1) >>> He was born 10 Aug. 1861 At face value this would seem to rule out the Thomas, son of Jonah, who was born in Worcestershire about 1859 and moved up to Barrow. I wouldn't, however, dismiss him altogether yet. The marriage entry records a 10-year age-gap between Thomas and his second wife Emma. It's quite possible that Thomas wasn't totally truthful about his age. He might actually have been even older, but shaved a couple of years off when he first met Emma, thinking that 12 years might be too off-putting! He then had to stick with that! I still think the 'Jonah' and 'metal-foundry-working' links seem a bit too strong to be entirely co-incidental.
2) Thomas's first wife died in Feb 1892. I think you need to look for this death in the States, as I don't think she died in England. As the name Phelps isn't common I've done an exercise to try and find a female death in England in 1892 that might possibly be Thomas's wife. I've correlated the death data from both FindMyPast and FREEBMD. Surprisingly, although there are 21 female PHELPS/PHILPS deaths in the March and June quarters, most are for elderly women and a couple for children. There is only one death with an age in the range 15-39: PHELPS, Hannah. Epsom, Surrey. March qtr 1892, age 26. You should check this one out, but with a quick search I couldn't find her on the 1871-1891 censuses, though there is a small PHELPS family in the Epsom area. Nor could I find a Hannah marrying into the Phelps family after the 1891 census. So nothing conclusive there.
3) It would be most useful if you could find the immigration entries for Thomas and his first wife. Tney may or may not have travelled together.