I was looming, and on New Year's Day in 1917 or
1918, John married Beulah Brown. After the war, they owned a store
in Lemon City (near present day
downtown Miami) with a skating rink / dance floor. Beulah worked at
the Miami courthouse during the day and when the dance floor was open,
she was the dancing instructor. By 1923, Ben went into real estate
and was quite successful. By the crash of 1929, they lost most all their
holdings; liquidated what was left and moved to Pahokee, Palm Beach Co.
Florida and began again with a far different life.
They bought 5 acres of land and built a small house for the family. They
had chickens and a large garden; canning vegetables and fruit. Ben
worked at the packing houses during the growing season - saving money
to purchase materials to build a small house on the property for
rental income. He repeated the process for several years and finally
had a small sub-division of ten houses. He topped it off with a small
store facing the highway. Ben suffered a stroke and it became difficult
for Beulah to manage the property and run the store on her own. In 1946, Beulah sold the
Pahokee property and put a down payment on a home in the Cloud Lake
section of Palm Beach (near the airport). Ben died 29 Apr 1948 in Bay
Pines, Pinellas Co, Florida, at the V. A. Hospital near Tampa, Florida.
Beulah had not only held the family together but now had children to raise - on her own.
More on the Thomas family later.
Beulah Bertha Brown was the second of eight children and the first
daughter of her parents, William Milton Brown
and the former Myrtle Mae Schneider. Beulah was born 2 Jul 1900 in Abilene, Dickinson Co, Kansas. Her family
removed to Florida in 1912. Beulah apparently worked throughout her
marriage and raising children; not the mainstream little woman at home
that was expected in those days. She rolled up her sleeves along
side her husband and even took over the full responsibility when he
was no longer able to work. After selling off the Pahokee property
and store, she worked about ten years at Rogers Bakery on Okeechobee
Road until the bakery sold out to Holsum Bakery of Miami. That didn't
stop her; she built onto her home a Bake Kitchen with a breezeway
where she baked pies, brownies, etc. on a contract basis until she
retired. Her children and grandchildren attest to Beulah's scrumptuous
pies. After Ben's death, Beulah married Frank McCoy in 1948. Frank
worked for Palm Beach County until he retired. Beulah died 4 Jan
1971 in Lake Worth, Palm Beach Co, Florida; Frank died 13 May 1981.
Having married in 1917, Ben and Beulah delayed having children until
he returned from his service in World War I.
Jeanne Byne Thomas b. 1921 Miami, FL; d. 1992 Charleston, SC
Beryle Jadine Thomas b. 1922 Miami, FL; d. 1982 GA
Roberta Louise Thomas b. 1924 Miami FL; d. 1951 West Palm Beach, FL
Napola Lorraine Thomas b. 1931 Pahokee, FL; d. 1969 West Palm Beach,
John Benjamin Thomas Jr. b. 1938 Pahokee, FL; died young.
Beulah's second daughter, Beryle, apparently
wanted to know more about her family, and it's from her research that we
learned much of this family. Her notes were the seed upon which this
family tree grows. This site is dedicated to the Brown side of the