Biography of William H. Bancroft
Utah Biographies





WILLIAM HAZARD BANCROFT
It was an old fashioned rose, not an American Beauty, but just a plain old rose, that made a general manager of a great railroad system out of a station agent at a little hamlet in New York. That was in the long ago. It was on the Lake Shore road. The time was in 1860. At a little station on the Lake Shore a special carrying the general manager of the system stopped for orders. It was in the summer time. About the station everything was as neat as a pin. There were blossoms everywhere; chief among these blossoms were old fashioned roses. It was an ocular demonstration of what could be clone in beautifying, in making the best of surroundings. The general manager was delighted. He questioned the young station agent and operator, praised the appearance of his station. The orders were received. The special proceeded on its way. Two weeks later that station agent was promoted. He has been promoted a number of times since. Several years ago the acme was reached when he was made vice president and general manager of the Oregon Short Line Railroad. This man is William Hazard Bancroft.

He was born in Chagrin Falls, Ohio, October 20, 1840, where his father, Samuel O. Bancroft, ran a grist mill; and was educated in the public schools in his home town. At sixteen years of age he entered the railroad service as messenger boy, learned telegraphy, became an expert operator, was sent to the little hamlet above cited, then to Port Jervis, where he was made dispatcher. Here he was married to Mary J. Baird in June, 1864. Thence his advancement through the various channels of the railroad world. He became train dispatcher on the Kansas Pacific, now the Union Pacific; then assistant superintendent on the Santa Fe; then with the "Katy" as chief dispatcher. From there he advanced to the superintendency of various divisions of the Denver and Rio Grande; in 1884-86 receiver of the Rio Grande Western, and for four years afterward general superintendent of same. Then in 1890 he returned to the Union Pacific as general superintendent of the mountain division. In 1897 he was made vice president and general manager of the Oregon Short Line when that system was segregated from the Union Pacific. Later, in addition to this position, he became general manager of the Southern Pacific Company's lines east of Sparks, Nevada; first vice president of the San Pedro, Los Angeles and Salt Lake Railroad; president of the Utah Light and Railway Company.

Mr. Bancroft is a member of the Alta and Commercial clubs of Salt Lake City; Mt. Moriah Lodge No. 2, F. & A. M.; thirty third degree Mason, A. A. S. Rite, Valley of Salt Lake. He has never held any political office. He has two adopted daughters, Marie and Adelaide. With the wife of his youth he resides at his handsome home on East South Temple Street, Salt Lake City. His love for blossoms is as great today as in the long ago, and roses, including the old fashioned ones, are in plenty, and beautify, in their season, them grounds about his home.

From:
Sketches of the Inter-Mountain States
1847 - 1909
Utah Idaho Nevada
Published by: The Salt Lake Tribune
Salt Lake City, Utah 1909


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