July 15, 1908: Death of former Duluth mayor J. B. Sutphin

John B. Sutphin. (Image: Duluth Public Library)

On this day in 1908, pioneer Duluthian J. B. Sutphin, died in the home of his son Ralph at 318 Third Avenue West, after a long illness. A native of New Jersey, Sutphin had arrived in Duluth in about 1872, when he was just twenty years old. He started out by trading along Lake Superior’s south shore, and travelled often to Octonagan and Houghton, Michigan. He later opened a meat packing plant in the West End that was later taken over by Elliott’s Meats. At the time of his death he worked as grain weighmaster for the state of Minnesota. Sutphin served as president of the Village of Duluth in 1886 and became Duluth’s mayor a year later, when the city regained its charter. He served until 1890. His term as mayor, the newspaper reported, was “well remembered as one during which the city enjoyed much prosperity.” Sutphin Street in today’s Canal Park Business District is named for him; he owned a dock adjacent to the street, the location of which is now occupied by the Minnesota Slip (where the ore boat William A. Irving is docked today). The newspaper’s report of his death ended with a touching tribute: “Few men have enjoyed a wider circle of friends in Duluth than Mr. Sutphin, and his demise will cause much regret.” Read the Duluth News Tribune article about Sutphin’s death here: SutphinDeath_1908-07-16_DNT.

One Response to July 15, 1908: Death of former Duluth mayor J. B. Sutphin

  1. My gr-grgrandfather probably worked with Mr.Sutphin as he was also a Weigh Master for the state in Duluth. He was J.O. Milne. He died in Sept 1907.He was also, for a time, Chairman of the Duluth School Board.

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