COX Houston O’Neal Thomas


COX Houston O'Neal Thomas

Houston O’Neal Thomas was born Dec. 21, 1920 in Bowie County in northeast Texas near the Arkansas border. His father, Samuel Houston Thomas, was a saw-mill laborer and later a police officer, and his mother, Ethel Meadow Thomas, a homemaker.

On Jan. 28, 1920 the parents and their first child, Frances, were living with Ethel’s father in a rental. By April 1930 the family owned a $3,300 house (about $52,000 in 2022 dollars) in Texarkana, the county seat with a population of 16,602 plus 10,764 in its twin city in Arkansas across the Red River.

Young Mr. Thomas enlisted in the Navy on Dec. 19, 1939. He was a coxswain and petty officer third class on the U.S.S. Arizona when he was killed in the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, Dec. 7, 1941.

There is a cenotaph in his memory at the cemetery in Redwater, Texas 10 miles west of Texarkana. He shares the marker with a brother, Lynn, who died July 4, 1935 at age 11.


Sources: Census; Navy muster roll; cenotaph. This profile was researched and written on behalf of the U.S.S. Arizona Mall Memorial at the University of Arizona.

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