Tuesday, November 17, 2009

J.F.T. Titley: Vile Villain or Bumbling Benefactor?

I don't want to leave the subject of Mr. J.F.T. Titley without a little more musing about the man's true character.


The easy conclusion is that Mr. Titley was a greedy rotten scoundrel - a guy who preferred bilking poor householders over building communities. Kind of like, to put a seasonal face on it, the cold, evil, Henry Potter.

But, maybe that's being a little too simplistic.

Just maybe, our Mr. Titley was more like good old Uncle Billy -- a well-meaning type, whose bumbling ways were apt to misplace a few thou here and there.

In a hundred years, not much has been written of Mr. Titley. And after this humble post, I can't say that anything more will ever be written of him. So, I'm feeling a heavy burden here to give the man his due.

I've got to say this for the man:

He started a small town out of virtually nothing. It was a town of beautiful cottages that the big city newspaper described in the most appealing fashion. A town with homes that catered to poor families who worked hard but struggled mightily to make ends meet. The Times article credits Titley with the goal of being a "benefactor" to the poor and trying to give the poor a chance to own their own homes.


I'm impressed that he gave this small town his own name -- Titleyville or Titley Town. Hints that he thought grandly of himself and of the town he created. From the Times' description of Titleyville, seems a measure of pride would have been well deserved.

So maybe, just maybe, J.F.T. Titley was a good-hearted guy whose business acumen fell short of his big plans and noble aims. Though he enraged many of his own townspeople and added to their financial hardships, in the end, seems he achieved a pretty meaningful goal. He created a small town of beautiful cottages which families of modest means could own.

Maybe, just maybe, J.F.T. Titley is the kind of guy who deserves to have a street named after him. Most certainly, Titleyville is a place worth remembering.

4 comments:

Petrea said...

I wonder why he didn't pay Reeves? Interesting story.

Cafe Pasadena said...

Looking at that face, I think you've only scratched the surface of this man.

He coulda been a character actor. He appears to have had that weirdness that most actors/actresses have!

Go on, please!

Michael Coppess said...

Petrea: At this point, all we can do is guess at why he didn't pay Reeves. Don't have any more information on the guy.

CP: I think I saw these faces in a movie -- A movie that is now in the public domain. Wish I could go on, but I'm out of info.

Petrea said...

Cafe, in case you're not kidding; It's a Wonderful Life.