JAMES A. THOMAS
One of the leading restaurants in the Sacramento Valley is the Palace Lunch at Marysville, which is owned by Dell J. and James A. Thomas, who were born near Woodward, Woodward county, Oklahoma, in 1895, and August 15, 1897, respectively. Their parents were W. N. and Retta (Green) Thomas, the former now deceased. They had two sons and two daughters. The father was one of the early settlers of Oklahoma, but is now engaged in farming in the Sacramento valley, owning and operating a ranch of forty acres near Marysville, on the Hammonton road. He is a successful farmer and from his ranch comes the milk and cream which are used in the Palace Lunch.
James A. Thomas received a public school education and when fifteen years of age started out to make his own way in the world. Going to Chicago, he obtained work in a restaurant and, with the exception of the period of his army service, has been engaged in that line of business continuously since. That he devoted his energies closely to his work was evidenced by that fact that at the time of America’s entrance into the war he had been promoted to the managership of the restaurant which was owned by W. E. Anderson, at 543 West Madison Street, Chicago, and employed thirty-five people. On being called to military service, Mr. Thomas was assigned to the ammunition train of the Fourteenth Division and was in training at Camp Jackson, in South Carolina, and Camp Custer, at Battle Creek, Michigan. He was not ordered overseas and soon after the close of the war was honorably discharged. He returned to Chicago and was in the restaurant business there until 1921, when he came to California, to which state the father had brought his family at the close of the war, locating on a ranch three miles from Marysville. Soon after coming here James A. Thomas engaged in the restaurant business in Marysville, starting in a modest way, with but six stools. His business grew rapidly and he secured another place, with fourteen stools, which also in the course of a short time was inadequate, and he then fitted up his present place with fifty stools. At that time, 1925, he was joined by his brother Dell J., who is still identified with the business. Their restaurant is open night and day, their force of three cooks and thirteen other persons working in three shifts. Close personal attention is given to every detail, only the best and most wholesome food being served, while neatness and cleanliness characterize the place. Experienced and courteous waiters afford exceptional service and the Place Lunch is deservedly popular with discriminating eaters, its patronage showing a constant and steady increase, with usually a waiting line at noontime.
In 1919, in Chicago, Mr. Thomas was united in marriage to Miss Minnie Conover, of Rockford, Illinois. He is a member of the Benevolent Protective Order of Elks and the American Legion at Marysville and is personally popular among his associates, while throughout the community he is greatly respected for his business ability and his sterling qualities.
Transcribed by Gerald Iaquinta.
© 2010 Gerald Iaquinta.