THOME, JAMES A. (20 Jan. 1813-4 Mar. 1873), Presbyterian minister and antislavery activist, was born in Augusta, Ky. son of Arthur and Mary Armstrong Thome. His father was a slaveowner and when Thome attended college in Augusta, in 1833 and entered into Lane Seminary in Cincinnati, he was influenced by abolitionists and ousted from the seminary for his extreme views. From 1835-36 studied at Oberlin, received a degree in theology, and in 1836 became involved with the American Anti-Slavery Society, sent by its officers on a 6-month tour of the West Indies to report on emancipation there. The Society published an account of his travels in 1838. In 1840, Thome jointly authored a paper, "Slavery and the Internal Trade in the United States," submitted to the General Anti-Slavery Convention in London. From 1838-48, Thome filled the chair of rhetoric and belles lettres at Oberlin College.
Thome was minister of First Presbyterian Church of Brooklyn (Ohio City) from 1848-71, where he continued in the antislavery movement and raised funds for black education. In 1867, he took a year-long sabbatical to go to England to seek aid from benevolent societies to help freed slaves. Thome's church united with Congregationalists in 1857 and became First Congregational Church of Cleveland. He resigned as minister in 1871, a few years later dying of pneumonia in Chattanooga, Tenn., where he had gone to continue his ministry. He married Anna S. Allen in 1838; they had three daughters, Mary Elizabeth, Anna Bradford, and Maria Ellen.