W. S. THURSTON, a prominent and extensive implement dealer of Nocona, is numbered among the citizens that Alabama has furnished to the Lone Star state. He was born in Alabama, February 20, 1850, but was reared in Virginia. His parents were William S. and Emily (Eaves) Thurston, the former a native of Virginia, and the latter of Alabama, in which state their marriage was celebrated. The Thurstons were among the prominent and aristocratic families of the Old Dominion, were large landowners and extensive slave holders.
William S. Thurston was born and reared in Virginia and when a young man went to Alabama, where he was married. After a number of years, however, he returned to his native state for the purpose of settling up an estate. The only living member of the family at that time was his great-grandmother, who died while he was arranging to settle up the estate, being at that time one hundred and six years of age. About that time the Civil war was inaugurated and within a short time his wife died in Alabama. After the war the family was completely broken up. William S. Thurston had two brothers, George and Henry, all of whom went to Alabama. Henry never married and George married and left one son, who is now living in Hunt county, Texas, and he and our subject, W. S. Thurston, are the only surviving members of the old Virginia family. Little is known concerning the ancestral history.
When William S. Thurston returned to the Old Dominion he was accompanied by the son, W. S. Thurston, then eight years of age. The father died, the slaves were all liberated, the property was devastated and the estate has never yet been settled. W. S. Thurston was taken into the home of an old Virginian and he well remembers all the horrors of war and the devastation caused to property. He would have to get the mail in those early days and was often sent to see if the Yankees were coming. He likewise assisted in the labors of the farm, but he had few educational privileges. In 1865,when fifteen years of age, he left the farm, but he had few educational privileges. In 1865, when fifteen years of age, he left the farm, but he had few educational privileges. In 1865, when fifteen years of age, he left the farm and went to Richmond, Virginia, where he secured employment, learning the blacksmith’s trade. On leaving that place he made his way to Mississippi, where he followed his trade, and subsequently he came to Texas. Learning that the government was clearing a raft out of the Red river and needed a blacksmith he made his way to Shreveport and secured employment that he sought. There he remained until yellow fever drove him away, w hen he came to Cooke county, Texas, where he opened a blacksmith shop. Later he was employed as a clerk in a store, remaining three years there, and then, after some time spent in various other places, he settled at Red River Station, in Montague county, where he established and conducted a small store and shop, continuing at that place until the railroad was built, when he removed to Nocona.
This was in 1887, and in the new town Mr. Thurston built a shop and was the first blacksmith here. He also added a stock of machinery, and after a few years he abandoned blacksmithing and built a large business house, in which he carries an extensive line of all kinds of farm implements and machinery, wagons, carriages, harness and other like merchandise. His business is now extensive, his sales amounting to about twenty-five thousand dollars annually.
While living at Red River Station Mr. Thurston was married to Mrs. Jane A. Hood, a widow. She first married a Mr. McGrady, becoming his wife in Missouri. They removed form that state to Texas, and by this marriage there were four children, namely: Lee McGrady, a cattleman; Mrs. Ena Myers, who is now in Illinois; Mrs. Laura Campbell, who after her husband’s death returned home to live with her mother, Mrs. Thurston; and Charles, who is assisting Mr. Thurston in his business. After losing her first husband, Mrs. McGrady became the wife of Thomas Hood, a pioneer farmer of Montague county, Texas. They had one son, Clark Hood, who was reared and educated by Mr. Thurston, and is yet at home assisting him in his business. Mrs. Thurston was born in Alabama and in her early girlhood removed to Missouri, where she was reared and married. She was a lady of intelligence and worth of character and a worthy member of the Christian church. This union has been blessed with a daughter, Anna, who is yet at home. Mrs. Thurston departed this life in 1897. Mr. Thurston departed this life in 1897. Mr. Thurston, with his daughter and step-children, reside in Nacona and is accounted one of its most enterprising and progressive business men, meeting with splendid success in all that he undertakes.
Source: B. B. Paddock, History and Biographical Record of North and West Texas (Chicago: Lewis Publishing Co., 1906), Vol. II, pp. 90.