James Hays Willock (1853-1907)

James Hays Willock
James Hays Willock

The Bankers Magazine, Vol. 60 (1900)

The following biography/obituary is from: Year Book of the Pennsylvania Society, Barr Ferree, ed., (New York, 1908).

"James Hays Willock, oldest son of Josephine Hays and the late John Scott Willock, was born in Allegheny, September 11, 1853. He was educated in private schools in Allegheny, and in 1865 entered the Pennsylvania Military Academy, at Chester graduating there in 1870 with high honours [sic]. In the autumn of that year he entered the old Keystone Bank as a clerk, but in May, 1871, took the position of bookkeeper in the Second National Bank of Pittsburgh, and was identified with that institution from that date until his death. In October 1887, Mr. Willock became president of the Second National Bank of Pittsburgh, and held that position until ill health compelled him to retire from all active business, late in December, 1905. At the time of his retirement, besides being president of the Second National Bank of Pittsburgh, Mr. Willock was president of the Pittsburgh Lamp, Brass & Glass Co., the Tarentum Paper Mills, the Westmoreland Brick Co., and the National Union Fire Insurance Co.-all of Pittsburgh. He was also a vice-president of the Pittsburgh Chamber of Commerce and director of the following companies:

Firth-Sterling Steel Co., Standard Underground Cable Co., Union Switch and Signal Co., First National Bank of Sewickley, Workingmen's Savings Bank and Trust Co., Central District and Printing Telegraph Co., Guarantee Company of North America, J.C. Lindsay Hardware Co., National Fireproofing Co., and the Board of Water Commissioners of Sewickley.

He was a member of the Duquesne, Americus and Pittsburgh Country Club of Pittsburgh, the Allegheny Country Club and the Edgeworth Club of Sewickley, and the New York Club of New York and The Pennsylvania Society. He was a thirty-two degree Mason, a Knight-Templar and Shriner, and a member of many other Masonic orders. He was a member of the Presbyterian Church of Sewickley, and the Young Men's Christian Association. On his father's side, he was descended from Scotch-Irish ancestors, who settled in Pittsburgh during the latter part of the eighteenth century, and his mother is a daughter of the late James H. Hays. Mr. Willock was unmarried."

The following is from: Thomas B. Patton ed., The Banking Law Journal, vol. 23. (1906):
"James H. Willock, who has been the President of the Second National Bank, of Pittsburgh for a number of years, retired from that position on January 9th on account of ill-health. The following letter has been sent out by the bank to its correspondents and customers:

'Mr. James H. Willock, who for many years successfully conducted the affairs of this bank, has, on account of impaired health and under the advice of his physicians, been obliged to relinquish the officers of President and Director which he has so efficiently filled.

The Board of Directors and officers express their deep sympathy, regret the conditions which this action and trust that he will soon be fully restored to health and be able to resume his former duties. . . .

Mr. Willock's resignation came as a great surprise to the banking world in general. His name had become so linked with the Second National Bank that one seemed synonymous with the other. He had been connected with the bank for thirty-four years, and at a special meeting of the directors in December had been voted a salary of $30,000 a year, he having at that time decided to sever his connection with all other corporations; but it was found his health had impaired, and he was advised by his physicians to give up all business for the present. . . .'"

The New York Times, January 19, 1906:
Headline: "James H. Willock Insane."

"Pittsburg, [sic] Jan. 18-James H. Willock, who until a few days ago was the President of the Second National Bank in this city, in addition to being a Director in thirty different corporations in Western Pennsylvania, is in the Western Pennsylvania Asylum for the Insane, at Dixmont, Penn.

Mr. Willock was taken to the asylum on Saturday last under the delusion that he was being taken to New York City for a conference on financial matters.

A little less than a year ago Mr. Willock was elected a Director of the asylum where he is now confined. He took a great interest in the work, and devised means to increase the comfort of the unfortunates confined in the institution."

Last updated: February 20, 2021

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