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Old Chester, PA: Biographical Sketches
James Mark Willcox
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.
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.
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.
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.
This page last updated 10/17/05