Job Freeman became one of Indiana's most successful pioneer coal operators. Born in Henley, Staffordshire,
England, Freeman emigrated with his family to Youngstown, Ohio, in 1850 when he was five years old. His
father died in 1855, leaving his mother to raise six children. Job and his older brothers worked hard to support
them but, in September 1964, after serving with the Ohio Guards during the Civil War, he headed west. In
Washington, Ind., Freeman got a job working with a pick axe in a coal mine.
In 1872 he accepted the opportunity to manage a mine near Edwardsport. A few years later, he bought and opened the Indian Creek mine near Bicknell, making it extremely profitable.
In 1886 he was elected Knox County Auditor and resided for seven years in Vincennes. That year he married Martha Jane Tranter of Washington, the mother of his four children.
Soon he became the interested in Greene County coal fields and relocated to Linton in 1893, constructing a palatial Victorian-style limestone residence at Fourth and Northeast A streets.
Meanwhile, Job had developed a reputation as a fair operator and was an early proponent of collective bargaining.
An active Elk and Mason, Freeman was deeply involved in Republican politics. He was the party's candidate for state auditor on one occasion, and in 1900 a delegate to the Republican national convention which nominated William McKinley.
Freeman expanded his interests to Vigo County, acquiring the Glen Ayr Coal Company, United Powder Co., Tecumseh Coal Co., and Green Valley Coal Co., among others. In 1912 the Freemans moved to Terre Haute, residing at 626 Walnut St. while building a home at 204 Potomac Ave. in Edgewood Grove.
Upon departing Linton, the Freemans donated their home to be used as Linton's first public hospital, fully equipping it as a health care facility. Freeman City Hospital, established in June 1912, was expanded and used until Freeman-Greene County Hospital opened in 1972. The former Freeman residence was razed on Sept. 25, 1985.
By the time the Freemans moved to Terre Haute, their two sons, William J. and Clarence J. Freeman, were handling management responsibilities at the mines, allowing Job and Martha to travel extensively. In addition to their real estate interests in Vigo County, the Freemans owned property in New Smyrna Beach, Fla., and Lake Maxinkuckee, Ind.
While vacationing in Florida in 1917, Job collapsed. He was brought back to Terre Haute but rarely visited the office or mines thereafter. He died at his home in Edgewood Grove on Jan 3, 1919, at age 73. Martha J. Freeman passed away on New Years Day, 1923. - Wabash Valley Profiles.
The history of the thriving city of Linton during the past two decades is a story of industrial progress initiated and carried into effect by men of celar brain, sound judgement and the will date, without due credit to whom in the individual capacities which have made present conditions possible the story would be deprived of half its interest and charm. Pre-eminent among the leaders of enterprise to whom belongs the honor of making Linton, winning for it the title of "the Pittsburg of the West’, is Job Freeman, a name prominent in business circles with the recent progress of the city that the two are pretty much one and the same thing.
Distinctively, one of the most progressive men of Greene county, and combining the qualities that enter unto the makeup of the broad –minded, far-seeing American business man of today, he represents the spirit of enterprise manifest in the recent phenomenal advancement of the city in which he resides and affords conspicuous example of the successful , self-made man of the times. Born and reared amid humble surroundings and beginning life in the capacity of a common laborer in the mines, he was nevertheless the possessor of a a rare combination of intelligence, energy, and tact, which at a comparatively early age enable him to emerge from his obscure environment and surmount the obstacles in his pathway, until, step by step, he gradually rose to the commanding position which he now occupies and become a leader of industry and a recognized power in the business affairs of his city and state. Although intensely American in his tastes and an ardent admirer of the free institutions under which he was largely reared and the influence of which made possible the signal success which he has achieved. Mr. Freeman is not of American birth, being a native of Staffordshire, England, where he first saw the light of day October 4, 1844, His parents, JOSEPH and SUSAN (MANLEY) FREEMAN, immigrated to the United States when their son was five years of age and settled at Youngstown, Ohio, where the father died five years later, the mother subsequently removing to the town of East Liverpool, where her death occurred in 1899. Mr. And Mrs. Freeman were the parents of six children, namely: EDWARD, deceased; RICHARD, who lives at Bicknell, Indiana; JETHRO, who lives in Ellsworth, Pennsylvania; JOSEPH, deceased; MARTHA wife of JOHN WILSON, of Bicknell, Indiana, and JOB, the subject of this review, who is the third in order of birth.
