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11907 HISTORY
James T. Applegate

APPLEGATE, James T. — As a prosperous mine operator, and President of the Applegate & Lewis Coal Company, James T. Applegate is rounding out a career of varied experience, resulting in a wide knowledge of business tactics and ethics, and ready adaptation to the general needs of twentieth century existence. Born on a farm near Rushville, Schuyler County, Ill., June 26, 1831, Mr. Applegate is a son of Richard P. Applegate, who was born in Simpsonville, near Louisville, Ky., in 1793, and grandson of Benjamin Applegate, who spent his entire life in Louisville. His mother, Tabitha (Hawley) Applegate, was born in Kentucky in 1799, and died in Illinois in December, 1871.

Emerging from a youth uneventfully passed on the old homestead, and in which work in the fields was interspersed with attendance at the district school, Mr. Applegate found himself a victim of the western fever, which unsettled half the wage-earners between the two oceans during the middle of the last century. Lured by the prospect of a quickly made fortune in the gold fields on the Pacific coast, he reached the Mecca of his dreams under circumstances that would have dismayed the most ambitious Argonauts. Leaving home in January, 1852, he left Panama the following March in a sailing vessel, the British bark "Emily" destined for eighty-four days upon the deep before reaching the port of Mansanillo, Mexico, where they stopped four days laying in supplies of food and water, as they were short of both. They then coasted up to San Blas, where they remained forty-seven days waiting an opportunity to secure passage on another vessel, as the "Emily" had been declared unseaworthy. Through the American Consul the passengers finally secured passage on the "Archibald Gracia," a sailing vessel, which was little better than the "Emily." On this vessel they were on the ocean forty-five days more before reaching San Francisco on September 11, 1852. During this time thirty-nine of two hundred and fifty passengers died from various causes, and for the greater part of the voyage half-rations of food and a pint of water constituted the daily allowance. After reaching his destination Mr. Applegate engaged in mining in different parts of California, continuing his residence in the West until returning to Illinois in the fall of 1867.

From a comparatively small beginning Mr. Applegate engaged in the stock-business for many years in Illinois, and in 1881 accompanied Dr. Westfall to Europe, repeating the trip the following year, and on both occasions brought back with him high grade horses. He has dealt extensively in horses, cattle, hogs and grain, and has bought and sold town and country properties, at present owning two thousand acres of land in Kansas and Nebraska. At Moline, Ill., in 1895, in company with Mr. Keefer, he purchased 160 acres of coal lands, which since have been operated with gratifying success. Dr. Lewis bought Mr. Keefer's interest in 1897 and The Applegate & Lewis Coal Company was organized with Mr. Applegate as President, Mrs. Applegate as Vice-President, and Dr. Robert E. Lewis as Secretary. Dr. Lewis formerly was a general practitioner in Macomb for fourteen years, and gave up a business of $4,000 to $5,000 a year to look after the growing interests of the coal company. The firm owns mines at Cuba and Hanna City, Ill., employs about two hundred and twenty-five men, and has a mining capacity of 1,500 tons of coal a day. Formerly Mr. Applegate had an interest in the sewer-pipe concern now operating under the name of Dickey & Company, of Kansas City, and which have several concerns engaged in the manufacture of sewer-pipe in different parts of the country. The plant at Macomb, Ill., in which Mr. Applegate was interested, burned in 1896 with a loss of $40,000 above the insurance and was almost immediately rebuilt.

Politically, Mr. Applegate is a Republican, and fraternally is connected with the Macomb Lodge No. 17, A. F. & A. M. December 24, 1864, he married Lucinda Murry, a native of Schuyler County, Ill., and a graduate of the Rushville high school. Mrs. Applegate is a daughter of Allen and Sarah (Marvin) Murry, natives of New York and Vermont, respectively. To Mr. and Mrs. Applegate have been born two children, of whom Fannie died at the age of two years, and Addie L. is the wife of Dr. Robert E. Lewis, of Macomb. Mr. Applegate is a man of strong and forceful character, and throughout an extended and busy career has evinced the most important and fundamental requisites of success.


Source: The Historical Encyclopedia of Illinois and History of McDonough County, compiled by Dr. Newton Bateman, and Paul Shelby, 1907, volume 2, pages 814-815. Extracted 11 Oct 2018 by Norma Hass.