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Mr. Bernard was born in Robertson county, Tennessee, October 15, 1825, son of W. S. and Lavertia (Cunningham) Bernard, natives of Virginia and North Carolina respectively. His father owned and operated a farm in Robertson county. During the war of 1812 he served under Old Hickory Jackson, and was with him on his raids against the Indians when the latter were driven west of the Mississippi river. He was in the famous battle of Horse Shoe Bend. To him and his wife fifteen children were born, twelve grew to maturity and eight are still living, scattered over various portions of the United States.
Thomas was reared on the farm, and when he was eleven years old he had the misfortune to lose his father. He remained with his mother till he reached his twenty-second year. Soon after the loss of her husband, Mrs. Bernard moved with her family to Adams county, Illinois. In the fall of 1847 the subject of our sketch left his home, and with a caravan of fourteen wagons and four families, accompanied by several young men, set out for Texas, landing in Dallas county, November 5, 1847. The following spring several members of the companysome of them with familiesstarted to return to Illinois by way of Shreveport, taking a boat to that point. On their way down the Red river the boat took fire, and a number of the party were burned and drowned.
Soon after coming here, Mr. Bernard, then a single man, took up a half section on Tenmile creek, where he now resides. He was married to his first wife, Miss Mary C. Rawlins, December 24, 1850, she being a native of Iowa and a daughter of William and Nancy (Sharp) Rawlins, who came to Texas from Iowa. Her father was a son of Rodrick Rawlins, who was among the earliest settlers of this county. Mr. and Mrs. Bernard had three children, two of whom, Henry M. and William E., are married and have families. Henry M. resides in the Indian Territory. William E. married Miss Emma E. McCarty, and now lives on his father's headright.
Mr. Bernard was married the second time, March 18, 1862, to Miss Mary Luck, a native of Virginia. Her father was a native of Germany, and came to the United States when a young man, and came to the United States when a young man. He married Lucy Garris, and for many years lived in Virginia and followed the trade of blacksmith, a trade he had learned in the old country. He moved to Texas about 1855 or 1856, and settled in Ellis county, where he continued to work in Ellis county, where he continued to work at his trade until the time of his death in 1863.
In March, 1863, Mr. Bernard enlisted in the Confederate service as a member of the Colonel B. Warren Stone's Second Regiment of Texas Rangers, and was in the service from that time till the general surrender in 1865. He was with the forces that operated along the Mississippi and Red rivers, and was in the battle of Mansfield, Louisiana, when the Confederates drove General Banks back from his raid up the Red river. He was in the charge on the Federal camps at Fort Donelson. He returned home at the close of the war, never having received a wound or having been captured.
By his last wife Mr. Bernard has eight children: Mary C., wife of J. L. Caunts, lives in Erath county, Texas; John Thomas, a graduate of the St. Louis College of Physicians and Surgeons, married Miss Stella Sticanka, daughter of William and Lizzie Sticanka of Illinois, and is now a practicing physician; Lucy Frances, wife of I. E. Bumpas and lives in Dallas county; and Rutia Jennette, Jesse Virgil, Celeste May, Eva Monenda,all living.
Mr. Bernard is surrounded with all the comforts of life. He and his family are members of the Christian Church, and occupy honored and useful positions in society.
Source: [Anonymous], Memorial and Biographical History of Dallas County, Texas (Chicago: Lewis Publishing Co., 1892), pp. 889-890.