Thomas was named for Thomas Beall Davis (1828-1911), brother of Senator Henry Gassaway Davis. In 1883 the Davis brothers opened a mine and had coal ready for shipment when the railroad arrived one year later. By 1892 Davis Coal and Coke was among the largest and best known coal companies in the world, holding over 100,000 acres of coal lands. The populations of the six towns in the Fairfax District (Thomas, Pierce, Benbush, Douglas, Coketon and William) totaled nearly 5,000. The one-and-one half mile stretch between Thomas and Douglas was aglow with the fires of over 1,000 coke ovens.