Com o território dividido em sesmarias, Francisco Diniz da Penha, requereu e obteve em 10 de janeiro de 1736, a Carta de Data e sesmarias do Pica-pau.

De posse da data, Francisco Diniz edificou uma fazenda de gado, construiu as primeiras casas, estabeleceram as primeiras culturas e permaneceu em atividade ao longo do tempo, mesmo tendo sua área reduzida.

A povoação da região começou a acontecer de maneira esparsa, com várias prosperidades sendo instaladas. Um dos importantes proprietários da região foi José da Costa Vilarinho, que nos idos de 1758, possuía grande faixa de terra compreendida entre a Data Pica-pau e Pedra Preta, situadas nas proximidades do Rio Potengí.

Mas o povoamento propriamente dito começou a existir a partir da Fazenda Barra, inicialmente pertencente ao Coronel Francisco de Araújo Correia, mesmo dividida, no ano de 1870, e suas terras dispersas entre muitos donos, a Fazenda Barra veio a dar origem ao povoado de São Tomé.

Por volta de 1890, a localidade tinha uma casa comercial pertencente a Tomás Barbosa de Moura, chamada Bodega.

Em torno da Bodega de seu Tomás, foram construídas várias moradias e o povoado começou a tomar forma, aglutinando novas famílias interessadas no trabalho agrícola, na mobilização em torno do algodão e nas boas condições que o lugar oferecia para a criação de gado. Com o crescimento do povoado, os irmãos Inácio Bezerra de Melo e Francisco Antônio de Melo construíram uma capela de Nossa Senhora da Conceição, entre os anos de 1894 e 1896. Em 1922, São Tomé tinha escola, serviços públicos e seu centro populacional já contava com três ruas e muitas casas, devidamente enfileiradas.

O município de São Tomé foi criado pela Lei Estadual n° 698, de 29 de outubro de 1928, desmembrado de Lages, Macaíba, Santa Cruz e Currais Novos.

Como se deu o nome “São Tomé”

Diz uma das versões sobre o topônimo São Tomé, dado ao nosso Município, não se deve a homenagens ao apóstolo TOMÉ, mas a partir de um gesto de solidariedade.

Segundo essa versão, um viajante teria chegado à casa de um morador da Região, faminto e muito cansado. O dono da casa, mesmo só tendo um pouco de mel de abelha em uma garrafa, não hesitou em dividi-lo com o viajante. Aceitando aquela dádiva, o viajante fez dela uma “Garapa”e bebeu. Reconfortado, suspirou e disse “SANTO MÉ” donde o nome São Tomé.

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