DEATH CLAIMS JOE V. MEIGS
Famous as Inventor of Single Track "L."
Early in War Suggested Use of Colored Troops
Induced to Come North by Gen Butler.
"Capt Joe Vincent Meigs, inventor of the Meigs single track
elevated railroad, died last night at his home 22 Cordis st, Charlestown, of
Capt Meigs was stricken after he had retired last Thursday
and was found in bed unconcious by a member of the household where he had
boarded for the past few years. Dr. P. N. Roy, a next door neighbor, was called,
and a message was sent to his son Dr. Joe V. Meigs of Lowell, who was visiting
in the south, acquainting him of his father's sickness. Dr. Meigs hurried home
and was in constant attendance at his father bedside until the end came last
Capt Meigs is survived by three sons, Dr Joe V. of Lowell,
Dr Return J., who also was in attendance at his father's bedside, and Benjamin
The funeral will be held Saturday at 2, from Dr Joe V. Meigs'
home, 115 10th st, Lowell. The burial will be private.
Joe Vincent Meigs was born in Nasheville, Tenn, in 1840, the
son of Return Jonathan Meigs, a distinguished lawyer of whom President Lincoln
was especially fond, and who was nominated by him for the bench of the U S
The mother of Joe Meigs was Sally Keyes Love, a Tennessee
belle, a cultured woman, who lived to perform noble deeds. She was heiress to
several slaves, which in the course of events fell to her legal share, but which
she refused to take, saying that she did not own them, or any one else, and so
she set them free of their own accord. This was long before the war.
For years she went about with her servant among the indigent
poor, distributing food and clothing, and when she died, in 1858, the whole town
of Nashville turned out to do her memory honor. It is said to have been a
touching sight to see her beloved people following her remains. Capt Meigs, in
speaking of his mother, said:
"I can never mentioned her without moistened eyes, for she
was to me, and to all who knew her, the most beautiful woman in body and soul I
A good part of the early life of Joe Meigs was passed in the
south. He was connected with the war department when the first shot was fired
upon Sumter, and it was he who suggested to Sec Stanton the advisability of
organizing colored troops to occupy the block of houses throughout the Tennessee
region, and it fell to his duty to organize and command the first negro
battery-A, the first light artillery in the U S service.
It was during his campaign there that he fell into a rifle
pit and injured one lung for life
Capt Meigs was married during the war in '64 to Eugenie
Shaffer of Nashville.
Soon after the war Capt and Mrs. Meigs took up a residence in
Washington, where he was an employee in practice in the court of claims; then he
"fell in" with Gen B. F. Butler, who induced him to come to New England to live.
With his family he came to Lowell, and purchased the residence adjoining that of
the late general.
For the past few years he had lived in Charlestown.
Capt Meigs' invention, the single-track elevated railroad,
created great public interest about 13 years ago when a demonstration section
was erected in Cambridge and models were displayed in many of the business
places of this city.
Capt Meigs made himself a decidedly familiar figure in about
Boston for years in his appearances before committees of the legislature to
argue for his system connected him with almost every piece of legislation on
He was modest and quiet, but energetic, with a great
knowledge of rail-roading details and the possibilities of quick transportation
over short distances."
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