Peabody Singing Tower

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Source: NMHS Newsletter Nov 1997
From Biographical Memoirs of Wabash County, 1901

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 markets.

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.