Posted By Norman Gasbarro on May 13, 2011
Thomas Jefferson “T.J.” Tobias was born about 1846 near Branch Township, Schuylkill County, Pennsylvania, the son of Daniel Tobias (1792-1879) and Catherine [Hoffa] Tobias (1800-1896). He had three older brothers, John Tobias, born about 1821, Daniel Tobias, born about 1843, and Samuel Tobias, born about 1844. The father, Daniel Tobias, was a tavern keeper and farmer in 1850 and by 1860, operated an inn in Donaldson, Frailey Township, Schuylkill County, Pennsylvania.
After the Civil War began and just before the Battle of Gettysburg, T.J. Tobias enrolled in the 27th Pennsylvania Infantry (Militia of 1863) to defend the homeland (Pennsylvania). He was mustered in at Harrisburg on 19 June 1863 as a private in Company I. A family story says that T.J. enlisted with other men in the town and then marched to Gettysburg but got there after the battle. They were then involved in burying the dead and cleaning up the battlefield. After one day of burying the dead, T.J. had his first drink of alcohol. This story of the first drink may seem difficult to believe since T.J. was raised in and around a tavern and inn, but the family also reports that T.J.’s mother was a “very strong woman with very strong ideas” and T.J. ended up marrying a woman with a similar temperament who “did not spare any fools.” T.J. was discharged with his company on 31 Jul 1863 after they performed some other duties around southern Pennsylvania. The 27th Pennsylvania Infantry (Militia of 1863) was not involved in any battles.
After the war, around 1867, T.J. Tobias married Elizabeth L. “Lizzie” Wood. To their union, four known children were born: Corrinne Tobias (1870-?), Floy Tobias (1871-?), Mary “Mamie” Tobias (1874-1952), and Henry Wood “Harry” Tobias (1876-1968).
In 1870 through about 1900, T.J. Tobias and family were living in Frailey Township, Schuylkill County, and T.J. was a retail merchant. At about the time the only son Henry Tobias decided to go to medical school at Columbia Medical College (now called George Washington University Medical School) in Washington, D.C., the family re-located there and T.J. and Lizzie operated a boarding house. Harry had previously graduated from Millersville College and had gone to work in Washington in the Treasury Department as a clerk in 1898. By 1910 through his retirement, T.J. Tobias was working as a government clerk in Washington, D.C. On 18 January 1938, Thomas Jefferson Tobias died at the age of 92. he is buried in Rock Creek Cemetery in the District of Columbia.
Henry W. Tobias finished medical school 1906 and began his own practice in the District of Columbia but at the outbreak of World War I, he joined the Army Medical Corps and occasionally treated President Woodrow Wilson. After the war, he joined the Public Health Service and helped to organize the Veterans Bureau, later called the Veterans Administration. When he retired in 1944, he was the Chief Medical Officer of the Veterans Administration. Dr. Tobias died in 1968 at the age of 92. His obituary notes that he was born in Donaldson, Schuylkill County, Pennsylvania.
Corrine Tobias was an artist in Schuylkill County and then in Washington, D.C. Her sister Floy Tobias was a nurse.
The family history also indicates that T.J. Tobias‘ older brother John Tobias also served in the Civil War. Thus far, only a draft registration record has been found for John Tobias who was about 44 years old in 1863. However, there is a Civil War service record for a John Tobias (abt 1848-?), most likely the nephew of T.J. Tobias, who served in the 48th Pennsylvania Infantry in 1865. John Tobias (abt 1848-?) was the son of Nancy Anna Rowe (1822-1850), one of the four wives of John Tobias, the older brother of T.J.
Much of this information, including pictures, was provided by descendants of Thomas Jefferson “T.J.” Tobias. a great deal of additional information is available in the files of the Civil War Research Project. Readers are invited to submit comments and other stories about this family. The Pennsylvania Veterans’ File Card is from the Pennsylvania Archives.