The early life of JOB FREEMAN was spent in Youngstown, Ohio, where he received only the rudiments of an education, the death of his father when the lad was but ten years old throwing much of the responsibility of the family’s support on his shoulder's, in consequence of which he was compelled to forego further study and turn his hands to any kind of honest labor her could find to do. During the years that followed he discharged his filial responsibilities as became a dutiful son, sparing no effort in contributing to the maintenance of the family and doing all within his power to minister to the comfort of his mother, over whose interests he continued to watch with zealous care during the remainder of her life. When twenty-two years old he left Ohio, and locating at Washington, Indiana, accepted employment as a coal miner, in which capacity he continued until becoming a mine boss at Edwardsport, Knox County, a few years later. Meantime he husbanded his earnings with the object in view of engaging in some line of business of himself, which laudable purpose he was afterwards enabled to carry into effect at the latter place, where in due time he became proprietor of a mercantile establishment, in connection with which he also became a partner in the Edwardsport and Indiana Creek Coal Company, retaining his interest until 1886.
After a residence of thirteen years at Edwardsport Mr. Freeman disposed of his interests there and removed to Vincennes, having been an active participant in public affairs and an influential factor in the political circles of Knox county. In recognition of valuable services rendered the Republican party, with which he affiliated, as well as by reason of his great personal pop ularity, regardless of political alignment, he was nominated for the office of county office of county auditor, and his election to that position in the face of an overwhelming Democratic majority was signalized as an important event in the political history of that part of the state, he being the first and only Republican thus honored since Knox county became an independent jurisdiction.
Mr. Freeman discharged his official functions with credit to himself and to the satisfaction of the people and gained an honorable reputation as a capable, painstaking and at all times obliging and exceedingly popular public servant. After the expiration of his official term in 1893 he removed to S ullivan, where he remained but one year, when he changed his residence to Linton, with the industrial growth and development of which place he has since been actively identified, as already indicated, prominent in promoting the city’s material interests and influential in nearly every enterprise affecting the welfare of the pop ulace.
Mr. Freeman’s financial success has been commensurate with the energy and progressive methods displayed in his various undertakings, and he is today classed with the substantial men who have given the city its wide publicity as an important business center and added to its reputation as a safe place for the investment of capital. It was largely through his instrumentality that the different companies and associations with which his name is closely associated were established, and to his energy and individual effort more than to those of any other individual are they indebted for the prosperity which they now enjoy. Among these varied interests are the Fourth United Vein Coal Company, of which he is president; the Green Valley Coal Company, to which he sustains the relation of president and r manager; the Linton Rolling Mills, of which he is also the chief executive, besides being president of the United States Power Company at Coalmont, president and general manager of the Glen Ayr Coal Company, four miles east of Terre Haute; president of the First National Bank of Jasonville, president of the Jasonville Mercantile Company, president of the Linton Opera House Company, in additon to which enterprises he is officially and otherwise connected with numerous other interests in Linton, Jasonville, and Terre Haute, owning much valuable property in these places, to say nothing of his holdings elsewhere, which, with those enumerated, represents a comfortable private fortune. Although pre-eminently a man of affairs and a natural leader of men, Mr. Freeman is entirely without pretense and has never courted the publicity and ostentation in which so many favorites of fortune delight. With deference to his becoming public modesty, however, it would be gross injustice to Linton and to the people who hold him in such high and universal esteem not to award to him at least a portion of praise that is manifestly his due and in some manner to bear witness to the remarkable series of achievements which have contributed so greatly to the recent growth and development of Linton’s business and industrial enterprises and won for him a conspicuous place among the leading men of his day and generation in the city and state of his adoption.
