Historical Marker #986 in Fort Thomas commemorates the local military post that was created there and its namesake.
In 1887, the United States Army moved the Newport Barracks to higher ground in nearby Fort Thomas due to excessive flooding. Congress appropriated $3,500,000 for construction, which commenced immediately. The post was designated Fort Thomas in 1890 and was named for noted Civil War Union General George Henry Thomas.
Born in Southampton County, Virginia, in 1816, Thomas grew up on his family's large farm. After his father, John C. Thomas, died in a farming accident in 1829, young George was forced to play a leadership role in the household. A quiet, responsible, and dutiful young man, Thomas was also kind hearted. Although educating slaves was illegal in Virginia, Thomas sometimes defied the law and taught slave children to read and write. The Thomas family almost fell victim to Nat Turner's rebellion in 1831, but were able to escape to a nearby town before the mob descended upon the property.
Thomas attended the United States Military Academy at West Point, and afterward participated in the Mexican-American War. When the country was torn apart by the Civil War, Thomas chose to fight for the Union and proved indispensable with his impressive defensive tactics at the Battle of Chickamauga in 1863. His victory against Confederate General John Bell Hood at Nashville in 1864 was one of the most decisive battles of the war. Thomas's legacy is remembered across the United States, but especially by those who call Fort Thomas home.