The leading contractor and builder of Atwater, Merced County is Thomas A. Wayne, born in Effingham County, Ill., on January 21, 1873, the third in order of birth of four children and the only son of G. W. Wayne, a native of Kentucky and a wheelwright by trade. In 1875 he came to California, followed the next year by his family; and the family home was established in Lake County, where he worked in the Sulphur Bank Mine. They later moved to Lower Lake, where he opened a wagon shop, carried on the business many years and died at the age of sixty-five years. He had married Cynthia Ellen Jaycox, who died at the age of sixty-four years. Both parents are buried in Lake County.


Thomas attended the Lower Lake public school and at the age of sixteen went to work in his father's shop, remaining for five years. At the age of twenty-one he engaged in carpenter work, learned the business thoroughly, and in 1902 came to Merced and worked as a journeyman until 1911, when he removed to Atwater, then a village of about 100 inhabitants. Since that time he has done most of the building in that town and vicinity, his handiwork showing in many of the best residences, business blocks and school buildings; in 1925 he erected the Bloss Memorial Library costing $15,000. He is the owner of a ten-acre vineyard in Arizona Colony and his home prop­erty in Atwater ; and he is the proprietor of the Atwater Billiard Hall and Cigar Store and is considered one of the substantial men of the town, as well as a public-spirited citizen of the county.


Mr. Wayne was united in marriage with Miss Bertie L. Cunning­ham of Lower Lake, daughter of the late W. H. Cunningham, a pioneer blacksmith, who was also assessor of Lake County three terms. He was well and favorably known in Northern California. The children of this union are: Leonard A., Nora E., Ethel I., Mil­dred M., Leta and Thomas A., Jr. Mr. Wayne was elected a member of the first board of trustees of Atwater upon its incorporation in August, 1922. Fraternally, he is a member and a Past Grand of the Odd Fellows lodge at Lower Lake, and a member of Merced Lodge No. 1240, B. P. 0. E. He stands at all times for cooperation in all public development and is a champion of the rights of the people.

 History of Merced County California With a Biographical Review OF The Leading Men and Woman of the County Who Have Been Identified with Its Growth and Development from Early Days to the Present

Author: John Outcalt (1925)

Thomas A. Wayne, page 754

Contributed by: Carol Lackey