Tom was very aware of the outside world. The local paper, the Settle Chronicle covered news stories from around the world. In 1855, The Chronicle reported on the latest events from the Crimean War. In 1885, Tom wrote a moving tribute to a General who was killed at Khartoum and became a Victorian military hero. His poem, "General Gordon", was not written in dialect and demonstrates Tom's poetic skills very well, full of religious analogies.