Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James
Grant Wilson, John Fiske and Stanley L. Klos. Six volumes, New York: D. Appleton
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GARRETT, John Work, railroad president, born in Baltimore, Maryland, 31 July, 1820; died in Deer Park, Garrett County, Maryland, 26 September, 1884. His father, Robert Garrett, an enterprising merchant, from a small beginning had amassed a large for- tune. The son entered Lafayette in 1834, but left in the following year. He then entered his father's counting-room, and in 1839 became a partner in the firm of Robert Garrett and Sons. Mr. Garrett took a great interest in the development of the Baltimore and Ohio railroad. He was elected one of its directors in 1857, and was its president from 1858 till his death. When he took charge of the road, it was in an embarrassed condition, but during the first year of his presidency the increase in its net gain reached $725,385; for the first time since its existence the company paid a dividend, and has continued to pay a semi-annual dividend ever since. In another year the entire floating debt was removed. During the civil war the road was constantly at the mercy of Confederate raiders, and parts of it were frequently destroyed. But the losses on the main stem were more than made up by the large business done by the Washington branch in carrying troops and provisions. After the war numerous branches and connecting roads were built or acquired, forming the present Baltimore and Ohio system. Mr. Garrett was also active in scouring a regular line of steamers between Baltimore and Bremen, and between Liverpool and Baltimore. Shortly before his death the Baltimore and Ohio express company and the Baltimore and Ohio district telegraph company were organized. Mr. Garrett was one of the most active trustees of the Johns Hopkins University, and a liberal contributor to the funds of the Baltimore young men's Christian association.--His son. Robert, born in Baltimore, Maryland, 9 April, 1847, was graduated at Princeton in 1867, traveled in Europe, and, after receiving a business training in the banking-house of his father, became in 1871 president of the Valley railroad of Virginia. He was made third vice-president of the Baltimore and Ohio in 1879, and in 1881 first vice-president. In 1884 he succeeded his father as president, having for some time discharged the functions of that office during his father's absence. Under his management the bust-ness and prosperity of the railroad have largely increased. He has directed several memorable contests with rival corporations. Since his accession the extension of the railroad to New York, and the extension of the Baltimore and Ohio telegraph and express business throughout all sections of the country, have been accomplished. He resides in Baltimore, where he has built one of the largest and most luxurious residences in the country, and is identified with many commercial, benevolent, and artistic undertakings in that City.
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