WADE, JEPTHA HOMER I (11 Aug. 1811-9 Aug. 1890), financier and telegraph pioneer, was born in Romulus, Seneca County, N.Y., the son of Jeptha and Sarah (Allen) Wade. He operated a factory and worked as portrait painter before becoming interested in the telegraph. He became interested in the telegraph, and in 1847, as a subcontractor for J. J. Speedy, he began constructing a telegraph line from Detroit to Jackson, Mich. Wade soon added lines from Detroit to Milwaukee and to Buffalo by way of Cleveland. In 1849-50 he built lines from Cleveland to Cincinnati and St. Louis. In 1854 he consolidated his lines with those of Royal E. House to create a network of lines across the Old Northwest, and in Apr. 1856 their network was part of the 13-company consolidation of telegraph lines that created the Western Union Telegraph Co. Wade served as the general agent for Western Union, and he continued to develop new lines and telegraph companies in the West, forming the California State Telegraph Co. and the Pacific Telegraph Co.; the latter was connected to St. Louis and San Francisco by wire in Aug. 1861. Wade became president of Western Union in 1866, but poor health forced him to resign the following year.
Wade moved to Cleveland in 1856. He was a director of 8 railroad companies; helped organizing Citizens Savings & Loan Assoc. (1867), becoming its first president (1868); was president of Natl. Bank of Commerce and an incorporator of Cleveland Rolling Mill Co. (1863); became a sinking-fund commissioner in 1870 (serving 20 years); was an organizer and first president of
Jeptha Homer Wade Family Papers, WRHS.