|Source: NMHS Newsletter Nov 1997
From Biographical Memoirs of Wabash County,
James B. Peabody
James B. Peabody, of the firm of Peabody Brothers
Company, is a native of Indiana, and was born at Arcola,
Allen County, October 25, 1859, where he passed his
boyhood years. His father, John L. Peabody, conducted
the Pioneer Sawmill at Arcola and turned out lumber used
in the construction of the Pittsburg, Ft. Wayne &
Chicago, now the Pennsylvania Railroad, the first road
built into Chicago.
The subject of our sketch, together with his brother, S.
J. Peabody, now of Columbia City, Ind. have been
continuously in the sawmill business from that time to
the present, and for some years in partnership at
Columbia City, but in 1881 James B. withdrew and
purchased a mill at Peabody, Ind. on the Nickel Plate
Railroad in Whitley county, which he operated for
several years still maintaining his residence at
Columbia City. During this time he purchased a tract of
timber of four hundred acres at a cost of $40,000, which
was a record-breaking price for timber land at that
time, but it proved a very profitable investment. In
1893, about one month prior to the great financial panic
of that year, Mr. Peabody sold out at Peabody, and in
the fall of the same year removed to Fostoria Ohio,
where, in company with E. W and W.O Allen, he engaged in
the manufacture of buggies, the company being
incorporated as The Peabody Buggy Company, under which
name it is still running. Two years later, or in the
fall of 1895, Mr. Peabody disposed of his interest in
the business at Fostoria, and with his family went to
the Pacific coast where they spent four years in travel,
covering the entire coast as well as the interior of
Colorado and Utah.
In July, 1890 he entered the sawmill business by
purchasing, together with his brother, the timber on
about five hundred acres, known as the "Woods Land,"
lying in Wabash and Grant counties, near Lafontaine, for
which they paid $50,000 A company, known as the Peabody
Bros. Company, was incorporated, with a capital stock of
$20,000, the company being composed of S. J. Peabody, J.
B. Peabody and Joseph W. Brockie. A large band-mill was
immediately built at Lafontaine on the Big Four Railroad
where this timber, as well as large quantities purchased
since, is being sawed for the domestic and foreign
In April, 1901, the plant of the Hardwood Lumber Company
of Wabash, was purchased, and the principal office moved
from Lafontaine. This plant and office is under the
immediate management of Mr. Peabody, while Mr. Brockie
remains in charge at Lafontaine. The company does an
annual business of $100,000 and gives employment to
about one hundred men.
J.B. Peabody is a Republican in politics and fraternally
is a Knight Templar, having attained to the ineffable
thirty-second degree in the Masonic Order, and is a
member of Murat Temple, Nobles of the Mystic Shrine, of
Indianapolis. Mr. Peabody was felicitously married when
twenty-one years old to Miss Estella B. Prickett, at
Columbia City. To them one son has been born, Thomas A.
who now has charge of the office work at Wabash, and who
expects soon to assume some of the more important duties
of the business.
The indomitable courage and persevering energy of James
B. Peabody places him among the leading business men of
Wabash county and the state of Indiana, and his social
standing, as well as that of his wife and son, is
pre-eminent wherever the name of Peabody is known.