Justice Edward Beers Thomas was born on August 4, 1848 in Cortlandville, NY. He graduated from Yale College in 1870, studied law at the office of Judge Shankland in Cortlandville, and was admitted to the bar that year. Thomas moved to Norwich, Chenango County in 1871, where he practiced law and became involved in politics. He was elected to the State Senate in 1881 and re-elected in 1883. In 1885, he ran unsuccessfully for the position of Attorney General. Thomas began practicing law in Brooklyn in 1886.
He joined the bench in 1898, when he was appointed by President William McKinley as a judge of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York. He remained there until 1906, and won election to the State Supreme Court for the Second District in 1907. Justice Thomas was designated as an Associate Justice of the Appellate Division, Second Department by Governor Hughes in 1909. Following his retirement from the bench in 1918, he continued to serve as an official referee and practiced law.
Justice Thomas was also a trustee of the Long Island Historical Society and a member of the Hamilton Club. His publications include Treatise on Negligence and The Law of Estates Created by Will.
He was married to Mary E. Babcock and had a daughter. He died on March 27, 1929 in Brooklyn at the age of 80.
“Edward B. Thomas, Jurist, Dies at 80.” New York Times 28 Mar. 1929: 27. ProQuest Historical Newspapers: The New York Times (1851-2008). Web. 3 Aug. 2012.
“Justice Thomas, On Bench 20 Years, Dead at Age of 80.” Brooklyn Daily Eagle 28 Mar.1929: 4. Web. 3 Aug. 2012. http://fultonhistory.com/Fulton.html
“Two Nominations.” The Long Islander 2 Nov. 1906. Web. 3 Aug. 2012. http://fultonhistory.com/Fulton.html