Point in History: March 1913
By Kris Leonhardt
In the early part of 1854, as the SS City of Glasgow departed Liverpool and made its way across the Atlantic, it was hit by some of the worst weather of the season. As it navigated around fields of icebergs, the crew struggled to reserve the coal that supplied the typical 26-day trip.
In Philadelphia, the port awaited the arrival of the steamer, eager to greet the over 300 lives on board and the cargo it was transporting. As weeks passed, with no sight of the vessel in the harbor at the “City of Brotherly Love,” it became painfully clear.
Newspapers around the country enumerated the souls that had been lost on board. On the list was a man by the name of John S. Pipe, a recent English immigrant returning from a business trip. He had left his young American family in Rochester, New York months earlier with a promise to return as soon he possibly could.
At the age of six, John’s son and namesake had lost his father and role model. The young boy was soon whisked away to live with remaining family in Waupaca, Wisconsin.
While still in his teens, “Jack” learned to handle a four-horse team and began to drive stagecoach on a route serviced between Stevens Point and Gills Landing (Weyauwega Township in Waupaca County).
With the introduction of the railroad, the stagecoach business met its demise. The diligent young man then began a livery business in Stevens Point, tending to horses for visiting or unequipped owners.
For a short time, Pipe ran a livery business in Medford, before returning to Point to buy out the T.H. Hanna & Taylor Brothers north side livery business.
Pipe built up a successful business on the corner of Normal Avenue and Third Street. He later became a proprietor in the nearby Mansion House hostel.
As a businessman, Jack built a solid reputation in the community. Known for his honesty, integrity, and work ethics throughout the city, he became one of its favored citizens.
In March of 1913, now in his sixties, Pipe continued his strenuous work schedule at the livery.
Though suffering great stomach pains nearly an entire week prior, the industrious businessman continued his daily duties into late hours on a Sunday evening that March.
Now barely able to navigate through his chores, he returned to his home just blocks away. There, John Strickland Pipe passed away, leaving a wife, son, and a whole city to mourn his passing.
Note: It was later speculated that the SS Glasgow caught fire and sank, while not even halfway to their destination.
Kris Leonhardt may be reached at [email protected].