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Posted By: Walt Mathers on: 12/19/2016 22:36:50 EDT
Subject: Death of Opr. James N. Worl

Message Detail:
OBITUARY

Death of James N. Worl.

James Norris Worl, a forty-niner of the telegraph, aged eighty-three years, died in the Muhlenberg Hospital, Plainfield, N. J., on July 31. [1917]

Mr. Worl had been in poor health for several years. He was a unique character in the telegraph business. He was born in Philadelphia, April 15, 1833, and entered the service at the same place in 1848.

There were only four operators in the Quaker City and less than 100 telegrams handled per day at that period. For thirty years Mr.

Worl occupied prominent positions in the front ranks of telegraphy.

During the Civil War he was superintendent of the Independent Telegraph 'Company at Baltimore.

On the day that the entire staff of this company was arrested, charged with having transmitted over its wires the alleged proclamation of President Lincoln calling into service an additional 300,000 troops (Joseph Howard being the forger of the proclamation, which was intended to influence the gold market), Mr. Worl happened to be in the Washington, D. C, office, where he was arrested with the rest of the force. He was incarcerated in the famous prison in Washington where were confined many celebrated Confederate participants in the war, as well as Belle Boyd, the noted spy.

After three days' confinement Mr. Worl was released and the Government made ample apologies to him for the mistake it had made in seizing the property of the company and arresting the employees.

In 1866 Congress granted to Mr. Worl and his brother, W. S. Worl, exclusive cable landing rights on the Atlantic Coast for twenty-five years. When this Act of Congress was signed by President Johnson he turned to Mr. Worl and stated that it gave him great pleasure to sign this congressional action.

Under its operation the French Cable Company and the Direct United States Cable Company had to pay Mr. Worl for the landing rights for their respective cables $200,000 each.

A French syndicate was formed in the early seventies to purchase the franchise from Mr. Worl for $1,000,000. In the meantime a stock company had been formed in the United States to control the landing- rights. Mr. Worl and his brother invested all of their money in purchasing back the outstanding stock in the American company in order to turn the franchise and the company in its entirety over to the French syndicate. The $1,000,000 was in a French bank awaiting the transfer.

When the day arrived for the execution of the papers the world was startled by the announcement of the failure of the Paris bank the Credit Foncier and the certified check with which to purchase the United States cable landing rights was worthless. Mr. Worl and his brother were left heavily in debt.

For many years after this Mr. Worl was engaged in outside business, in politics, and, for twelve years, acted as post-master at Ravenswood, Long Island.

His telegraph activities included the construction of private lines connecting offices with factories and suburban towns with, cities. In 1872 he became interested in horse railroads, organizing and promoting the company and constructing the road from Hunter's Point to Astoria and Steinway, L. I.

He is survived by his wife. His last words were "Jesus is calling."

30

Source:
TELEGRAPH AND TELEPHONE AGE, August 1917


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