Businessman. He learned the coal trade in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, studied the law in Pottsville, Pennsylvania and was elected district attorney of Schuylkill County at age 26. Becoming an attorney for the Philadelphia and Reading Railroad in 1863, he assumed presidency of the railroad in 1868. Under his leadership, the railroad greatly increased the acreage it controlled, and he took the lead in negotiating the first written labor agreement between mine operators and workers in the United States. He was the special prosecutor of the "Molly Maguires", a secret Irish organization responsible for acts of intimidation and violence against the companies in Pennsylvania's Coal region. His prosecution of ten men described as Molly Maguires led to their hanging in Mauch Chunk (now Jim Thorpe) and Pottsville, Pennsylvania on June 21, 1877. Losing leadership of the Reading Railroad in the 1880s, he returned to private law practice. His death in Washington D.C. was described as a suicide, although some speculate that he was murdered.
Bio by: Thomas G Raub