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James Polk McCuen
READ back the pages of history until you are lost in the hieroglyphs and obscurity of the dim past; walk back
through the dark corridors of time from the magnificent civilization of to-day until you find yourself
musing on the world's first battlefield; scan the character of every great commander, and throw your brightest light on the motives of every soldier, and the impartial historian will then tell you that in all this gloomy conclave of war, in all this cavernous darkness of suffering and death, in all the sacrifice that humanity has offered upon the sanguinary field of Mars, no character so pure, so noble, so unselfish, so heroic, has yet been given the world as the American citizen-soldier, fighting, suffering, dying to uplift a fallen race, to preserve the integrity of a free nation, and to make immortal the flag painted by the finger of destiny and illumined by the stars of heaven. When the dreams of the far-flung legions of the "grand army" of the sixties have been terminated by the angel of death, the future generations will find their dream was true, and turn and look down the mist-shrouded aisles of the past to their record of glory, and with a sacred tear and a proud thrill of memory, will be glad that their old age was filled with peace and plenty; that the republic which they served was generous with her defenders, and that they faltered not at death, for they carried the everlasting love of their fellowmen with them, and reached the mystic goal where no furloughs are given or wanted, and where the pass-word is "Eternal Rest and Peace." One of this honored number was the late James Polk McCuen, for many years a well-known railroad man of the Middle West.
Mr. McCuen was born September 17, 1844, in Uniontown, Pennsylvania. He was a son of Robert E. and Nancy (Simpson) McCuen, Whose family consisted of two other children besides our subject, namely: Robert E. McCuen, the second, now deceased, was married and the father of one child, Maude, who is living in Bellefontaine, Ohio; John McCuen, now deceased, was married and is the father of seven children, all surviving at this writing but one.
James P. McCuen spent his boyhood in his native State, and he attended the public schools at Uniontown, Pennsylvania, until the breaking out of the Civil War, when, although but seventeen years of age, he proved his courage and patriotism by enlisting on the nineteenth day of November, 1.861, in Company F, Eighty-fourth Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry, in which he made a record of which his descendants may well be proud. Notwithstanding his youth, he proved to be as brave and efficient a soldier as any veteran in his regiment, according to his officers, and he never quailed, or shirked his duty, no matter how dangerous or arduous. Although he took part in many of the great battles of the war, he came out unscathed. He was one of the first Union soldiers to enter the city of Richmond, upon the fall of the Confederate capital. He served in the battles of the Wilderness, Chickamauga, Gettysburg, Lookout Mountain, and many other important battles and engagements. He was mustered out of service at Pittsburgh, Pa., November 22, 1864.
After his four years of military service, Mr. McCuen returned home and when about twenty-two years of age began his railroad career, working for the Pennsylvania Railroad Company at Pittsburgh as a locomotive fireman, which he continued for two years, when he was promoted to engineer. Upon leaving the employ of this company, he went to St. Louis, Missouri, and began working as locomotive engineer on the St. Louis & Iron Mountain railroad, and at the end of two years he was appointed foreman of this company's shops at Jefferson City, remaining there three years. Then he accepted a position as master mechanic of the Louisville & Nashville Railroad Company, with headquarters at Louisville, Kentucky, and he continued to discharge the duties of this position for a period of thirteen years. His next service was that of superintendent of the Queen & Crescent Railroad Company, in which capacity he worked for a period of thirty-two years, when he was retired and pensioned by that company, although the head officials continued to consult him about important matters in motive power department until his death. The fact that he retained the last two positions such a long time would indicate that he was not only a man of superior ability in his line, but that he was very industrious, reliable, trustworthy, and honest. He was a deep student of all that pertained to his work and kept up-to-date in every phase of the same, especially that pertaining to locomotive machinery, in which line he was one of the best informed men in the United States. He was always very attentive to duty, had everything in his department under a superb system, and, being a good judge of human nature and a likable character, knew how to get the best service out of his employees and at the same time retain their good will and respect; in fact, he was always greatly esteemed by the men under him. He was widely known in railroad circles and was universally regarded as a master in his specific line of endeavor.
Mr. Mr. McCuen was married on February 11, 1867, to Mary Elizabeth Fox, a daughter of Charles and Ruth Ann (Cullen) Fox, a highly respected family of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, both parents being now deceased. Mrs. McCuen had one brother and four sisters, namely: William Page Fox, deceased; Laurena is the widow of Henry Webster, deceased; she lives at Pittsburgh, but has no children; Ida, who makes her home in Washington, D. C., is the widow of Henry D. Wagner, deceased, and has four children, Charles, of Montana, Arthur, of Washington, D. C., Harry, and Hazel; Laura Fae Fox, who is unmarried, resides in Pittsburgh; Clara Fox is deceased.
To James P. McCuen and wife three children were born, namely: C. F. lives in New York City; R. E. makes his home in Lexington, Kentucky; and Nannie resides in Cincinnati, Ohio,
and married W. E. Auger, an expert for the Galena Oil Co.; they have three children, namely, Charles Fox, Mary Lou, and Frank E.
Mr. McCuen was always loyal to his employers, very conscientious in his work, and no doubt his rapid advancement is due to his honesty and fidelity as much as to his rare ability. He was a lover of his own fireside and liked to be at home with his family as much as possible. He was known to all as a man of exemplary character, a fine Christian gentleman.
The death of Mr. McCuen occurred October 2, 1911.
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