EDWARD DEACON, BRIDGEPORT: Secretary Consolidated Rolling Stock Company.
Edward Deacon was born in England in 1840, descended from an old Bedfordshire family of that name. He completed
his education at Liverpool College; Very Reverend Dean Howson (now Bishop of Chester), Principal. Shortly afterwards
he came to this country with other older members of the family, who settled in Howard county, Iowa. Leaving the
farm he entered mercantile life in 1864, in the service of Captain "Diamond Jo" Reynolds of Mississippi
steamboat fame, in his then immense grain and pork business at McGregor, Iowa, and soon proved himself so capable
that large financial interests Were entrusted to his care. Subsequently he assisted in the construction of the
Milwaukee & St. Paul Railroad in 1866-7, being paymaster for the contractors, Judge Greene of Iowa, Alexander
Mitchell of Milwaukee, and Russell Sage of New York. In this capacity it became his duty to purchase and pay for
large supplies for the army of men and horses, which was strung along the unbroken prairie, at that time almost
entirely unsettled and unkn wn With one attendant and well armed, he would drive over the prairies from section
to section between Austin, Minn., and Ossian, Iowa, carrying forty to fifty thousand dollars, paying the men by
day upon the estimates of the engineers, and sleeping at night in the tents and shanties of the workmen with his
cash box under his head.
In 1868 he started for himself in the wholesale agricultural implement business, with headquarters at McGregor,
Iowa, and established agencies for the sale of threshers and reapers in nearly every county of southern Minnesota,
northern Iowa, and western Wisconsin. In this he was fairly successful, but the hard times in the West antecedent
to the panic of 1873 compelled him to close up his business and remove to Detroit, Mich where he married and accepted
a position in the First National Bank of that city. A few years later he engaged with the great seed house of D.
M. Ferry & Co., in which he became a stockholder, and remained with them several years.
Having had some previous knowledge of the rolling stock business, upon the organization of the Consolidated Rolling
Stock Company of Bridgeport Mr. Deacon was tendered the office of secretary of the company, which he accepted and
removed with his family to that city in 1886. This company, whose capital stock is $4,000,000 (four millions),
owns many thousand freight cars, and maintains three shops, located in the west, for the building and repair of
its rolling stock. These shops are under the management of Mr. Deacon, who acts as purchasing agent and superintendent
for the company. Mr. Deacon is a director of the Detroit Rolling Stock and other similar companies. He married,
in Detroit, Miss Eliza Stoddard, daughter of Rodman Stoddard of Connecticut, the fifth in descent from Rev. Solomon
Stoddard, the first librarian of Harvard College, who was grandfather of the celebrated Jonathan Edwards, and was
also the ancestor of Aaron Burr and General W. T. Sherman. The result of this union is a son and daughter, who
are both living.
Mr. Deacon has neither sought nor held public office, his tastes rather inclining to a literary turn. He is the
possessor of a fairly well filled library, and enjoys the privileges which membership in the Fairfield County Historical
Society and the Bridgeport Scientific Society brings to him He is a member of the Presbyterian church and a republican.
Illustrated Popular Biography
Compiled and Published by J. A. Spalding
Press of the Case, Lockwood & Brainard Co.
Hartford, Conn. 1891
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