Henry Thomas and Mary "Polly" Thomas

Registration number 20080828B

This certifies that the heraldic arms of Henry Thomas and Mary "Polly" Thomas which are offered in memoriam and conveyed to their descendants are registered and described by the blazon below

Arms: Barry bendy Or and Vert, upon a billet Argent a hawk's feather erect proper.

Biographical information

Henry (died 1843) and Polly (1800-1849) were the first permanent settlers of European extract in what is now Bureau County, Illinois, first tilling the soil of the future Bureau Township on June 10, 1828. Henry became the first postmaster in the future Bureau County in 1831 and was among the militia at Stillman's Run, the opening engagement of the Black Hawk War in 1832. Rangers built a blockhouse named Fort Thomas on their farm during the conflict. Henry later claimed land near New Bedford, originally known as Thomas' ferry for the boat he built there.

Design rationale

The background or heraldic field is divided into green and gold lozenges representing the orderly pattern of settlement on flat, Midwestern prairie land. The view of farmland from above also evokes Warren's nearly twenty-one-year career in the U.S. Air Force. The barry bendy field also recalls the Green River and West Bureau Creek, one draining westward into the Rock River, the other draining southeastward into the Illinois River.The white rectangle is a heraldic billet representing a sheet of paper folded as a letter, evoking Henry's service as postmaster. Warren was postmaster of Seatonville for fifteen years.The black hawk's feather refers to Henry's presence among the militia at Stillman's Run, the opening engagement of the Blackhawk War. In some Native American traditions a feather is the mark of a warrior, and on a white rectangle it could be seen as representing a soldier on a litter. Warren spent much of his military career as an air evacuation medic. The feather could also be regarded as a symbol of flight or as a writing utensil."Bureau" is the French word for a writing desk, and the motto "Lives Written Upon the Land" is a play on the County's name, involving all of the coat of arms' elements. The image of a feather writing on the land is also reminiscent of Deuteronomy 30:19, "I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live."

Historical note

These arms were designed by Jonathan David Makepeace for all descendents of Henry Thomas and Mary "Polly" Thomas, regardless of sex or surname, including adoptive and step descendents, in memory of Henry and Polly and in honor of J. D.'s father Warren Eugene Taylor, who assumed them shorty before his death.The arms were originally depicted on a heraldic lozenge meant to evoke the rectangular shape of a desktop. The shape also recalls Polly, since in British heraldic traditions only women bear their arms on a lozenge–-though men do in others. However, the shape is technically not important, and it would be equally correct to draw the design on a shield of another shape.

Registered by

Jonathan David Makepeace


Personal, Original, US, T

Roll of Arms