Col John Lafayette Merriam

Col John Lafayette Merriam

Birth
Lewis, Essex County, New York, USA
Death 12 Jan 1895 (aged 69)
Saint Paul, Ramsey County, Minnesota, USA
Burial Saint Paul, Ramsey County, Minnesota, USA
Memorial ID 53280789 · View Source
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John L. Merriam.
ST. PAUL, Minn., Jan. 12.—Special Telegram.—John L. Merriam, one of St. Paul's earliest settlers, died shortly after 4 o'clock this afternoon at his home on Merriam Hill. Colonel Merriam was a life-long Republican, and one of Minnesota's leaders since 1860, when he came here from Essex County, New York, having been born there in 1825. Colonel Merriam was connected with many of Minnesota's largest enterprises. He was president of the Minnesota Stage Coach Company before the days of railroads, and was president of the construction company that built the Northern Pacific Railway from Duluth to Moorhead. He was elected to the lower house of the Legislature in 1869 and 1871, and was on both occasions honored with the Speakership. William R. Merriam, who has twice been Governor of the State, is his son.
Source: The Daily Inter Ocean, Chicago, Illinois, 13 Jan 1895, Page 3

COL. MERRIAM DEAD.
His Soul Took Its Flight Homeward Late Yesterday Afternoon.
HIS FAMILY AT HIS COUCH.
He Passed Away Without Apparent Indication of Pain.
UNCONSCIOUS TO THE END.
Close of a Most Active and Eventful Business Life.
Col. John L. Merriam died yesterday afternoon at 4:20 o'clock.
His death had been regarded as only a question of hours throughout the day, and for several days past, in fact. When the moment of dissolution came, every member of his family was present at his bedside. Quietly, and without any apparent indication of pain, the life spark went out, and one more of the pioneer builders of a great commonwealth had ceased to be of the living.
Up to two weeks ago Col. Merriam seemed about as well as usual, going almost everyday for a drive, and at tending, on recent occasions, to matters in connection with his private estate. About that time, however, his strength appeared to fail, and he was soon forced to take to his bed. Even then his singular vitality offered great resistance, and until thirty-six hours preceding his death he continued entirely tranquil and in full possession of his mental faculties. He fell at last into a state of coma, in which he remained to the end.
Four or five years previous to his retirement from the railroad business Col. Merriam's health began to fail, and for the past twenty years he has not been a well man. At times his condition would show a marked improvement, to be followed later on by a relapse. Never, however, was any special organ particularly involved. The disease was rather a general and gradual disintegration of the vital forces, resulting from a too intense application to a complicated and important business. The colonel possessed a constitution of great vigor and tenacity, against which disease for many years combatted in vain.
Col. Merriam's death makes one more break in the line of
Strong, Aggressive Men
who gave freely of their energy and ability, not only to push large personal enterprises to success, but at the same time to lay a solid foundation for the upraising of a generous civic structure. As they planned their own lifework on a liberal scale, so they joined hand and heart most earnestly in the determination to make Minnesota a shining exemplar of the fullest fruition of American hope and American prosperity.
Scattered throughout Minnesota are men who years ago were employes of Col. Merriam when he was one of the active spirits of the old stage lines that practically blazed the way and laid the routes for the marvelous development that has come in our transportation interests.
At long distances, to be covered through most discouraging obstacles, Col. Merriam and his associates stopped not. Their vim and their faith acted as an inspiration to other pioneers, and along the old stage lines settlers began to make homes. Away to the border lines and beyond went the slow but sure stage coaches. In their going and coming the early settlers saw promise of communication with the centers of population that should grow better every year; and they proceeded to improve the newly-opened farms and establish homes which have raised some of the best men and women of the West.
Throughout a busy and highly successful career. Col. Merriam ever evinced the foresight and restless desire to push ahead that is a distinguished characteristic of the race of men from which he came.
The blood of a Revolutionary father was in his veins, and he had the mind to grasp as well as the spirit to execute projects that are always the corner stones of great commonwealths. He possessed in an eminent degree that characteristic of
The Masterful Pioneers.
that he could always separate himself from personal interest to lend a hand to public-spirited effort for the common good. And in his days of robust activity he was of that temperament and bearing that marks the leader who is safe for all who trust him. Self-reliant and ever looking forward, he took little heed of trivialities. On this account his success as a business man was marked, his counsel was sought and his advice heeded.
