Thomas was the son of William Franklin Cavaness and Martha j. Ward. He was married 1st to Mary Carney, 2nd to Ida Brown and third to Fannie Gaither. He may have been married a fourth time. John Franklin Caviness was his oldest son of his marriage with Mary Carney. After her death, John was placed with a German Family and the other four children were placed with the Carney Relatives. John never saw his siblings again.