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Nicholas J. Bigley
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Birth: Feb. 18, 1821
Departement du Bas-Rhin
Alsace, France
Death: Jul. 10, 1890
McKeesport
Allegheny County
Pennsylvania, USA

The Alsace-Lorraine region of present-day France has "belonged" to both France and Germany in the past. (Today, the region is called "Bas Rhin" [Lower Rhine] in France.)
It originally was part of the Holy Roman Empire, but gradually became part of France from 1552 to 1798, by way of conquest and diplomatic compromises.

After the Franco-Prussian War, it was annexed by the newly-created German Empire in 1871. It remained in German control until after WW I.

In 1919, the territory was returned to France by the Treaty of Versailles (another "diplomatic/political" solution).

In 1940, the territory was once again annexed by Nazi Germany, but reverted to France after WW II in 1945. It has remained French territory ever since.

Pittsburg Dispatch, July 9, 1890:

AN OLD TIME COAL OPERATOR
Sustains Probably Fatal Injuries Between Pittsburg and Alpsville.

[SPECIAL TELEGRAM TO THE DISPATCH.]
McKEESPORT, July 8 - Captain N. J. Bigley, the coal operator, who lost an arm while going from Pittsburg to Alpsville yesterday, cannot live through the night. He is sinking rapidly, and his family has been sent for. He is at the Hotel White, where the operation was performed. Immediately after the operation, he seemed to recover, and said he was going home to-day. He became very weak this morning, and this evening began to sink rapidly from the relapse.
He is 70 years of age, and is one of the old-time coal operators, who at one time was worth nearly a million dollars. One of his boys, 'Squire Bigley, was recently killed by the cars at Alpsville. His wife and children and the Rev. Father Donovan, of St. Peter's Church, are at his bedside to-night.

Pittsburg Dispatch, July 11, 1890:

A NOTABLE MAN GONE.

Death of Captain Nicholas J. Bigley - His Eventful Business Career - A Pioneer of the Pittsburg Coal Trade - Sacrificing a Fortune for Honor's Sake.


The death of Captain Nicholas J. Bigley, which occurred at McKeesport yesterday morning at 8:40 o'clock, closes the eventful career of one of the county's most prominent representative men. His death was attributable to injuries resulting from a railroad accident last Monday evening that crushed one arm completely and inflicted other serious injuries. The accident occurred near McKeesport, and Captain Bigley was taken to the Hotel White at that place, where he received the best medical attention and nursing. The crushed arm was amputated, but the reaction was too great, and Captain Bigley did not survive it, but died, surrounded by his family, which consists of a wife, three sons and a daughter. The funeral will take place Sunday afternoon at the late residence, Coultersville, of the deceased.
The business career of Captain Bigley has been a remarkable one, and in it he identified himself with the founding and development of Pittsburg's coal trade and the shipment of coal by water. He was nearly 70 years of age, was born in Alsace and came to this country when 14 years old, and was apprenticed to Captain Joseph Vandergrift as a blacksmith. He displayed marked business ability during his apprenticeship and became greatly interested in the future of coal.
Captain Bigley's marriage with Captain Vandergrift's eldest daughter was the starting point of his long and successful business life. Aided by the pronounced business tact of his mother-in-law, he became an operator and shipper of coal, enlarging the type of vessels for carrying coal and introducing steamboats to facilitate trade, and was one of the first to return empty craft to be reloaded at the mines. He afterward became manager of the Alps Coal Company and then became owner of the property and the Hays works at Beck's Run. His enterprises were all successful up to that time with the exception of one with the Government just before the war, wherein an entire fleet of boats were captured by the rebels and Captain Bigley lost thereby the sum of $80,000 or $90,000, which the Government recompensed him for to the extent of $20,000 about two years ago. At the close of the war he was reputed to be a millionaire, and built the town of Alpsville, where for some time he occupied a handsome residence, and where he built and presented to the Catholic diocese a beautiful little sanctuary.
A few years previous to the panic, Captain Bigley purchased 17,000 acres of coal land in West Virginia and obtained $50,000 from the citizens at that point for the erection of a blast furnace plant. The crash came, and Mr. Bigley gave up his entire fortune rather than take advantage of the bankrupt laws. Capitalists, however, with unlimited confidence in him supplied him with all the necessary money to enable him to commence operations again, and through Mr. Thaw's aid he secured a valuable property at Amyville, which he has since operated. Two years ago he admitted to partnership Edward Murphy, and the firm has since been known as Bigley & Murphy. 
 
Family links: 
 Parents:
  Henry Bigley (1790 - 1888)
  Catherine Bigley (1799 - 1872)
 
 Spouse:
  Susannah Vandergrift Bigley (1826 - 1891)
 
 Children:
  Sallie A. Bigley McMeal (1848 - 1875)*
  Susan Bigley McCormick (1850 - 1902)*
  Joseph H. Bigley (1850 - 1890)*
  Anna Katherine Bigley Grace (1852 - 1939)*
  George C. Bigley (1856 - 1921)*
  Nicholas J Bigley (1862 - 1916)*
 
 Siblings:
  Nicholas J. Bigley (1821 - 1890)
  Margaret Bigley (1825 - 1890)*
  Peter G Bigley (1838 - 1918)*
  Elizabeth Bigley Beck (1841 - 1903)*
  Andrew J Bigley (1845 - 1923)*
 
*Calculated relationship
 
Burial:
Bigley Family Cemetery
Coulter (Allegheny County)
Allegheny County
Pennsylvania, USA
 
Maintained by: Mike Bigley
Originally Created by: Mary Ann
Record added: Aug 04, 2012
Find A Grave Memorial# 94815020
Nicholas J. Bigley
Added by: Odielion
 
Nicholas J. Bigley
Added by: Mary Ann
 
Nicholas J. Bigley
Added by: Mary Ann
 
 
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