James S. Lithgow

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James Smith Lithgow (November 29, 1812 — February 21, 1902) was an American politician, and the sixteenth Mayor of Louisville, Kentucky from January 2, 1866 to February 14, 1867. He was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and apprenticed as a coppersmith there.

He moved to Louisville in 1832 and worked various jobs before starting Wallace & Lithgow, a metals company on Market Street in 1836. The business was successful, and made Lithgow wealthy. After the death of Wallace in 1861, the company became J.S. Lithgow and Co. and built its headquarters at what became the Board of Trade Building,[1] initially one of the largest and most expensive buildings in Downtown Louisville. This building was designed by Henry Whitestone, a prominent Louisville architect whose firm exists today as Luckett & Farley, who also still possess the original drawings. Lithgow lost both the building and his business in the Panic of 1873, but he regained his fortune with a new company, Lithgow Manufacturing Co..

A Democrat, Lithgow was elected to the City Council in 1849, and was a member of the convention to draft a new city charter in 1866. After Philip Tomppert was impeached by the city council in 1866, that same body elected Lithgow mayor. He resigned when a state appeals court reinstated Tomppert on February 14, 1867.

He had eight children with wife Hannah Cragg, and is buried in Cave Hill Cemetery.


  • Yater, George H. (1987). Two Hundred Years at the Fall of the Ohio: A History of Louisville and Jefferson County (2nd ed.). Louisville, Kentucky: Filson Club, Incorporated. ISBN 0-9601072-3-1.
  • "James Smith Lithgow". The Encyclopedia of Louisville (1 ed.). 2001.
Political offices
Preceded by
Philip Tomppert
Mayor of Louisville, Kentucky
January 2, 1866–February 14, 1867
Succeeded by
Philip Tomppert