Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Working on Wednesday: Jesse Sill (1782 - 1857), Investor in Railroad Stock

Although my maternal fourth great grandfather Jesse Sill* was a farmer for most of his life, it's apparent from his July 1857 will, written a few months before his death, that he also owned shares of stock in the Pittsburgh & Connellsville Railroad because he left five shares each to two of his sons, William and John.

We have no idea how much Jesse paid for his shares, when he bought them, or what his heirs did with them. At the time of his death the U.S. was experiencing the worst financial panic it had ever experienced. Banks failed, stocks plummeted and work on the railroad stopped for a time. The line wasn't completed until 1871 after overcoming opposition and funding problems over the decades.

[Source: George H LeBarre Galleries, Inc.]

The image above is of a bond for that railroad, not a stock certificate. The sailor holding an anchor on a dock with a ship on the horizon refers to the connection to the Atlantic that the Pittsburgh & Connellsville Railroad was expected to give to the coal deposits being mined in Western Pennsylvania. Its route is now part of the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad.

*My connection to Jesse is through his daughter Jane who married Isaac Webb. In his will he left bequests to her three children, including my great great grandfather Abner, who was living in Iowa with his bride Mercy Darling by that time.

© 2014 Copyright, Christine Manczuk, All Rights Reserved.

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