Rash's Surname Index
Notes for Thomas Alexander SCOTT
Scott, Thomas Alexander, 1823-81, American railroad president, b. Fort Loudon, Pa. He was employed by the Pennsylvania RR as a station agent in 1850 and rose to become general superintendent (1858) and first vice president (1860). His efficiency in transporting Pennsylvania troops at the beginning of the Civil War won him a lieutenant colonelcy of volunteers, and from Aug., 1861, to June, 1862, he was Assistant Secretary of War (an office newly created by Congress) in charge of all government railroads and transportation lines. Later, at various times, he advised the government on the operation of its railroads. After the war he was active in promoting the enormous expansion of the Pennsylvania system, of which he was president (1874-80). His interest in a southern transcontinental railroad route deeply involved him in politics; Scott was instrumental in obtaining the southern support that made Rutherford B. Hayes president after the disputed election of 1876. He was also president of the Union Pacific (1871-72) and of the Texas Pacific (1872-80).
THOMAS ALEXANDER SCOTT was one of the most prominent men who have been engaged in the service and management of public railways. he was born in London, Franklin County, Pennsylvania, on the 28th of December, 1823, and received his education at the village district school of that place. When ten years old he left his books, and began work in a country store, and was employed in three different towns until 1841. He then entered a collector's office at Columbia, Pennsylvania, as a clerk under the Board of Canal Commissioners, and continued in that capacity there, and in Philadelphia, for several years. In 1851 he became connected with the Pennsylvania Railroad Company, one of the leading railway corporations of the United States. He was on duty first at Hollidaysburg, then an important shipping-point between the railroad and the canal, and was afterwards placed in charge of the business of the Company passing over the Portage Road and the Western Division of the State Canal. Upon the completion of the Western Division of the railroad he was appointed its Superintendent. He continued in that position until 1858, when he was made General Superintendent of the line from Philadelphia to Pittsburg. In 1860, on the death of Mr. William B. Foster, Vice-President of the Company, he was elected to succeed him. During the ensuing ten years the Pennsylvania Railroad increased greatly in length; new branches and leased roads came under its control, and the traffic grew rapidly. In the fall of 1861 Mr. Scott became Assistant-Secretary of War, and as such directed the transportation of our armies. He directed the reconstruction of the road from Annapolis, which opened communication with, and did much to aid the troops that saved the National Capital. He served in this capacity under Secretaries Cameron and Stanton till the fall of 1862, when he returned to Philadelphia. He was again called into service by Secretary Stanton, after the battle of Chickamauga, to go to Louisville and aid in the movement of the Eleventh and Twelfth Corps by the way of Nashville, to the relief of Rosecrans at Chattanooga. The Army of the Tennessee was so reinforced as to be able to drive in full retreat the enemy who had held it in so perilous a position. About 1870 Mr. Scott became President of the Union Pacific Railroad and of the Texas Pacific Railroad Company. On the 3d of June, 1874, Mr. Scott was elected President of the Pennsylvania Railroad Company, to succeed Mr. Thomson, who died in May of that year. Owing to ill-health he resigned the Presidency of the road in June, 1880, and was succeeded by Mr. George JB. Roberts. Mr. Scott's liberality throughout his life was shown in many ways. Among his gifts were $50,000 to the Jefferson Medical College, $50,000 to the University of Pennsylvania, $50,000 to the Washington and Lee University, $30,000 to the Orthopedic Hospital, and $20,000 to the Children's Department of the Episcopal Hospital. At the time of his death his fortune was estimated at $10,000,000, a large portion of which was invested in real estate in Philadelphia, and in the stock of the Pennsylvania Railroad Company. Mr. Scott died at his country-seat, Woodburn, a short distance below Darby, in Delaware County, Pennsylvania, May 21, 1883.
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