George Thomas was born in 1821 in Ambroth, Pembrokeshire, Wales. His marriage to Mary Morgan in 1842, which produced three children, ended after Mary’s death in 1848. Their three children had also died by this time. The following year, George married Martha Howells, also of Ambroth, who was twenty-three years his senior.
George joined The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in 1849. He served as a local missionary until 1854, whereupon he and Martha immigrated to the United States. The couple lived at St. Louis, Missouri for five years until crossing the plains to Salt Lake City in 1860 in the Warren Walling Company. George and Martha settled at Hyde Park, a small town in northern Utah.
George took Mary Ann Griffiths as a plural wife in 1866. The oldest of their seven children, George Thomas, Jr., later became president of the University of Utah. In 1881 George married another plural wife, Rebecca Willes. They had no children.
George moved his family to Benson, Utah in 1871, but did not find success on the 52-acre farm which he had purchased. An accident in 1883 left one of his legs useless, and George turned support of the family over to his oldest son. George died in 1890 and was buried in Benson, Utah.
Erickson, Joseph G. The Life and Educational Contributions of Dr. George Thomas. Master’s thesis, University of Utah, 1954.
Ricks, Joel R., ed. The History of a Valley: Cache Valley, Utah–Idaho. Logan, UT: Cache Valley Centennial Commission, 1956.