Never obtrusive, but of sturdy grain and sure in his judgment, John L. Merriam easily took rank with that group of men who are yearly being covered by the soil of the state they have loved and served in the years of their young manhood and in the closing days of their lives.
Generosity was one of the marked characteristics of Col. Merriam. This admirable trait, sufficiently uncommon with men of great wealth, was exhibited in many deeds of unostentatious benevolence; in liberality towards the poor and the dependent; in unfailing remembrance of his old-time friends; in genial and hearty courtesy towards all with whom he came in contact. During the many years of his active business career he continued the devoted friend of every employe, while no man in the history of the stale ever possessed more friends in every walk of life. To particularize in minute detail the various phases of his life work would do to unnecessarily extend this sketch, but a few of the main points will not be out of place here.
Life of Col. Merriam
Mr. Merriam was born in the town of Essex, in Essex county, N. Y., Feb. 6, 1825. On the paternal side his ancestors were among the early settlers of Massachusetts, and his grandfather was a soldier for the colonies in the War of the Revolution. His father, William S. Merriam, was an iron manufacturer of Essex county, and his mother, whose maiden name was Jane Ismon, was descended from a New Jersey family. His education, which was begun in the common schools, was completed at the academies of Westport and Essex in his native county. Early in life he engaged in manufacturing, which pursuit he followed for many years, or until he came to Minnesota. In 1857 he was elected treasurer of his native county, and served two years.
In October, 1860, Mr. Merriam removed to Minnesota. Locating in Minnesota, he associated himself with J. C. Burbank and Capt. Russell Blakely, in the firm of Burbank, Blakely & Merriam, proprietors of the Minnesota Stage company and of the Northwestern Express company. He also engaged in merchandising in St. Paul and St. Cloud. Mr. Merriam's connection with the important enterprises and the general material interests of the city of St. Paul and the state of Minnesota has been very conspicuous and influential. He was one of the incorporators of the First National Bank of St. Paul and of the Merchants' National; and of the latter he was president for several years. His connection with the railroad interests of the state has been very prominent. He was one of the incorporators of the old Minnesota Valley railroad, better known in late years as the St. Paul & Sioux City, and was vice president of the road. He was also vice president of the Worthington & Sioux Falls railroad ; a director of the Sioux City & St. Paul and of the St. Paul, Stillwater & Taylor's Falls, all of which roads were long since consolidated with the Chicago, St. Paul, Minneapolis & Omaha.
Mr. Merriam was president of the construction company which built the Northern Pacific road from the junction with St. Paul & Duluth to Moorhead. He was one of the early stockholders of the St. Paul Foundry and Manufacturing company, and for many years was connected with that organization engaged largely in the manufacture of heavy machinery, car wheels etc.
He retired from active business pursuits in 1875, having been more than ordinarily successful, and having by the character and magnitude of his operations materially added to the
Welfare of His City
and state, as well as to the advancement of his own private interests.
During the existence of the Whig party Mr. Merriam was one of its most zealous members, but since its disorganization and downfall he has been a Republican. In 1869 and again in 1870 he was elected in a Democratic district as one of the representatives from Ramsey county in the state legislature. Upon the organization of the house in January, 1870, he was elected speaker, and at the following session was re-elected. In 1878 he was a delegate to the Republican national convention that nominated Hayes and Wheeler. Though not an active politician, he manifested a lively interest in the success of his party up to the time of his illness. In times past he performed much valuable service for the party.
Mr. Merriam was twice married. His first marriage was in 1848, to Miss Mahala K. Delano, of Westport. N. Y.,
who died in February, 1857, leaving one son, who is now the Hon. W. R. Merriam, ex-governor of the state of Minnesota and president of the Merchants' National bank. In November, 1858, Mr. Merriam was married to Miss Helen M. Wilder, of Lewis, Essex county, N. Y., a sister of Amherst M. Wilder, recently deceased. To the latter union there were six children, four of whom are still living. They are Mrs. Jennie M. Howell, of this city; John W. Merriam, Robert H. and Alanson Wilder
Merriam, all of this city and well known. Mrs. R. D. Eggleston is a sister to Col. Merriam.
The funeral will be held Tuesday afternoon at 2 o'clock, from the family residence on Merriam hill.
Source: Saint Paul Daily Globe, Saint Paul, Minnesota, 13 Jan 1895, Page 1


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  • Created by: Barb Walker
  • Added: 5 Jun 2010
  • Find A Grave Memorial 53280789
  • Find A Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for Col John Lafayette Merriam (6 Feb 1825–12 Jan 1895), Find A Grave Memorial no. 53280789, citing Oakland Cemetery, Saint Paul, Ramsey County, Minnesota, USA ; Maintained by Barb Walker (contributor 47034601) .