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Biography: John Crockard

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Wharfmaster, Proprietor of Crockard & Booth Steamboat Agents

July 15, 1847 - December 31, 1916

-from "HISTORY OF WHEELING and Ohio County, West Virginia and Representative Citizens." Edited & Compiled by Hon. Gibson Lamb Cranmer, 1902; p. 836, 839.

JOHN CROCKARD. One of the most competent authorities on shipping and general maritime concerns in West Virginia is John Crockard, of the firm of Crockard & Booth, general steamboat agents and wharfboat proprietors at Wheeling. Of sturdy Scotch ancestry, Mr. Crockard was born in Edinburgh, Scotland, July 15, 1847, his parents, Hugh and Mary (Hunter) Crockard, being also natives of Scotland.

Hugh Crockard was a teamster by occupation, and upon coming to America in 1848 located in Wheeling. This city continued to be his home until his death, January 20, 1895, at the age of eighty-four years. He was a man of exceptionally upright character, and whether as regards his association with his family, the church, or the community, his was invariably recognized as a helpful and progressive influence.

He was far removed in his life and calculations, from any insincerity or unworthiness. His wife, who still lives in Wheeling and has attained to four-score years, is the mother of eight children, five of whom are now living, namely: Hugh Jr., who has been with the Riverside Nail Works for thirty-five years; John, of the firm of Crockard & Booth; William, who has been a trusted employee of the Riverside Nail Works for thirty years, and is now foreman of their furnace in Steubenville, Ohio; Rebecca, who is living with her mother; and Mary, who is the wife of George Bidgood, an employee of the Riverside Nail Works.

After his father's removal to Wheeling, Mr. Crockard attended the public schools, and his first effort at an independent livelihood was as an employee of Booth, Battelle & Company, in which capacity he scarcely foretold his present position as successor to that once commercially strong and prosperous firm. While passing from the position of collector through the different stages of the wharf business, he witnessed the departure from their accustomed places of all the members of the firm, and in 1884, after the death of Capt. Charles H. Booth, he assumed control of the business in partnership with the son of the Captain. The firm of Crockard & Booth have charge of all wharf undertakings, and of the landing of the 18 steamers that make trips to Wheeling during the season of navigation. Nor are Mr. Crockard's activities confined to wharf interests, for he has availed himself of various opportunities for increasing his financial resources, being one of six who own and operate a mining mill at Joplin, Missouri. Another responsibility results from his position as vice-president of the Digby Mill & Mining Company.

On September 23, 1881, Mr. Crockard was united in marriage with Mary Gardner, daughter of John Gardner and his wife, Elizabeth. Mr. Gardner died in 1884; Mrs. Gardner at present resides in Wheeling. To Mr. and Mrs. Crockard have been born four children, viz: Estella M.; Bessie E.; Cecil H.; and William M.L. The children are all at home.

Socially and commercially, Mr. Crockard is highly regarded in the city which has so materially profited by his admirable citizenship. He is member and trustee of the United Presbyterian Church, and fraternally, is associated with the Ancient Order of United Workmen and the Empire Knights of Relief. Politically, he adheres to the principles of the Democratic Party.

-from "History of the Upper Ohio Valley, with Family History and Biographical Sketches." Edited & Compiled by Hon. Gibson Lamb Cranmer, 1890; p. 258.

John Crockard, wharf-master of Wheeling and steamboat agent, was born at Edinburgh, Scotland, July 15, 1847. He is the son of Hugh Crockard, Sr., a native of Ireland, and his wife, Mary A. Hunter, who, after their marriage, removed to Edinburgh. The parents and their children came to the United States in 1848, and made their home at Wheeling, where they have ever since resided. John Crockard, coming to Wheeling in infancy, was reared and educated in the city, and at an early age was ready to assume a business position. An opening presenting itself, he became receiving and discharging clerk on the wharf-boat, and from that time to this he has been connected with that work. Since the death of Capt. C. H. Booth, Mr. Crockard has been the representative agent of all the different lines of steamboats plying the upper Ohio river, and also has charge of the Frank Booth wharf-boat, where he has the office of wharf-master of the city. To the latter position he was appointed in 1884 to fill the unexpired term of Joseph Forsyth, deceased, and he was elected to the office in 1886 by popular vote, and re-elected in 1889, for a further term of two years. Mr. Crockard is a member of the Knights of Honor; socially he is highly regarded. In 1881 he was married to Mary Gardner, of Wheeling, and they have two daughters.

John Crockard died of "Broncho Pneumonia" on December 31, 1916. He had been attended to by Dr. Frank Hupp from December 22, 1916, until his death. He is buried in Greenwood Cemetery.

Additional Resources

West Virginia Division of Culture and History Vital Research Records (
▶ Death certificate: December 31, 1916

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