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James "Mr. Jim" Lawrence Thomas

Updated: Feb 16, 2021

  • James Thomas, also known as Jim Thomas L. lived to be 78

  • Born: November 25, 1890

  • Returned Home: Dec 18, 1968

  • Plano's First Black Firefighter

  • Plano's First Laundry Service

  • Provided Janitorial Service in Downtown Plano

  • Trusted Business Man

  • Humanitarian

  • Lived in Plano, Texas in the historic Douglass Community

  • Father of James Thomas II (Dudie)

  • Married: Willie Mae (Morgan) Thomas — on Jun 28, 1918, in Plano, Collin, Texas, United States

  • Grandfather to James Thomas III (Baby Dudie)

  • A first school named after Jim Thomas

His Legacy:

"Mr. Jim", as the namesake of this school was known by the citizens of Plano, was known throughout the more than 60 years that he lived in Plano as an unselfish humanitarian. He provided food and shelter not only for his own family of 11 children but also for the children of other families, both African American and white.

Mr. Thomas opened the first laundry service in the city, provided janitorial service for most of the downtown businesses, and found time to be Plano's first African American fireman. He died in 1968 at the age of 78.


Originally buried at Davis Cemetery, moved to Restland when his wife died. Old stone remains at Davis along with one for his daughter who was buried in his plot.

Exhibit Activity & Discussion:

  1. What can we tell about Mr. Jim's legacy?

  2. What characteristics did he instill in his children and community?

  3. Why was he referred to as "Mr. Jim" instead of James?

  4. What are the names of his children?

  5. What were some of the roles of Mr. Jim in the community?


Census Records

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