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Tuesday, January 25, 1842   George Kinghorn

George Kinghorn was born in Carrington, Scotland, the son of John and Christian (née Stoddard).  John was a brewer, and George learned the trade with his father's guidance.  George was nine years old when his father and uncle Abraham decided to emigrate to America.  They and their wives and children arrived at the Port of New Orleans aboard the ship the Envoy on December 27th, 1851.

They made their way up the Mississippi River and settled in St. Clair County, Illinois in the town of Millstadt.  Abraham was a coal miner and was keen to work in the underground mines in the area.  John worked the mines during this time as well.  The family were progressives and the following generation of Kinghorns in St. Clair County would organize unions of miners during the 1870s.

At some time in the 1860s John and Christian Kinghorn took their family east to the city of Wheeling, the capital of the breakaway and defiantly progressive new state of West Virginia.  Both John and George secured positions in John Reid & Co's Eagle Brewery.  In around 1865 George married a 23 year old Pennsylvania Dutch woman named Indiana E. Hall.

On September 25th, 1866 John Kinghorn died suddenly while working on the brewery floor. George continued on in the Eagle, gaining more and more seniority.  In January of 1868 he and and John L. Brown leased the brewery from John Reid.  Eventually Kinghorn was able to purchase a half-stake in the firm.  The next year the two brought in a third partner named Kilian Kress and the firm was renamed Kinghorn & Co.

Kress was a long-time employee who had worked up from laborer to teamster.  He was eleven years older than George, and gradually experience and age drew leadership focus from the controlling partners.  Kinghorn was just 31 yet decided to change his focus to public service.  He ran for, and was elected to the Wheeling City Council in 1874.

On November 14, 1876 Kilian Kress purchased half of the Eagle Brewery from Hannibal and Amanda B. Forbes for $950.  Kinghorn sold his half of the brewery to Kress on December 8th for $5, with probably the caveat that Klinghorn retain some sort of control and a guaranteed wage (speculation).  On January 1st of 1877 official notice of Kinghorn's transition from brewery owner to employee brewmaster made its debut in the Wheeling Daily Register.

But working for Kress didn't suit Kinghorn any more than partnering with him, and within the year, Kinghorn had left for good.  In the fall of 1878 Kinghorn joined with Alfred E. Smith in his ale brewery on Market Street.  This partnership lasted until February of 1880.

George Kinghorn died at the age of 41 years, on the 26th of February, 1885.  His grave marker at the Peninsula Cemetery is just a little square stone, all but invisible among the grass.

Learn more at the links below

Associated Breweries

Alfred E. Smith Brewing Company of Wheeling, West Virginia, USA
The Eagle Brewery of Wheeling, West Virginia, USA

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