James Monroe Thomas was one of the first homesteaders in Dearfield, Colorado.
Thomas arrived in Dearfield from Denver in 1910. He was attracted to the colony by the opportunity to own land and meet with O.T. Jackson.
J. M. Thomas and his family endured many hardships during the first few years, but his tenacity and hard work paid off. He grew a mixture of crops to support his growing family. He built a frame house with windows, a barn, and a chicken house.
But Thomas suffered losses too. Crops were very poor in some years. The meager harvests of grain he raised were needed to feed his family and he was not able to feed his livestock. As a result, he lost eight horses while proving up his claim. He filed for his patent in January 1915 at the age of 66.
Thomas’s determination to succeed provided inspiration to other Dearfield homesteaders. He worked hard and supported the community's growth through a helping hand in the fields and to its businesses. His commitment to the colony resulted in a street being named after him.
J.M. Thomas stay in Dearfield for the rest of his life.
Learn more about Black Homesteading in America.