James Heigley


JAMES HEIGLEY, one of the old and trusted engineers on the Pennsylvania railroad, was born in Armstrong county in 1850, son of Emanuel and Mary (Kelly) Heigley.

Emanuel Heigley was born in Germany, but came to the United States when a boy, later marrying and locating in Armstrong county. He and his wife became the parents of six children: John, James, Ephraim, Ross, William and Sallie, all deceased except James and Sallie; the latter married Benjamin Riter, passenger conductor on the Pennsylvania railroad.

James Heigley attended the public schools of Armstrong county, and when twenty years old became a brakeman on the Pennsylvania railroad, being assigned to freight service. In 1880 he became an engineer, having passed through the position of freight conductor, which he held three years. At first Mr. Heigley was given charge of a freight engine, but was subsequently made passenger engineer, and has held that position for the last twenty-two years, being now one of the oldest and most reliable men in the service. He belongs to the Brotherhood of Engineers, No. 472, of Pittsburgh. He is. also a member of Blue Lodge, No. 244, F. & A. M.; Orient Chapter, No. 247, R. A. M.; and Oil City Commandry, No. 43, K. T. The Presbyterian Church has in him a faithful member.

In I874 Mr. Heigley was married to Levina Schaffer, daughter of Fred Schaffer, of Armstrong county, and three children were born of that marriage: Robert, Calvin (deceased), and James. Robert was educated in the public schools of Kittanning, and is now engineer of a passenger train on the Pennsylvania line. James, also educated in the Kittanning schools, is an engineer in the employ of the same company as his father and brother. Mrs. Heigley died in 1880. In I882 Mr. Heigley was married (second) to Jane Stroup, daughter of Daniel and Harriet Stroup, of Venango county, Pa., and six children have been born to them: Omar, also a graduate of the Kittanning schools, now an engineer on the Pennsylvania line; as is Hugh, who is on a freight engine; Manual, an electrical engineer at Ford City; Ruth, who died at the age of three years; Fred, a student at the Kittanning schools; and Alonzo.

The history of the Heigley family is a remarkable one, as all the sons old enough have followed in their father's footsteps. These faithful men have all escaped serious accidents because of their sober habits and cool judgment. Few travelers appreciate how much depends upon the engineer, but one who did was the late Benjamin Harrison, ex-president of the United States. One of the practices of his life was to seek out the engineer at the end of each journey, shake hands with him, and present him the flowers in his buttonhole as a mark of appreciation of the faithful service just terminated.

Source: Page 758, Armstrong County, Pa., Her People, Past and Present, J.H. Beers & Co., 1914
Transcribed February 1999 by Doris Rizza for the Armstrong County Beers Project
Contributed for use by the Armstrong County Genealogy Project (http://www.pa-roots.com/armstrong/)

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