Indicative of the humility of JF Thomas was this reluctance to use the title of Major after he had returned to civilian life. He said he did not wish to pose for a title which no longer belonged to him. The circumstances that provoked his resignation were also related to the, by now, infamous trial. He requested permission to publish certain undisclosed facts that he knew could have influenced the Court Martial. Major General Hutton refused. Major Thomas then resigned his commission in the Australian Reserve.
In the words of JF Thomas, "All that is a chapter of history and I use it only to illustrate how it came about that I ceased to have the rank of Major, a title which in peace time would have been out of place, for one returned to civilian life to assume. It would certainly be out of place for me to be what I am not". A truly humble man, his endeavours on behalf of Morant were considered typical of his readiness to give help to his fellow man.
Major Thomas was a man of gentle nature and a lover of simplicity, whilst described by others as being eccentric and stubborn. He loved the bushland and flora and fauna, of Australia and is believed to be the first to bring the Gerbera flower to Australia from South Africa.
After his retirement, he spent much of his time on his property at Boonoo Boonoo, NE of Tenterfield, and it was here that he died on 11.11.1942.
He had retained his interest in journalism and was owner of the "Tenterfield Star" for some sixteen years, frequently plugging for decentralisation and to get a better deal for the north of the State.
"The voice of the small bush newspaper is very much that of one crying in the wilderness, it's cry at all times should be directed against the blighting evil of city congestion". In the late 1890's Major Thomas purchased the "Star" for the purpose of advocating the cause of Australian Federation, which was first mooted publicly in Tenterfield, before becoming a question of practical politics. In spite of the cold and even hostile reception which Federation first received in the electorate, his newspaper had the satisfaction of seeing the question carried by a majority of two to one. The "Star" was also the first country newspaper to advocate the formation of the Country Party.
Major Thomas' unobtrusive actions of kindness were legion and it was said that he would give his last shilling to a needy person. Most likely he did...