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Old Chester, PA: Biographical Sketches

James Mark Willcox


James Mark Willcox


(A biographical sketch taken from One Hundred Years, The Delaware County National Bank Chester, PA 1814-1914)

Years in parentheses are years of service as a Director of The Bank of Delaware County and/or The Delaware County National Bank

James Mark Willcox (1836-39), son of Mark and Anna Mary (Croffman) Willcox, was born at Ivy Mills, Concord, April 12, 1791. He was admitted to partnership with his father, Hon. Mark Willcox, and his elder brother, John Willcox, in conducting the noted Willcox paper works at Ivy Mills. Upon the death of his brother John, in 1826, the senior member of the firm, Judge Mark Willcox, then being in his eighty-third year, the entire management of the business devolved upon James M., who, in 1829, dismantled the old mills, excepting the venerable Ivy Mill, built in 1729, and erected one of double capacity, in which was manufactured hand-made bank-note paper those issued by The Bank of Delaware County were printed on this paper which found ready sale in the United States, South America, and even the governments of Greece and Italy using the output of the Willcox Mills in their paper currency issues. He was one of the Commissioners named in the Act of April 10, 1835, to receive subscriptions for the Delaware County Insurance Company.

In that year, he purchased the Sharpless Iron Works, on Chester creek, and erected the Glen Mills Paper Works, placing therein a large Fourdrinier paper machine, a notable event of that day. He was the originator of the project for the building of the Delaware County Branch Railroad via the Valley of Chester creek from West Chester to Chester, where it was designed to connect with the P., W. & B. Railroad.

In 1837, a bill was passed by the Legislature appropriating $20,000 for the purchase by the State of stock in the proposed road, but Governor Ritner vetoed the measure. In the spring of 1848, the manufacturers along Chester creek, at the solicitation of Mr. Willcox, raised sufficient money to have a survey made of the proposed route. In that year, the West Chester and Philadelphia Railroad Company was incorporated. James M. Willcox was the first subscriber to its stock; was solicited to accept the presidency of the company, but declined. He was one of the directors, and served as such until his death.

He was one of the incorporators of the Delaware County Mutual Insurance Company, and, in 1828, was one of the company which ran a stage line carrying the mails from Philadelphia to Baltimore, via the Black Horse and Chadd's Ford. About 1830, Mr. Willcox established in Philadelphia a paper and warehouse business. In 1846, he built the second mill at Glen Mills. On March 3, 1854, he retired from active business, leaving it to his sons, Frank, James, and Joseph. The next day, he died suddenly in Philadelphia, aged 62 years.

 

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2002 John A. Bullock III.

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This page last updated 10/17/05