James P. Wigal

by Edmund Starling, 1886


JAMES P. WIGAL was born on the twelfth day of August, 1831, in the County of Oldham, Kentucky, one half mile north of Pewee Valley. When at the age of five years, his father removed from Kentucky to a point thirty miles southwest of Indianapolis, Indiana, in Morgan County. He lived and worked with his father, who was engaged in the gunsmith trade, until he arrived at the age of twenty years. He then learned the art of daguerreotyping. He found at the end of two years that the profession of picture making was not as congenial to his taste as the handling of machinery, so he commenced working with engines, and soon became a proficient engineer and machinist. In 1857 he came to Henderson, and, for many years, was employed with Joseph Clore, in running the engine at his large saw mill. During the war he served eight months in the One Hundred and Seventeenth Indiana Regiment, most of the time in East Tennessee and Virginia, on what may be called galloping service. At the end of this term of service he returned to Henderson. There is no man, considering his educational advantages, who has contributed so much to the scientific world as has Mr. Wigal. On the eighth day of May, 1860, he was granted a patent for a saw dust feeder, an invention of his, which is now used in every saw mill of importance in the country. This machine catches the dust as it falls from the saw and carried it direct to the furnace, doing the work of a fireman. On the twentieth day of June, 1865, he was granted a patent for a "steam gauge," which, for simplicity and accuracy, has never been excelled. It is regarded as the best gauge now in use. Other inventions of his are well known and highly regarded for their material worth, particularly, among the number is an "animal trap," for which a patent was granted January 14th, 1868. On the fourteenth day of February, 1874, Mr. Wigal married Miss Rodman, of this city. In February, 1881, he was elected Superintendent of the Henderson Water Works, in charge of all the machinery, and has the gratification of knowing that under his administration every department is moving with an ease and certainty, entirely satisfactory to his employers.

The History of Henderson County, Kentucky by Starling 1887 page 789;

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