JAMES HENRY THOMAS 1877-1887 “In the Nawab Ashanullah’s Service”

February 2, 2011

Dear Sirs,

I contacted you a few years ago with regard to my great grandfather, James Henry Thomas who according to his death record in 1887, was “In the Nawab Ashanullah’s Service.”  He was buried at St. Thomas’ Church, Dacca on December 18th 1887 by C.R. Wilson, Educational Department.
When his son, my grandfather, Albert Douglas Thomas was born in 1880, the family were living in Badamtolee in Dacca, and my great grandfather’s occupation was shown as “Writer”.  A common term then for a Clerk.
I was looking at some of the old photographs on your website when I saw three photos.  One was of “an English man standing on the Buckland Bund, 1880s” in Royal Palace Collection – II (1859-late1880s)  The photos is not very clear, but it looks like a photo we have of an unknown man we have always believed was James Henry Thomas.
However, whilst looking at the Nawab Abdul Ghani Collection I saw two photographs; “Nawab Abdul Ghani with the tennis team and other eminent persons, 1886” and “Ghani seated 5th from right with Lt. Gov. Sir Augustus Rivers Thompson & Lady Thompson, 1883.”  In these two photos there is a gentleman who looks very much like my grandfather.
What I would like to know is, is it possible to obtain a high resolution photo of the three photographs I have mentioned above to examine them more clearly?
I have uploaded the photographs mentioned above indicating with a yellow circle the people I am interested in looking at more closely.  I have also uploaded the photograph we own of an unknown gentleman whom we believe is James Henry Thomas.  I have also uploaded his burial record to see if anyone can help us to find some information about James Henry Thomas and his family in Dacca whilst in the service of the Nawab Ashanullah.
Various members of my family have searched for nearly 50 years for information about James Henry Thomas and his family without success.  We have no idea what his wife was called, but we do know that he had three children, a daughter called Mary, a son called Augustus George and my grandfather, Albert Douglas Thomas who was born in Dacca in 1880.
Grandfather said that his mother died when he was two years old (1882).  Presumably, this would have been in Dacca.  However, we have been unable to find a death record for her and not knowing her name makes it a difficult search to begin with.
James Henry Thomas is said to have remarried a Lavinia Dia, the daughter of the postmaster?  and when James died in 1887 she put the three children in St. Xavier’s orphanage in Calcutta.
Please download my photos from Adrive.com by clicking the link below.  They are in a Zip file. If you have any problems opening the file, please let me know and I will send them unzipped.
On his death record it says that he was buried by C.R. Wilson of the “Educational Department.” This seemed unusual to me and I wondered if perhaps James Henry Thomas had been a teacher at some stage in the palace.
We can find no evidence of him in the UK and don’t know how or why he ended up in the Nawab Ashanullah’s service.  If someone can help us with this 50 year old puzzle we would be eternally grateful.
Best wishes
Paul Rowland (editorial@indiaman.com)
2 South Farm Avenue
Sheffield S26 7WY

One Response to “JAMES HENRY THOMAS 1877-1887 “In the Nawab Ashanullah’s Service””

  1. Anas Khwaja Says:

    Thanks for contacting us. However Dr. Mohammed Alamgir Deputy Keeper, Ahsan Manzil Museum is subject matter expert and holds a PHD on Dhaka Nawab Family. He could shed some light on this and could be reached at 7391122 (off) 7395002 (res).

    The images you mentioned on your mail were scanned from a book. Unfortunately the pictures on the book were not of that high resolution.

    I wish I could help you in this regard.
    Anas Khwaja

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