John Francis Sedwick
John Sedwick was born June 13, 1841 in Missouri. He moved to Virginia at some point and served in the Civil War as a Corporal of Company K in Virginia’s 17th Regiment. On April 1, 1865, he was captured at the battle of Five Forks and then held as a prisoner at Point Lookout in Maryland for two months before the war ended and he gained release.
In 1872, he came to Waco and opened Waco’s first lumber company. It was on the east side of town and boosted Waco’s economy in a time of need. He was also the first to successfully develop small grain crops in central Texas by doing so with 20,000 acres of wheat. The business successes allowed him to purchase even more land in McLennan and Shackelford Counties. In addition to crop-raising, Sedwick grew to be one of the most recognized cattlemen in Texas.
When the Houston & Texas Central Railroad reached Dallas, Bro. John established Sedwick & Elliot, another lumber firm. This one, like the one already in Waco, helped bring the fledgling town of Dallas into its promise as a thriving city. In 1877, Sedwick sold his Waco lumberyard to a newly arrived Scottish immigrant. The business deal had taken two years to finalize but once it was finally completed, both parties proved to be very happy with the results. Sedwick retired to a less stressful lifestyle but maintained some business ventures until his death. The Scotsman grew the lumberyard into one of the largest business empires in Texas. His name was William Cameron and he is the Waco 92 member for whom Cameron Park was named.
In 1885, Captain Sedwick built a large commercial building on the corner of 8th and Austin in Waco that attracted the attention of newspapers across the state for its grandeur.
On the morning of June 4, 1909, Bro. Sedwick slipped and fell in his bathroom, smashing his head on the floor. He died immediately from the injury.