By the sheer force of his powerful personality as well as by combining within himself the element of the successful politician and leader, Mr. Freeman has forged to the front in the councils of the Republican party, and, as stated in a preceding paragraph, he became an acknowledged power in local political circles before his removal to Greene county. Since becoming a resident of this part of the state his activity has grown rather than decreased and he stands today with few peers as a successful party leader and campaigner. In 1900 he was a delegate to the national Republican convention that nominated William McKinley for the presidency and the same year he was his party’s candidate for the upper house of the general assembly¸ but by reason of the overwhelming strength of the opposition failed of election by a small majority. Although deeply profoundly versed on matters and issues concerning which men and parties divide, he is not a partisan nor an aspirant for official honors, being well above all else, a business man, and making every other consideration subordinate to his interests as such.
In addition to his long and eminently usef ul business career, Mr. Freeman has to his credit an honorable military records also, enlisting in an Ohio regiment in the spring of 1864 and served until the cessation of hostilities, entering the army at the age of eighteen and sharing with his comrades the fortunes and vicissitudes of war in a number of campaigns. Since the close of that memorable struggle he was devoted his attention closely and exclusively to the various duties and enterprises mentioned in the preceding lines, with the res ult as already indicated.
Personally Mr. Freeman is a gentleman of unblemished reputation and strict integrity, his private character as well as his career in public places as a custodian of high and important trusts having been above reproach. He is a vigorous as well as independent thinker, and haw the courage of his convictions upon all matters and subjects which he investigates. He is also essentially cosmopolitan in his ideas, a man of the people in all the term implies, and in the best sense of the word a representative of the strong, virile American manhood which commands and retains esteem by reason of inherent merit, sound sense and correct conduct. Much depends upon being well born, in which respect Mr. Freeman has indeed been tr uly blessed, being a man of heroic molud and of superb physique – in brief, a splendid specimen of well rounded, symmetrically developed manhood, with mental qualities in harmony therewith. His commanding height and correspondingly well knit frame make him a marked figure wherever he goes.
He Is a thirty-second degree Mason, belonging to the old historic lodge in Vincennes, No. 1, the first organization of the kind in Indiana, and he also, holds membership with the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks, Linton Lodge, No. 866, in both of which fraternities he has been honored at various times with important official positions and in the deliberations of which he takes an active and influential part.
Mr. Freeman is a gentleman of domestic tastes and takes a loving interest in the palatial and attractive home of which he is the head and which is perhaps one of the finest specimens of residence architecture in southern Indiana. Within the delightf ul precincts of a charming home circle he finds rest from the cares and anxieties of business life and in the enjoyment of the many favors with which he has been blessed diffuses a generous hospitality, as free as it is genuine, to all who may claim it. The presiding spirit of this domestic establishment is a lady of gracious presence and attractive personality, to whom he was happily married March 8, 1868 and who prior to that time, MARTHA J. TRANTER, daughter of WILLIAM and MARGARET TRANTER of Washington, Indiana. Mr. And Mrs. Freeman are the parents of six children, whose names are as follows: WILLIAM and CLARENCE, of Terre Haute; GRACE, who married W. A. CRAIG of Linton; MABEL, wife of JASPER SCHLOOT, also of Linton; LIZZIE and HARRY, the last two dying in childhood.
Mr. Freeman is a man of generous impulses, whose hand and purse are ever open to the poor and unfortunate and who contributes liberally to all worthy enterprises for the amelioration of human suffering. He also manifests an abiding interest in whatever makes for the social advancement of his city and the intellectual and moral good of his fellow men, being a of schools, churches, and other organizations, through the medium of which society is improved and humanity lifted to a higher plane. Although a very busy man, with interests that require almost his entire time and attention, he is nevertheless easily approachable, and in the social circle or among the congenial with ideas and tastes similar to his own, he is one of the most companionable and delightf ul of men. The better to look after and manage his large and varied enterprises, he has offices at Linton, Jasonville and Terre Haute, which he visits as occasion may demand.
Biographical Memoirs of Greene County, Ind. With Reminiscences of Pioneer Days, Illustrated (1908, B. F. Bowen & Co.
Indianapolis, Indiana) Vol. 1 pg. 336-44
|The Freeman City Hospital, established in June 1912, was located at Fourth and Northeast A Streets in Linton, Indiana.|
|This is a watercolor by Norma Witherspoon|