Born on Pettis County soil, bred to the life of a farmer and stockman, Thomas J. Raines has gone his successful course true to the tradition of the second generation of the Raines family in Pettis County. The tale of his success since he attained his majority, and began his career with a single span of mules, reads like a tale from modern fiction. In the short space of twenty years, Mr. Raines has accumulated a fortune in lands and money, and his success is a living evidence of the fact that old Pettis County is still the "land of opportunity"' for an ambitious and energetic citizen. Mr. Raines, beginning in 1890 with the aforesaid span of mules as his only capital, rented land for three years, made some money, then bought 200 acres near Lookout, Missouri. For this land he paid down $500. The soil being in a depleted condition and the buildings in a run-down condition, he set to work and created a valuable farm. This farm he sold at a profit in 1905. He then bought the old Jackson Williams farm of 150 acres, built up this tract into a better and more valuable farm, and sold it at a profit in 1910. In 1912, he purchased the Zieg Scott farm of 286 acres. Mr. Raines again repeated the operation of building up a run-down and depleted farm, and sold out at a profit in 1917. During the past twenty years he has amassed a comfortable fortune of over $25,000, and is accounted one of the leading progressive stockmen of Pettis County.
The present Raines farm embraces 864 acres, in one body, in section 4. Heath's Creek township. Mr. Raines is here repeating the process of restoring the land to a better condition of fertility, and is improving the farm with the intention of making a permanent, comfortable home for his family. Since August, 1917, he has made considerable changes in the appearance of this tract. He has only recently completed the erection of a beautiful, modern residence of eight rooms, equipped with every modern convenience to make life comfortable and pleasant on the farm. This residence stands on an elevation and presents an attractive appearance from the roadway. The Raines farm is devoted to general farming, and stock raising; 100 head of cattle are produced annually for the markets, and he markets from 200 to 300 head of hogs each year.
Thomas J. Raines was born April 11, 1878, on a farm in the northern part of Heath's Creek township. He is the son of John W. Raines, one of the old settlers of Pettis County, a sketch of whom appears in this volume. His grandfather was Charles Raines, of Virginia, a pioneer of Saline County, Missouri. Thomas J. Raines was educated in the district school of his neighborhood, and has followed the vocation of farming from boyhood. The only assistance Mr. Raines received from his father, who is a large land owner, was a span of mules. He used this team in making his first crop and then sold the mules for $160.
Mr. Raines was married, in 1901, to Miss Lou Karrick, a daughter of Jesse Karrick, a wealthy and substantial farmer of Longwood township, a sketch of whom appears in this history. This marriage has been blessed with three children: Lillie, aged seventeen years, a student in Sedalia High School; Robin, aged fifteen years, also a student in Sedalia High School, and Carl, eight years old. Mr. Raines is a Republican. He and his family worship at the Christian Church. He is fraternally allied with the Longwood Lodge. No. 4,237, Modern Woodmen of America. He is a director of the Bank of Longwood, and is a progressive and enterprising citizen who is ever ready to give his assistance in promoting worthy projects.
Source: McGruder, Mark A. History of Pettis County, Missouri (Topeka: Historical Publishing Company, 1919)