James W. Wilson, Old Fort, North Carolina
Posted by: Groundspeak Premium Member PersonsMD
N 35° 37.737 W 082° 10.934
17S E 392948 N 3943438
Quick Description: This marker honors the contributions made to Western North Carolina by Civil Engineer, James W. Wilson.
Location: North Carolina, United States
Date Posted: 5/14/2011 12:47:24 PM
Waymark Code: WMBF8P
Published By: Groundspeak Premium Member NCDaywalker
Views: 2

Long Description:
The text of the plaque reads:
“To the memory of James W. Wilson 1832 – 1910 Who, as chief engineer and president of the Western North Carolina Railroad planned, surveyed and built this line across the Blue Ridge Mountains erected by the Southern Railway as a tribute to a master builder.”

He was a Civil Engineer from the University of North Carolina’s class of 1852, and an eminent Civil Engineer, President of the Western North Carolina Railroad Company, and then of the North Carolina Railroad Commission. He served as a Major for the Confederacy during the United States Civil War.

Wilson was a young civil engineer in 1866 as was selected to design a railroad from Salisbury to Old Fort, North Carolina. Wilson was not satisfied with the proposed route that had been outlined the previous year. Working with Major Bomah they walked the wooded area of Old Fort Mountain searching for an alternate route. Unsuccessful, Wilson designed a series of loops to make the ascending grades acceptable and safe for passenger traffic.

After a scandal involving the embezzlement of nearly $4 million in State backed bonds by the president of the railroad and the largest stockholder, construction was halted for a period of 7 years. Wilson was instrumental in reviving interest, and more importantly funding, for the completion of the railroad. In 1877 The State issued Wilson $880,000.00 and 500 prison convicts to finish the railroad line. Wilsons work was deemed an engineering miracle once completed.

He served as the superintendent and chief Engineer of the Knoxville, Cumberland Gap and Louisville Railroad. He also consulted with the Canadian Government on the construction of the Canadian Pacific Railway.

He was born in 1832 and departed this earth in 1910. He married Louise Irwin. Their daughter was Alice Matilda Wilson who married Dr. Herbert B. Battle on November 25, 1885.

Other Sources Used:
The Book: “History of the University of North Carolina, Volume 1” By: Kemp Plummer Battle
The Book: “Biographical history of North Carolina from colonial times …” Volume 6 By Samuel A'Court Ashe.
The Book: “A History of Railroading in Western North Carolina” By Cary Franklin Poole
Location: At the Old Fort Train Depot

Website with more information on either the memorial or the person(s) it is dedicated to: Not listed

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PersonsMD visited James W. Wilson, Old Fort, North Carolina 4/22/2011 PersonsMD visited it