THOMAS, MAUDE OMEGA (1881–1956).
Educator and newspaper publisher Maude Omega Thomas was the youngest child of John Richard and Mary Jane Coombe Thomas. Born on January 23, 1881, in Green Ridge, Missouri, Maude Thomas moved with her family to Kansas before settling circa 1886 in Beaver City in No Man's Land. Educated in the Beaver schools, she attended the University of Oklahoma for one semester. Thomas taught school before working as a typesetter for the weekly Beaver Herald. In February 1902 she purchased the newspaper and produced it for twenty-one years. Strong-willed and opinionated, Thomas controlled what was printed in the journal. As she was a prohibitionist, one of her first acts was eliminating advertising for liquor. By 1906 she reported an average circulation of one thousand.
Thomas was active in politics and changed political parties several times during her lifetime. In 1932, through an executive order, Gov. William H. Murray ousted Louis Wentz from the Oklahoma Highway Commission. Murray then appointed Republican Maude Thomas. Although she held the office only for a few months, she was able to push through legislation to improve highways in the Oklahoma Panhandle.
Thomas was a member of the Oklahoma Press Association as well as the National Editorial Association. When the Beaver County Editorial Association was organized in 1905, she served as secretary and treasurer. During World War I she served as chair of the Beaver County chapter of the American Red Cross. Governor Murray appointed Thomas to serve on the Board of Regents of the Oklahoma College for Women located at Chickasha. She was active in numerous women's clubs and attended the Church of Christ. Her hobbies included gardening and civic improvement. She was instrumental in establishing a children's playground, a municipal hospital, a recreation center, and a community building, and she donated land for county fair buildings. After a lengthy illness Thomas died in the Beaver County Memorial Hospital on November 19, 1956, and is buried in the Beaver Pioneer Cemetery.
Lyle H. Boren and Dale Boren, Who is Who in Oklahoma (Guthrie, Okla.: Cooperative Publishing Co., 1935).
L. Edward Carter, The Story of Oklahoma Newspapers, 1844 to 1984 (Muskogee, Okla.: Western Heritage Books, Inc., 1984).
Daily Oklahoman (Oklahoma City), 2 April and 1 September 1932 and 20 February 1944.
Carolyn Foreman, Oklahoma Imprints, 1835–1907: A History of Printing in Oklahoma Before Statehood (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1936).
Herald-Democrat (Beaver, Oklahoma), 22 November 1956.
A History of Beaver County Pioneer Families, Vol. 1 (N.p.: Beaver County Historical Society, 1970).
Maude O. Thomas (Interview), "Indian-Pioneer History," 73:175, Research Division, Oklahoma Historical Society, Oklahoma City.
"Maude O. Thomas," Vertical File, Oklahoma Room, Oklahoma Department of Libraries, Oklahoma City.
"Maude O. Thomas," Vertical File, Research Division, Oklahoma Historical Society, Oklahoma City.
The following (as per The Chicago Manual of Style, 17th edition) is the preferred citation for articles:
Linda D. Wilson, “Thomas, Maude Omega,” The Encyclopedia of Oklahoma History and Culture, https://www.okhistory.org/publications/enc/entry.php?entry=TH021.
© Oklahoma Historical Society.