Biography of James M. Drill


Drill, James M., Buffalo, a native of Maryland, living in Baltimore city up to ten years ago, after two years' residence in New York city came to Buffalo where he has since resided. During the war he was chief clerk and acting general freight agent of the B. & O. Railroad, acted also as general agent at important points: Washington, Parkersburg, Monocacy, Frederick, Benwood, Locust Point, etc., places requiring extra attention on account of the war. The road extended over a hundred miles along the Potomac and Shenandoah Rivers and nearly as many more along or in the vicinity of the Cheat River in West Virginia, where there were battles and skirmishes innumerable, and the business of the line was constantly disturbed by the destroying of the road or burning of bridges, and required for the transmission of freight and passengers extra care and attention. He prepared the freight tariff of the road by which the charges on all government as well as other business was adjusted during the war, and as a civilian and railroad employee did what he could for the success of the Union army. From 1866 and for twenty years of continuous service he was general freight agent of the Northern Central and Baltimore & Potomac Railroad Companies, continuing up to the time when the Pennsylvania Railroad Co. absorbed the above roads, and managed them under their own system from Philadelphia. During his two years' residence in New York he was general agent of the American Surety Co. and division freight agent of the Erie Railroad. He came to Buffalo eight years ago to accept the position of general sales agent for the Rochester and Pittsburg Coal & Iron Co., which he held for two years and then started in the coal business on his own account; he has recently added real estate and loans. During his residence in Baltimore Mr. Drill took an interest in church work as well as other matters; he was for two years president of the Young Men's Christian Association, was vicepresident and acting president of the Mercantile Library Association. Hon. James A. Gary, postmaster-general was elected president on the ticket with Mr. Drill as vice-president, but Mr. Gary resigned after two months' occupancy of the presidency and the vice-president filled the position during the remainder of the term. The board was pledged to the work of a free library and their efforts doubtless had much to do in influencing Mr. Pratt in providing so liberally a few years afterward by the endowment of Baltimore's splendid Free Library. Mr. Drill with one other gentleman started the Boys' Home of Baltimore and he raised the first $500 used in its behalf. To-day the home has a building costing about $40,000 fully paid for, where pver 100 boys live continually, starting in at ten or twelve years of age and remaining if they wish up to twenty-one. He also called the first public meeting to estabtablish the Free Summer Excursion Society of Baltimore, which was a success from the beginning and owns a beautiful grove of fifteen acres with suitable buildings on an arm of the Chesapeake Bay, where tired mothers and sick children, 2,000 each week, are cared for in summer. Acting under the authority of Bishop Whittingham, and in close and friendly relations with the bishop, Mr. Drill established and located two churches in Baltimore, St. Bartholomew and St. George's, both fine white marble structures, in the northwestern part of the city, now in successful operation and free from debt. He was one of the governors of the Wednesday Club of Baltimore, and with two other gentlemen raised the necessary amount of money to erect the fine hall of the club, which Sullivan, the musical author, pronounced the finest hall of the kind he had seen in the United States. It is now the Lyceum Theater. Mr. Drill has been very closely confined to his business, which has re quired a great deal of traveling, etc., and has not taken a hand in church or other work during his residence in Buffalo.

Our County and its people
A descriptive work on Erie County, New York
Edited by: Truman C. White
The Boston History Company, Publishes 1898


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