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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POTTER, Thomas J., railroad-manager, born in Burlington, Iowa, 16 August, 1840; died in Washington, D.C., 9 March, 1888. He received a liberal education, and in 1862 entered the service of the Burlington and Missouri railroad as a lineman of the engineer corps. In 1866 he was appointed agent of the same corporation at Burlington, Iowa. In 1873 the Chicago, Burlington, and Quincy company secured his services. He was first agent, then assistant superintendent, afterward general manager, and finally general manager and vice-president. He was chosen vice-president of the St. Louis and Keokuk, of the Chicago, Burlington, and Kansas City, of the Chicago and Iowa, of the Hannibal and St. Joseph, and of the Burlington, and Missouri River roads, respectively. Great efforts were constantly made to induce him to leave the Chicago, Burlington, and Quincy and accept tempting salaries on rival roads, but it was not until May, 1887, that he decided to accede to the request of its president, Charles Francis Adams, and become general manager and vice-president of the Union Pacific road. In this capacity he labored until he was compelled to stop from illness caused by overwork. On hearing of his early death, an official of the road said: " Mr. Potter was the leader of practical railroad-managers. His judgment was remarkable for its accuracy, and his will was indomitable."
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