Among the efficient officers who have served the New York Central during the time I have been with the company, I remember many on account of their worth and individuality. H. Walter Webb came into the railway service from an active business career. With rare intelligence and industry he rapidly rose in the organization and was a very capable and efficient officer. There was Theo. Voorhees, the general superintendent, an unusually young man for such a responsible position. He was a graduate of Troy PoIytechnical School and a very able operating officer. Having gone directly from the college to a responsible position, he naturally did not understand or know how to handle men until after long experience. He showed that want of experience in a very drastic way in the strike of 1892 and its settlement. Being very arbitrary, he had his own standards. For instance, I was appealed to by many old brakemen and conductors whom he had discharged. I mention one particularly, who had been on the road for twenty-five years. Voorhees's answer to me was: "These old employees are devoted to Toucey, my predecessor, and for efficient work I must have loyalty to me."
I reversed his order and told him I would begin to discharge, if necessary, the latest appointments, including himself, keeping the older men in the service who had proved their loyalty to the company by the performance of their duties.
Mr. Voorhees became afterwards vice-president and then president of the Philadelphia and Reading. With experience added to his splendid equipment and unusual ability he became one of the best executives in the country.
Mr. John M. Toucey, who had come up from the bottom to be general superintendent and general manager, was a hard student. His close contact with his fellow employees gave him wonderful control over men. He supplemented his practical experience by hard study and was very well educated. Though self-taught, he had no confidence in the graduates of the professional schools.
In selecting an assistant, one of them told me that Toucey subjected him to a rigid examination and then said: "What is your railroad career?"
"I began at the bottom," answered the assistant, "and have filled every office on my old road up to division superintendent, which I have held for so many years."
"That is very fine," said Toucey, "but are you a graduate of the Troy Technical School?"
"Then you are engaged," said Toucey.