Brother Hamilton Holmes originally did the legwork possible to produce a history of W. C. Thomas Lodge #112. Past Master Douglas Evans, III took Bro. Holmes work further by compiling it into a major work of art. The following is a brief synopsis.
Who was William Charles Thomas? Every so often, when the stars align, a son is born destined to change the fabric of Humanity. Such a man was born in LaGrange, Georgia on February 11, 1864. His mother, Mattie Hayes, was a cook and laborer. They moved to Atlanta when William was twelve to attend school. He attended the Storrs School, established by the American Missionary Association of Freedmen.
He was a family man and married to Mary Mosby (nicknamed Mamye). Together they had three children, all boys; William Jr, (the oldest) was called Charlie, Cassius, and Walter. After his Stepfather died in 1884, he took care of his mother and his Sister Daisy Hayes from Lagrange. The Thomas family lived on Fort Street near Auburn Avenue in Atlanta’s famous Old Fourth Ward and they attended Saint Paul Episcopal Church in Atlanta.
During the Campaign of President William Harrison, a young Charlie, as he was called, was appointed Chairman of the State Central Committee and it is believed that he was one of the first Black Deputy U. S. Marshals in Atlanta for the Northern District of America. As the first African American to clerk in the U. S. Court (around 1893), he worked for 18 years as Deputy U. S. Marshal under Colonel A. E. Buck and Walter H. Johnson. Bro. Thomas law enforcement career was stellar and he became the private Secretary for the U. S. Marshals. Charlie was also a notary public and a three termed clerk for the 6th Ward poll district.
As an entrepreneur, he founded the Great Southern Fire Insurance Company, which later merged with the Bankers Fire Insurance Company. In 1907, Bro. Thomas and Grand Master, Dr. H. R. Butler came up with an ingenious business plan to assist the families of deceased master masons with money for burial protection. This business proposal evolved into the Masonic Relief Association in 1908, which was also run by Bro Thomas. Past Master Thomas was the Secretary of the MRA for 16 years until his death.
It is believed that W. C. Thomas was made a mason in 1890 and appointed District Deputy Grand Master by Grand Master John D. Campbell in 1891. In that same year, Crystal Lodge was instituted in the Thomasville part of East Atlanta. In 1892, Bro. Thomas helped to organize Crystal Lodge #112 at the Thomasville Grand Lodge Session under GM Campbell. The charter members were Worshipful Master W. C. Thomas, Senior Warden Henry A. Rucker and Junior Warden J. M. Scott. Bro. Thomas was a Past Master of Crystal Lodge for at least eighteen years between 1892 and 1915. He was a 32nd degree Mason and was well known all over the State of Georgia for his ritualistic knowledge. The earlier proceedings of the Grand Lodge document that DDGM Thomas and GM Butler together organized many lodges throughout the jurisdiction of Georgia. Legend also has it that W. C. Thomas would have run for the office of Grand Master but due to his job or an illness, he could not go to the Grand Lodge session of 1900. Consequently, his friend and lodge brother Henry Rutherford Butler went as his proxy and was elected Deputy Grand Master (the first from the Atlanta area).
PM William Charles Thomas served the craft faithfully and represented the GL for many years as the Chairman of Foreign Correspondence. He was given his Masonic Last Rites in 1924 by WM William F. Gaines and the brothers of Crystal #112; his body was interred at Southview Cemetery. In 1935, over 40 years after Bro Thomas chartered the lodge, the name was changed by GM John Wesley Dobbs to W. C. Thomas Lodge #112.