Thomas grew up in Talledega County, Alabama and moved to Texas with his family somtime after 1870. He and his family were the only Chaneys left in Talledega, Alabama in the 1870 Census records for that county. His wife Mary was his first cousin (daughter of Robert McClelland (brother of Melissa). Thomas' family were first listed in the Van Zandt County,Texas Census in 1880. He enlisted Aug 13 1861, Company A, 8th Mississippi Cavalry and was paroled at Hillsboro, North Carolina May 3,1865.