The son of Col. John Means, Thomas Mean was born on November 3, 1803 in Spartensburg, South Carolina. His father built the Union Furnace in Lawrence County. Thomas became the manager of the furnace when he was an adult.
Upon his father’s death, Thomas found another career. He joined the law firm of Sinton and Means.
However, Thomas did maintain a connection with the furnaces of the Hanging Rock Iron Region. He rebuilt Union Furnace and built Ohio Furnace. He, also, had interests in Vinton, Buena Vista, and Bellefonte Furnaces.
In 1865, Means bought the Pine Grove Furnace and Newcastle Coal Works. In the same year, he began the law firm, Means, Kyle & Co.
In 1881, his wife, Sarah Ellis Means, died. The couple had only two children, Margaret and William A.
In 1882, he moved from his home in Hanging Rock to Ashland, Kentucky.
He was remembered as an agreeable, social man with simple tastes and modest manners. In his later life, he lost his sight.