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Every one who had had any relations with the Department of Labor in the state government during the last year realizes that Governor Capper could not have made a better ehoice for the office of State Labor Commission than when he selected Paul J. McBride for these important responsibilities.
To his official duties Mr. McBride brought a long and varied experience, most of it obtained in the ranks of organized labor. He is in close touch with the men who toil and he also had that breadth of mind and sympathies which are the fruit of association with people and affairs in more than one field of work and in more than one locality. He had been a farmer, a machinist, both a worker and an employer, and for many years was active in railroad service.
He was born in Lawrence County, Pennsylvania, June 8, 1860, one of four children, all of whom are still living, and whose parents were David N. and Jane (Clarke) McBride. His father was born in Lawrence County and his mother in Washington County, Pennsylvania. When a young man David N. McBride learned the tailor’s trade, but most of his career was spent as a farmer. When the news of the discovery of gold on the Pacific coast reached his part of the county, he was one of those who eagerly accepted the opportunity to become an argonaut, and joined a company of men at Pittsburg in 1849. They proceeded by boat as far as St. Joseph, Missouri, where they outfitted, and their party combined with others to the number of about 250. This small army then erossed the plains, going through the Salt Lake Valley by way of the northern route and finally landing on the Yuba River in Northern California. He spent about three years in the gold fields of California, and then returned to his old home by way of San Francisco, the Isthmus of Panama and New York City. From Pennsylvania he moved just across the state line into Mahoning County, Ohio, and his remaining years were passed as a substantial farmer near Youngstown. He died in 1906.
Most of the youth of Paul J. McBride was spent in Ohio about a mile from his Pennsylvania birthplace. With a common school education, he had made the best of his opportunities and by observation and hard work had mustered no small share of the world’s knowledge. He learned the machinist’s trade at Warren, Pennsylvania, completing his apprenticeship in 1879. Thereafter for three years he was foreman for the Youngstown Hot Polish Shafting Company. After that came a period in his career when he was a farmer and he engaged in other occupations. In 1885 in company with a brother-in-law, John F. Van Auker, he came to Kansas. After a short time spent in Lane County he removed to Wichita County and there pre-empted a quarter section of land. That was in the early days of Western Kansas, and he had a keen knowledge of what the old time farmers experienced in the way of hardships and diffleulties. In the fall of 1887 he removed to Colorado and for a season operated a sawmill in Eleven Mile Canyon in El Paso County.
On returning to Kansas Mr. McBride joined the operating service of the Chicago, Rock Island & Pacific Railway at Nortou in the capacity of loecmotive fireman. In 1892 he was promoted to locomotive engineer and for many years handled the throttle on several different runs on the Rock Island lines in this state.
In the fall of 1914 Sherman County sent Mr. McBride as its representative to the State Legislature. He made a capable record in the Legislature, and his service there and his well known qualifieations on other grounds brought him in 1915 the appointment as state labor commissionor. Since April of that year he had filled that office and now spends most of his time in Topeka.
Politically he is a republican. He still had his card of membership in the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers, is a Knight Templar member of the Masonic fraternity and also affiliated with the Ancient Order of United Workmen. In 1892 Mr. McBride married Miss Frances Marshall, daughter of Thomas Marshall of Leicestershire, England. Mrs. McBride died May 27, 1914. The only son, Paul Francis, is a graduate in the electrical engineering course at the University of Boulder, Colorado.