James Harrison Steedman (1867-1921)

Lt.-Commander James Harrison Steedman, U.S.N., of St. Louis, Missouri

He was the eldest of three brothers and named for his maternal grandfather, James Harrison, of St. Louis, President of the American Iron Mountain Company which was then one of the largest producers of iron in the world. He graduated in mechanical engineering from Washington University (1889) in St. Louis and a few years later acquired the manufacturing company Curtis & Co. with his brothers, winning important military contracts with the British and American governments during World War I. When the U.S entered the war, he was one of the first men from St. Louis to leave for active service. An expert on marine engines, he served as a Lieutenant-Commander in the Navy. While on service it is thought that he contracted severe diabetes but being offered a transfer refused to leave his post despite risking permanent disability. He was honorably discharged in 1918 and died three years later in 1921. He was married to Virginia Chase who afterwards married Alexander W. Weddell and used part of the fortune he left her to build Virginia House. In his memory, his brother established the James Harrison Steedman Memorial Fellowship in Architecture at Washington University.
Contributed by Mark Meredith on 09/06/2021 and last updated on 11/06/2021.