Biography of George W. Prescott

George W. Prescott, of San Bernardino, Master Mechanic of the Southern California Railroad, and one of the most expert mechanical engineers in this country, was born in New Hampshire fifty-one years ago. At the early age of seven years he was left without father or mother, and at thirteen he left his native State and started out to fight the battle of life alone and unaided. Going west as far as Ohio, he spent the next-five years in the old city of Chillicothe, where, following the natural bent of his mind, he studied the business of machinist, and when just past his eighteenth birthday he took charge of a locomotive engine. In 1856 he went to Columbus, Kentucky, and commenced building the Mobile & Ohio Railroad. On January 15, 1857, he unloaded from the steamer J. C. Swan the first locomotive engine that ever passed over that road, and set it up and run it aver the line. He put up all the engines and cars for that road till the spring of 1861.

On May 3, of that year, the war of the Rebellion having broken out, and Mr. Prescott New England blood and patriotism allying him to the cause of the Union, he resigned his position and went North, notwithstanding he was offered $500 a month by the Superintendent of the Mobile & Ohio Railroad if he would remain and take charge of the machinery of the line. On June 15, of that year, he began to run an engine on the Chicago, Milwaukee & St. Paul Railroad, and was connected with that company in various capacities of responsibility in the operating department and shops until 1869. In that year he superintended the laying of the track between Winona, Shaska and La Crosse. At the solicitation of W. B. Strong, Mr. Prescott entered the employ of the Chicago, Burlington & Quincy Railroad in 1871 as Superintendent of wrecks on the Iowa Division.

In 1873 he accepted the position of fuel agent on the Michigan Central Railroad. During the three years of his connection with that road he also filled the positions of train-dispatcher and assistant superintendent without the title. In 1876 he accepted the position of mechanical superintendent of the locomotive and car department of the Chicago & Grand Trunk Railroad, tendered him by Charles G. Peck, and continued in that capacity until 1881. He then resigned and was connected with the Chicago Fire & Spring Works two years. For six years thereafter he was mechanical superintendent of the St. Louis, Arkansas & Texas Railroad, with headquarters at St. Louis.

Mr. Prescott received the appointment, May 7, 1889, as master mechanic of the California Southern and California Central lines, consolidated in November of that year into the Southern California Railway, and forming the California division of the great Santa Fe system. Advanced ideas and improved methods have been introduced by Mr. Prescott in operating the mechanical department of the railway, which have resulted in materially increasing the scope and volume of work performed, while the cost of that department has been reduced, thus demonstrating his remarkable qualifications and adaptation for the position he so ably fills.

On August 23, 1856, Mr. Prescott married Miss McFarland, a native of Chillicothe, Ohio, her paternal grandfather having been the first settler in that (Ross) county. Mr. and Mrs. Prescott have but one child, a son.

MLA Source Citation:

The Lewis Publishing Company. An Illustrated History of Southern California embracing the counties of San Diego San Bernardino Los Angeles and Orange and the peninsula of lower California. The Lewis Publishing Company, Chicago, Illinois. 1890. Web. 25 January 2015. - Last updated on Oct 3rd, 2011

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