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Joseph H. SLATER


Posted By: Jane Howard (email)
Date: 11/5/2003 at 02:36:11

Boone News Republican, December 23, 1911, Page 11



Man who run Stevenson's First Locomotive has been Farmer in late Years.

Belle Plaine. Dec. 23 - Joseph H. Slater, the oldest locomotive engineer in the world and a pioneer resident of this vicinity, died at his home of his daughter, Mrs. Ella Johnson, in Hutchinson, Kan., last Monday morning. Pneumonia was the direct cause of death although he was very feeble from old age.

Accompanied by his daughter, Mrs. Ella Johnson, at whose home he died and where he has made his home of late years, and his son, Joseph Slater of Logan, N. M., the body arrived here Wednesday morning. The funeral was held at the Walnut Creek church Thursday at 10 o'clock and was in charge of Rev. Dilman Smith. He was laid to rest in the Walnut Creek Cemetery beside his wife, who preceded him in death some ten years.

Joseph H. Slater was born at Sheffield, England, on the 29th day of May, 1830, and died Dec. 11, 1911, aged 81 years, 6 months and 13 days. As a lad he was apprenticed to the machinist's trade under the celebrated English inventor George Stevenson, the man who built the "Rocket," the first successful locomotive ever constructed. At that time Slater was a machinist's helper and worked with Stevenson while he was building this first locomotive. Later Slater operated the "Rocket" and made regular runs with it between Manchester and Liverpool.

At the age of 19 he came to the United States and this country has ever since been his home. During the early years of his residence in the United States he followed the profession of machinist and locomotive engineer. Later he owned and operated a boat with which he plied the Mississippi river. When this boat sunk his entire fortune was swept away.

He gave up engineering about this time and came to Iowa, locating near this city where he secured some land. By energy and thrift he prospered. The family home for many years was in the Walnut Creek neighborhood. After the death of his wife the home was broken up and of late years he has made his home with his daughter, Mrs. Johnson.


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