Source: Clarkson W. Weesner, History of Wabash County Indiana (1914), Vol. II, pp. 545-546.
JAMES H. STIGGLEMAN. The late James H. Stiggleman, whose death took place at Wabash on July 21, 1911, occupied a more than usually important place in the growth and development of the community. Born in Henry county, Indiana, on April 16, 1858, he was one of three children born to Williamson and Sarah (Dean) Stiggleman, both of whom were also natives of Indiana. Of their children but one daughter is now living
The Stiggleman family originally came from Germany, and later members of the family came to Indiana during its early history and settled in or about Richmond, in Wayne county. James H. Stiggleman was brought by his parents to Wabash county when he was a small boy, and he was reared on a farm in Liberty township. As a boy he helped in the work of the home far, and the death of his father in his early boyhood left the burden of the responsibility of the place upon him while he was still very young in years. His education was a fairly good one, and his district schooling was followed by a period of attendance in the graded schools of Wabash, and that with a normal school course in Richmond. Following this he successfully passed the examinations for a teacher, was granted a certificate, and for six years taught in the schools of Wabash county, during one year being superintendent of the graded schools at Lincolnsville.
A natural inclination for mathematics prompted him to pursue a private course of study along those lines during the years when he was engaged in teaching. In 1891 he moved to Wabash, and there became superintendent of the Wabash Church and School Furniture Company, where he was thus employed until the corporation met with financial reversed and finally went into the hands of a receiver. During his service there Mr. Stiggleman invented a device for cutting circular pews, but he never patented it, and in similar manner he invented many improvements now in general use, which he contributed gratis to the factory of which he was the superintendent. Among his other inventions was a school desk hinge for the iron standard desk. This he patented, and he later produced another hinge, an improvement on the first, which is now being used at North Manchester and probably in other places. Mr. Stiggleman was a heavy stockholder and the vice president and manager of the Peabody-Stiggleman Company, manufacturers of school desks at North Manchester for several years, he having organized the company. He also invented a folding chair, which was in vogue for some years, and is still being produced in certain quarters. A sectional bookcase, bearing his name, was also added to the list of his inventions, and the same is now owned by a large manufacturing concern at Peru. He also invented two kitchen cabinets with sliding table tops, which are being widely manufactured. He organized the Cardinal Kitchen Cabinet Company of Wabash about a year before his death, becoming a director of the company, as well as the secretary and general manager. Prior to this time he had sold his interest in the North Manchester factory. While these are some of the principal inventions of Mr. Stiggleman, there were others of equal or greater importance which he was never able to produce owing to his untimely death.
Mr. Stiggleman was a republican in politics, and while keenly alive to the public issues of the day, he was always too deeply interested in his business affairs to enter into politics as an office-seeker or in any capacity. However, he served as a member of the Wabash school board for twelve years or thereabouts, and later served as a member of the first Carnegie library board. He was a Methodist in his religious tendencies, and in this as in other activities of life he was zealous and earnest. He was a man of social and genial habits, approachable in his manner, and he loved to mingle and exchange views with his fellow men. His fraternal association was with the Masonic order, in which he reached the Knight Templar degree.
On the 14th of April, 1885, Mr. Stiggleman married Miss Elsie M. White, the only daughter of Steele A. and Eliza J. (Waggoner) White, who were among the early settlers of Wabash county. The four children born to Mr. and Mrs. Stiggleman are Pearl L., Georgia G., James Walker and John Roger. Pearl Lenore Stiggleman, the eldest, was married on the 4th of October, 1911, to Leo Louis Baushke, of Benton Harbor, Michigan, and they now reside on a farm in Liberty township, Wabash county, Indiana, on the old White homestead of two hundred acres which is the property of Mrs. Stiggleman and her mother, Mrs. Steele White.
Mr. Stiggleman was such a man as may be regarded as a credit to his community. he was a representative of the highest type of American citizenship, and as one who was honest, earnest and thoroughly consistent in all his acts, he commanded the universal and unfailing respect of his fellows. He loved his home, and found his greatest pleasure in the family circle to the end of his days.