Columns of Will Ball
Two weeks ago, we mentioned an item
appearing in the 50 year column concerning James S. Wilson, whose death fifty
years earlier was recalled. The item
stated Mr. Wilson had been employed in an official capacity with the Chesapeake
and Ohio Railroad in Richmond, Virginia.
His son-in-law, George W. Stevens, was, for a considerable length of
time, president of that railroad, and had probably given the old gentleman a
white collar job for his old age. It is
probable that Mr. Wilson insisted on keeping busy. He was that type of man.
He had only a few years of schooling,
having left school at the age of 12 to clerk in a drug store in his native town
of Elizabethtown in western Pennsylvania near Pittsburgh. He put in about three years at that
occupation, then decided he wanted to be a doctor but gave up that ambition a
short time later, deciding instead to be a canal man. He wisely chose a job on a packet instead of
a freighter. We say wisely because the
work must have been easier as there was little or no heavy freight to handle at
the many ports and the boats moved much faster.
He finally reached Davenport where he
made his headquarters as a master of a boat which traveled mainly between
Logansport and Toledo. After five years
of this he left the canal and in 1850 took a job as a clerk for Wm. Beach and
Company in the Forest Mills, then standing on the bank of the Eel River.
Mr. Wilson lived for many years in the
brick house at 212 Broadway. This house
was practically erected by Jacob J. Peterbaugh, father of Henry Peterbaugh, who
passed away a few weeks ago. Mr.
Peterbaugh had not progressed very far in the construction of the house when he
failed in business and the place was taken over by Wilson, who finished it and
made it his home for many years.
He had two daughters, Virginia, who
married George Stevens, and Indiana, who married Robert Connolly, a tall, red
haired grocer who developed tuberculosis.
His wife divorced him just a few months before his death and married John
Maurice, a prosperous butcher whose wife had also divorced him not long before.
Mrs. Connolly had one son, Wilson, who
lived in Logansport in his teens, taking employment, we believe, with one of
the southern railroads; if not with the C. & O., probably with one on which
George Stevens had some influence. We
were told some years ago that he passed away some time before.
The Connollys lived at 710 High Street.
Edmund Bucher took over the operation of
Forest Mill after Mr. Wilson retired, under lease from the city, which had
bought the property from Cecil and Wilson in 1875, at the time they installed
the water works.
The Buchers were fine people. They had two sons, both of whom have since
done well as adults. One, we believe, is
a doctor. Mrs. Bucher later married John
Eckert, father of Mrs. Claude Wickard and Mrs. Earl Justice.
Logansport Press, June 16, 1951
Transcribed by Christine Spencer, April,
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