Dr William Taussig

Czech Republic
Death 10 Jul 1913 (aged 87)
St. Louis City, Missouri, USA
Burial Saint Louis, St. Louis City, Missouri, USA
Memorial ID 123953854 · View Source
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William Taussig joined James B. Eads in the project of constructing the first railroad bridge across the Mississippi River, at St. Louis. He was chairman of the Illinois & St. Louis Bridge & Tunnel Company and managed all business aspects, including the construction of the bridge, railway tunnel & the establishment of the Terminal Railroad Association. The city celebrated its opening in the grandest of style during much of July, 1874.

Taussig was born in Prague, Bohemia (now Czech Republic). He completed the classical course of study at the University of Prague, 1844 then emigrated to the United States. By 1848 he was in St. Louis, a chemist with the drug house of Charless, Blow & Co. & studying for degree in medicine from St. Louis School of Medicine, earned in 1850.

He was the son of John L. Taussig & Charlotte Bondi Taussig who emigrated shortly after he did, coming with various family members in 1848. William married Adele Wuerpel in St. Louis, 3 May 1857.

Dr. Taussig moved to suburban Carondolet in 1851 where he conducted an extensive medical practice until 1864. Received
as a member of the St. Louis County Court in 1859, his responsibilities came to be enormous as the Civil War came to the border state of Missouri. The county court had almost
absolute control of the financial & administrative affairs of St. Louis County.

Guerilla activity was heavy around Fulton, Missouri home of the state Insane Asylum. Most patients had been taken home by family but there were 71 non-paying patients from St. Louis that needed to be removed so the asylum could close. Taussig was employed by the Court to find suitable situations for them in St. Louis. The mission began 16 Oct 1861.

He made arrangements with the Pacific Railroad for transport & took patients by stage to the Missouri river town of St. Aubert only to find the government had removed the ferry. There was no choice but to connect with the North Missouri Railroad, 40 miles north in Mexico. In all it was a 3 day overland ride. He wrote, "The unfortunate beings who have found home & shelter within the asylum walls are cast upon the mercies and charities of a cold world... they are let loose without guide or protection." This kind and gentle man who conducted a rescue "tedious in the extreme" had difficulties of every sort finding security for his charges in St. Louis. Finally St. Vincent's Institution for the Insane agreed to relieve him of his charges.

Taussig became presiding justice of the County Court in 1863 & held the position until his resignation in 1865. St. Louis was a highly strategic locale. Thousands of guerillas & disloyal citizens of Missouri, a border state, were tried and processed there. The Missouri & Mississippi were under heavy patrol lest rebels gain access to the interior of the country, its arsenal was huge. The prison, across the river at Alton, was always full, always passing prisoners to more secure prisons. Taussig was to cooperate & assist in every way while running the county government. War ended April 9, 1865.

Construction of Eads bridge in 1867. This undertaking was amazing in that the devastating war had just ended. Granite was mined & transported; specifications met for steel of every imaginable form of fabrication. The right of way for the huge tunnel was secured through downtown St. Louis. This was all overseen by Dr. William Taussig. Upon the completion of the bridge, he was appointed general manager of the St. Louis Bridge Company, the Tunnel Railroad Company, the Union Railway & Transit Company and the Union Depot Company which in 1889 came under the umbrella of the Terminal Railroad Association of St. Louis.

Later, Taussig took great delight in overseeing the creation of the somewhat fanciful Union Station building which opened 1 Sept 1894. He was 68, and would live 19 years in the city he dearly loved.

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  • Created by: Anna Jaech
  • Added: 22 Jan 2014
  • Find A Grave Memorial 123953854
  • Find A Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for Dr William Taussig (28 Feb 1826–10 Jul 1913), Find A Grave Memorial no. 123953854, citing Hillcrest Abbey Crematory and Mausoleum, Saint Louis, St. Louis City, Missouri, USA ; Maintained by Anna Jaech (contributor 47861515) .