Jefferson Davis O’Rear was born in Montgomery County, Kentucky in 1863, son of William D. O’Rear. he moved west to Missouri and later to Oklahoma during the opening of the Cherokee strip. (see sketch no. 37) In 1889 he started a little humorous paper entitled "The Arkansas Thomas Cat." in Hot Springs, Arkansas, which he published until 1929. This little periodical was continued for some years after this by others. He died about 1945.
Reproduced here is front page, editorial page and pages containing his first and last editions from the Nov. 23, 1929 issue.
Articles from the Thomas Cat - Vol. 40 Just Before Midnight Nov. 2, 1929 No.l 1
A LITTLE SERMON BY YE PASTOR.
I want to hand you young guys a little advice you can place on the walls of your thinkery. It may not be of much use now, but take it from me it is straight goods. In starting out in life remember that many a square guy has gone into business with a capital only of ability, hard work, honest, and good reputation: Be grateful. Remember that credit is based on confidence in the individual rather than in the bank account. Don’t get off your trolley and run into nasty arguments and disputes. Give and take. Be on the level. Keep your temper. Stoop to conquer, and you will come under the wire first. Cut out all thoughts of revenge; there ain’t a thing to it. The use or abuse of credit is the form-sheet that shows whether a guy will rise or fall. Take it from me that the best kind of dope is to keep your record clean, and if on the latter you get off to a bad start and you are crowded on the shoals, your past will stand you in good stead. if you have been given to sharp practice or dishonesty, and have played your fellow guys for lobs, woe be unto you when you fall.
The Thomas Cat Folds His Little Tent and Jumps Over the High Board Fence
After an existence of 40 years and one week the Thomas Cat comes to the end of the Trail. The Thomas Cat’s little lute is hanging on the willows, and his wild goose is cooked. For years it has been the mission of this little periodical to look upon the bright and cheerful side of everything. It found joy and happiness in filling the heart with delight; the same as it is to the thrush in the depths of the woods when the day dawns or to the nightingale when she drinks the dew in heats of noon off the snow of a magnolia blossom. "All the world loves a lover," that is why the Thomas Cat has been singing this joyous song all these years and would gladly continue to sing, but ye pastor, who established this journalistic bird 40 years ago is a very sick man, and has been practically down and out for two years and seven months. To those good friends who have given us support for all these years we are very, very, grateful and in the language of old Rip Van Winkle, we hope ‘Dey vill lif long und brosper." Fare-thee-well, and if forever still forever, fare thee well.
With a parting hand-shake and a God-bless-you.
Yours thinely, J. Davis O’Rear
When you have passed over the Trail of Life you clearly realize the opportunities that are past. You see the mistakes after they have been made. There is nothing left but useless hoping and wishing -- a waste of energy that possibly might tend to redeem the past. But the Past has gone down the rocky shores of Time and the only sane thing to do is to use sensibly what Time remains, for the Past is done, and reminiscing and hoping accomplishes nothing.
SPECIAL NOTICE -- Since the above was put in type negotiations are now underway for the Thomas Cat to be taken over by other parties and continue its publication. However, we desire to save the Thomas Cat’s job printing department will continue business at the old stand, 450 Prospect avenue, Phone 143.
Man is never satisfied. If he makes a million dollars he isn’t happy until he has two million dollars. And if he finds a gold mine he goes hunting for another one.
The First Issue of the Thomas Cat Forty years Ago Contained The Following Introductory
With a hop skip and jump we introduce you to the Thomas Cat, a modest and candid little periodical whose mission will be to make people happy by taking them when they have the blues and firing into them good natured reading matter that will cause them to laugh before they know it. This little magazinelet will be sharper than a serpent’s toe nails; as mild and gentile and harmless as white beer, and as true to its friends as a good girl to her lover.
As we cast our optimistic orbs over the business end of Tom our future spreads out before us like the feathery end of a turkey gobbler on a sunny June morning, and we feel it in our bones that encouragement will be showered upon the Thomas Cat like boot-jacks flying out of a three-story window at midnight. The Thomas Cat will be published weekly, but in case we are too weak to raise the wind to pay the hands (and they go on a strike,) it will be hanged to a tri-weekly -- that is, get out one issue and try to get out another. In case we are forced to change to a semi-weekly, we’ll emigrate to Egypt, where we’ll remain all the days of our life and be a Yankee Doodle beggar. The Thomas Cat will be published for the best interests and welfare of is proprietor. It does not come to "fill a long-felt want," for we’re afraid our wants would be felt a long time before they would be filled.
Cordially yours, J. Davis O’Rear
"Blessed are ye when men revile you." The man had great insight who said that. Insight, did we say? He had lived.
Mayor McLaughlin says there are too many motorists in this town who, when they see the red light think they are free to speed over a crossing and smash their own or somebody else’s car.
The Wisdom of a Day is the title of a new book; and heaven knows that’s all we need; for if we possessed the wisdom of a whole year we’d fail under the weight of our own superiority.
A Hot Springs man has just about gone broke trying to support a touring car and family large enough to fill it.