Morris Thomas and Jane Snowden
Morris Thomas (dates unknown); Jane Snowden (1815–n.d.)
Morris Thomas was born in New York (date unknown) and is the subject of an 1854 petition, signed by 128 citizens, asking that he and his family be allowed to remain in Oregon despite the law excluding “Negros and mulattos” from residing in the Territory.
Morris does not appear in any census records for Oregon. However, he married Mrs. Jane Snowden in Multnomah County in 1851. She was born in 1815 in Missouri and is found in the 1850 census living in Andrew Skidmore’s household. One account indicates that Jane returned to Missouri in 1852 to purchase a son, Billy, and bring him to Oregon. A journal entry in the early Washington County records indicates that Jane recorded the purchase of her son for $500 ($15,742 in today’s dollars) from David Snowden. The recording of this fact was intended to provide proof that he was no longer a slave. View bill of sale for Billy
The bulk of evidence for Morris Thomas is found in newspaper advertisements that ran for his barbershop and a bath house in the 1850s. Neither he nor his wife appear in the 1860 census for Oregon and Jane’s son was reported to have died in Oregon in 1857.