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Odd Wisconsin Archive

Holding Church Down at the Depot


Pioneer telegrapher and railroad worker George F. Brigham (1827-1914) of Sharon, in Walworth County, performed many feats in his long life. He knew the inventor of the telegraph, Samuel F. B. Morse, and strung wires with the man who would later found Cornell University. He received the first telegraphed message of a presidential inauguration, that of Zachary Taylor (once a Wisconsin resident himself) in 1849, so was in at the birth of the modern news industry. He helped establish the first electronic communications system for a railroad and sent the first telegraph signal to dispatch a train. When he moved to Sharon just after the Civil War to serve as station agent, he found that the town had no Episcopal church, and so held lay services in the train depot until he could raise enough money to erect a church. Ordained an Episcopal priest at the age of 75 in 1902, he continued to hold Sunday services at his church in Sharon until he was well into his eighties.
:: Posted in Odd Lives on November 9, 2005
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