A.W.U. Thomas, a successful autioneer at the dawn of the twentieth century, was also the President of the African church and vice president of the Aborigines Protection Society. Originally from Oyo, he was born in 1856 and attended C.M.S. Grammar School, Lagos. Thereafter, he began his career as a government clerk in the collections department of Customs. He was subsequently promoted to a clerk position at the colonial government house. By 1886, he was made the deputy registrar of the Law court. However, the limited prospects for career advancement for a native African led him to resign his official duties and move into private enterprise. He started an autioneering firm which made use of his engaging personality and knowledge about pricing. He achieved success in various auctions including the sale of German assets during and after the great war and various lands, buildings, produce, jewellery and clothing.
His residence was called Ebun house, and was used to host traditional rulers from afar who were visiting Lagos.