Thomas's likeness from his 1897 nomination2WR Thomas1W.R. Thomas (February 12, 1830 - April 12, 1930) was the 31st Mayor of Oakland, whose term began on March 9, 1897.  Born in Cook County, Illinois, Thomas was only six years old when he became an orphan.  Thomas at 19 went to serve as a private in the Civil War and was later discharged a captain after he was wounded.

In 1870 Thomas moved to California where he lived in Redwood City.  Thomas was a deputy county clerk and recorder of San Mateo County.

Thomas relocated to Oakland in 1876 and served as deputy county clerk of Alameda County from 1883 to 1885.  From 1885 to 1888 Thomas served at Oakland Police Chief and implemented the first police wagons.  He was an anti gambling advocate.  In 1897 Thomas was the Republican nominee and in the election he defeated Mayor John L. Davie.

After serving as mayor Thomas was a partner in the firm Benham and Thomas from 1889 to the early 20th century.

From 1887 to 1905 W.R. Thomas lived on 816 - 11th Street, but at the time of his death he lived at 1728 Pleasant Valley Road.

Additional Links


  1. Alameda County: The Eden of the Pacific. Tribune Publishing Co: 1898.
  2. "MEN FAVORED BY THE REPUBLICANS." San Francisco Chronicle: Jan 20, 1897.