Henry M. Flagler, W. H. Tilford and A. J. Cassatt - Standard Oil TrustInv# AG1003
Alexander J. Cassatt
Alexander J. Cassatt was the president of the Pennsylvania Railroad between 1899 and 1906. The best-remembered accomplishment under his stewardship was the planning and beginning of the project to finally give the Pennsylvania Railroad a station in New York City, which became Pennsylvania Station. Unfortunately, Cassatt died before his grand station was complete.
Cassatt more than doubled the Pennsylvania Railroad's total assets during his term, from $276 million to $594 million (an increase of 115 percent). Track and equipment investment increased by 146 percent. The route from New York through Philadelphia, Harrisburg and Altoona to Pittsburgh was made four-tracked throughout, Pennsy's "Broad Way". Many other lines were double-tracked; almost every part of the system was improved. New freight cutoffs avoided stations; grade crossings were eliminated, flyovers were built to streamline common paths through junctions, terminals were redesigned, and much more. Cassatt initiated the Pennsy's program of electrification which led to the road being the United States' most electrified system.
Cassatt died in 1906 after a six-month illness. He was succeeded as Pennsylvania Railroad president by James McCrea.
Alexander Cassatt's sister was the well-known Impressionist painter Mary Cassatt.
Henry Morrison Flagler
Through the grain and distillery business, he met John D. Rockefeller, in Bellevue, Ohio. After a business disaster as a salt manufacturer in Saginaw, Michigan, he moved to Cleveland and soon joined Rockefeller and chemist and inventor Samuel Andrews in forming Rockefeller, Andrews & Flagler in 1867, which they were soon to develop into Standard Oil. By 1872, it led the American oil refining industry, producing 10,000 barrels per day.
In 1877, Standard Oil moved its headquarters to New York City, and Flagler and his family moved there as well. He was joined by Henry H. Rogers, another leader of Standard Oil who also became involved in the development of America's railroads, including those on nearby Staten Island, the Union Pacific Railroad, and later in West Virginia, where he eventually built the remarkable Virginian Railway to transport coal to Hampton Roads, Virginia.
Henry Flager's non-Standard Oil interests went in a different direction than Henry Rogers', however, when in 1878, on the advice of his physician, Flagler traveled to Jacksonville, Florida for the winter with his first wife, Mary (née Harkness) Flagler, who was quite ill. Two years after she died in 1881, he married again. Ida Alice (née Shrouds) Flagler had been a caregiver for Mary Flagler. After their wedding, the couple traveled to St. Augustine, Florida. Flagler found the city charming, but the hotel facilities and transportation systems inadequate. He recognized Florida's potential to attract out-of-state visitors.
He returned to St. Augustine in 1885 and began construction on the 540-room Hotel Ponce de Leon. Realizing the need for a sound transportation system to support his hotel ventures, Flagler purchased the Jacksonville, St. Augustine and Halifax Railroad, the first railroad in what would become known as the "Flagler System" or the Florida East Coast Railway.
Flagler completed the 1150-room Royal Poinciana Hotel on the shores of Lake Worth in Palm Beach and extended his railroad to its service town, West Palm Beach, by 1894. The Royal Poinciana Hotel was at the time the largest wooden structure in the world. Two years later, Flagler built the Palm Beach Inn (renamed The Breakers Hotel in 1901) overlooking the Atlantic Ocean in Palm Beach.
Flagler originally intended for West Palm Beach to be the terminus of his railroad system, but during 1894 and 1895, severe freezes hit the area, causing Flagler to rethink his original decision. Sixty miles south, the town today known as Miami was reportedly unharmed by the freeze. To further convince Flagler to continue the railroad to Miami, he was offered land in exchange for laying rail tracks from private landowners, including Julia Tuttle, who ran a trading post on the Miami River, the Florida East Coast Canal and Transportation Company, and the Boston and Florida Atlantic Coast Land Company.
Flagler's railroad, renamed the Florida East Coast Railway in 1895, reached Biscayne Bay by 1896. Flagler dredged a channel, built streets, instituted the first water and power systems, and financed the city's first newspaper, The Metropolis. When the city was incorporated in 1896, its citizens wanted to honor the man responsible for its growth by naming it "Flagler". He declined the honor, persuading them to use an old Indian name, "Miami". He became known as the Father of Miami, Florida.
Wesley Hunt Tilford was born in Lexington, Kentucky, on July 14, 1850. His boyhood was spent there. His father, John B. Tilford, had long been a banker in Lexington, but at the close of the sixties, he pulled up stakes, and came to New York, where he once more took up the banking business. Young Wesley went to Columbia College where he studied for a couple of years, but the call of business was too strong to allow him to wait for his bachelor's degree. His elder brother, John B. Tilford, Jr., had entered the fleld of oil, associating himself with Jabez A. Bostwick in the firm of Bostwick & Tilford. Attracted by the prospects of petroleum, Wesley gave up his college course, and entered as a clerk in the firm of his brother, then doing business in Pearl Street. When the firm dissolved the two brothers joined in a partnership of their own under the title of John B. Tilford Jr. & Co., which did well from the start and continued to prosper until, at the period of the Eastern oil amalgamations, a substantial offer from the Standard Oil Company induced them to cast their fortunes with that vigorous organization. As has been said, those were busy formative times in the oil business, and the new recruit proved his mettle by the splendid success of his visit to the Pacific slope in 1878. He there organized the oil trade in California, Oregon, Colorado and the surrounding States. On his return to the East he was welcomed to a high place in the home office, taking charge of the vast transportation problem with vigor and effectiveness. And so, strong in the esteem and confidence of all his co-workers, he continued to the end. He was a member of the New York Chamber of Commerce and belonged to the Metropolitan and Tuxedo Clubs.
Tilford, one of the Vice Presidents of the Standard Oil Company, left behind him a notable record of over thirty years in the service of the Company and of some years before that in a petroleum business with which his family was connected. ln his time he had passed through all grades of the merchandising of petroleum, filling post after post with loyalty, credit and acumen. For nine years before his elevation to the Vice Presidency in 1908, he had filled the office of Treasurer of the Standard Oil Company, and from 1892 onward he had been a Director. Despite this long and prominent career, few outside the oil business knew him, so unobtrusive was he by nature. He was a man of few words but of great grasp of affairs, particularly strong in organizing qualities, and gifted with fine and accurate judgment. ln addition he was a man of wide information and varied reading. He was courtly, kind-hearted and charitable. The great good fortune of the Standard Oil Company was the securing of the service of such a man. Ordinary qualities sharpened by business experience may carry a man safely through the details of an established business easily filling its place in the commercial economy; but to win and retain a leading place in a business ever growing, ever reaching out, ever conquering new worlds and gaining and holding new markets, called for qualities far beyond the ordinary, and it is the testimony of his associates that he always deserved his promotions. This is high praise from men themselves the peers of the giants of business in all ages and all climes.