John Wesley Creager
Please meet John Wesley Creager. He was the oldest son of James Creager – the long-time furniture dealer and undertaker in Thurmont – and his second wife, Sophia (Firor). Wesley was a successful businessman and town leader. As a youth, he helped his father make furniture and coffins and started his career as a cabinet maker. Over time, he owned two substantial farms as well as 1,500 acres of forested property that served as raw material for his lumber yard and saw mill, which occupied the site now used by Thurmont Auto Sales adjacent to the railroad tracks. Creager also owned a successful fertilizer company, and invested in real estate. With other local men (including Col John Rouzer) he formed the Thurmont Land Improvement Company and served as its first president. If that weren’t enough, Creager bought the Gilbert Hotel in 1896 after John Gilbert’s death. Wesley served as a director at both Citizens Savings and Thurmont National Bank, and he was among those who organized the town’s first electric company. He also managed to serve as mayor of Thurmont in 1899, 1900, 1904, and 1905.
Wesley married Effie Williar. Of their eight children, seven lived beyond childhood, one of whom was Edwin Creeger, namesake of the Creeger House on North Church Street. Wesley Creager died in 1910 from a stroke at only 47 years old; Edwin was 17 at the time. Interestingly, Wesley’s name was spelled Creager (like his father) at his death but his headstone in the Weller cemetery reads Creeger (like his son). Effie built a beautiful house at 8 Lombard Street after his death and lived there for 31 years. Incidentally, James and Sofia’s other child – Wesley’s brother – Luther, took over the family’s undertaker and furniture business from their father, which subsequently transitioned to Luther’s son, Raymond.