Macon, GA Walnut Creek Drowning, Mar 1893
Tom Thomas Meets Death in the Waters of Walnut Creek
Late yesterday afternoon while Tom Thomas, an old negro of Jones county, accompanied by his son , a small boy, was attempting to ford Walnut Creek, several miles from the city, with a two-mule team, he, together with one of the mules, lost his life in the swollen stream, and his son and the remaining mule only narrowly escaped death.
It appears that Walnut creek, a very considerable stream in dry weather, has become very much swollen by the recent heavy rains, and to attempt to cross it when in such conditions is known by many to be hazardous in the extreme.
Old man Thomas, however relying no doubt upon his supposed [illegible] knowledge of its depth, urged his team in without the least fear, although his son and the mules protested.
The reckless driver was not long in discovering his foolhardiness, however, for so powerful was the current of the creek that the team had scarcely reached the middle before all were taken with one tremendous rush of the water and carried down the stream some distance, where they were lodged against a heap of driftwood.
Thomas, as soon as he could recover sufficiently from the first shock, leaped from the pile of driftwood upon which he had succeeded in climbing, and, shouting to his son to take one of the mules by the bridle and lead him out as soon as he could get him loose from the wagon, began cutting the harness from the entangled animals.
But no sooner had he succeeded in releasing the mules from the wagon and harness than his feet became entangled in the lines, and, with a last shout to his son to save himself and the other mule, he was carried down amid the debris and drowned.
The mule which he undertook to rescue perished with him, though the boy and the other mule escaped uninjured.
Thomas is said to have been a negro who was well thought of by both white and black, and was one of the most influential negro politicians in this section of the state.
Just after the war Thomas was elected a member of the Georgia legislature from Jones county, and although he has ever since been a conspicuous Republican, he has never made himself obtrusive, always maintaining the position assigned his race.
Macon Weekly Telegraph, Macon, GA 6 Mar 1893