Biography of John H. Wigman
Cuyahoga County, OH Biographies

JOHN HENRY WIGMAN, who was a resident of Cleveland from the time of his birth, nearly eighty years ago, had a long record of business activity to his credit. For many years he was a locomotive engineer, later a manufacturer, and had been retired for thirty four years. His demise occurred on May 9, 1924.

He was born in Cleveland, July 8, 1845. His father, John B. Wigman, a native of Germany, where he acquired a common school education, left home at the age of fourteen and came to America. He arrived in this country about 1830, and soon located in Cleveland, which was a small city without railroads and with connection with the outside world only by boat on the Great Lakes and the highways that extended back to the country. Soon afterward he made a trip to New Orleans by stage coach and the Mississippi River. On returning to Cleveland he became an apprentice bricklayer, and from work at his trade developed a business as a building contractor. He was the contractor who erected the first brick warehouse on the river, and he was the contractor for the Academy of Music and the Cathedral at the corner of Ninth and Superior streets, and many business blocks. He continued a builder during his active life, and died on the eighty fifth anniversary of his birth. He married Katherine Hackman, who was also born in Germany, daughter of Joseph Hackman. She died at the age of eighty three years, leaving two children, John Henry and Catherine.

John Henry Wigman received his education in the Eagle Street School in Cleveland, and as a youth worked with his father during the summer, while in the winter seasons he was a brakeman on the Lake Shore Railroad. Later he became a locomotive engineer, serving with the Atlantic and Great Western, now the Erie Railroad, and for six years was with the Wabash. He resigned from the railroad service to engage in business as a lime manufacturer on the site of the Harvey Mill, which was his business headquarters for eighteen years. He continued the manufacture of lime on Marblehead and Kelley Islands, finally selling.

Mr. Wigan was a veteran of the Civil war. He received his first military training as a member of the famous Cleveland Grays. In 1864 he enlisted in Company A, of the One Hundred and Fiftieth Ohio Infantry, and was on duty at Washington until after the close of the war. He was a member of the Army and Navy Post of the Grand Army of the Republic, belonged to the Tippecanoe Republican Club and was an honorary member of the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers. Mrs. Wigman is a member of the Cleveland Sorosis Club.

In 1882 Mr. Wigan married Miss Martha Clements, who was born in Cleveland. Her father, James Clements, was born in the north of Ireland, son of a British soldier who lost his life in battle. The mother of James Clements had married at the age of seventeen, and came to America, accompanied by four children, settling in the then village of Youngstown, Ohio, which contained only two stores. She lived in Ohio the rest of her life and died at Youngstown at the venerable age of 103 years. She was survived by several children, thirty six grandchildren and forty great grandchildren. She had been a member of the Presbyterian Church for eighty years. Her children were James, Joseph, Mary and Margaret. Mary married James McKnall, and Margaret married a Mr. McDonald. James Clements, father of Mrs. Wigman, was reared, educated and married in Ireland, and about 1845 came to America, accompanied by his wife and infant daughter. He located in Cleveland, where he engaged in business as a building contractor, and so continued until his death, at the age of eighty six. James Clements married Jane Latimer. The marriage was performed against the strenuous objections of her parents, who, however, later became reconciled. She was of pure Scotch ancestry and a niece of Lord Latimer, a member of the House of Lords in the English Parliament. Her father, Robert Latimer, followed her to America accompanied by his wife and nine of their eleven children, settling in Cleveland, where he died six months after his arrival, and was buried in Erie Street Cemetery. Many of his descendants still live, and are people of note and prominence. The mother of Mrs. Wiaman died at the age of seventy five, having reared five children, named Mary, Robert J., Martha, William L. and David. Mr. and Mrs. Wigman had one daughter, Martha Mabel.

A History of Cuyahoga County
and the City of Cleveland
By: William R. Coates
The American Historical Society
Chicago and New York, 1924

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