locked Re: Fairfax Harrison and Federal Control 1918-1920

C J Wyatt

Attached is part of USRA report which should help clarify the situation.

Jack Wyatt

On Monday, April 6, 2020, 02:24:29 PM EDT, C J Wyatt <cjwyatt@...> wrote:

FH working for USRA came from Wikipedia, so that information is suspect from the start. Southern Railway Company put out an annual report at the end of 1918 even though the government operated the property. Fairfax Harrison is still listed as President and a member of the Board of Directors. Apparently the company was looking after the stockholders' interest even though it was not allowed to operate the properties.

Jack Wyatt

On Monday, April 6, 2020, 01:23:43 PM EDT, A&Y Dave in MD <dbott@...> wrote:

He was chairman of the private industry board composed of 5 railroad presidents prior to the USRA.  The board was unable to solve many of the railroad-related problems that faced the country, even though they did coordinate a response. The board's work was commendable, but its power was limited to voluntary action that couldn't happen fast enough to deal with the troubles that farmers, industrialists, and the military were facing. Treasury Secretary McAdoo urged the USRA to coordinate efforts (especially reducing redundancy) and to make a "rental" of the railroads (as opposed to outright nationalization).   In the histories I've read, Harrison opposed the plan by McAdoo  and I can find no mention that Harrison had a role in the USRA.


Monday, April 6, 2020, 12:57:59 PM, you wrote:

Not sure. Before USRA he was chairman of an advisory board consisting of five railroad executives. I presume it was incorporated into USRA.

Jack Wyatt

On Monday, April 6, 2020, 12:27:30 PM EDT, Bill Schafer <bill4501@...> wrote:

What did he do for the USRA? I assume “he” refers to FH.

On Apr 6, 2020, at 11:58 AM, C J Wyatt <cjwyatt@...> wrote:

He was working for the USRA instead, thus he was not allowed to continue running the Southern Railway.

Jack Wyatt

On Monday, April 6, 2020, 11:28:02 AM EDT, Bill Schafer <
bill4501@...> wrote:


Bill Wright, who is working on the definitive history of Washington Union Station, raised an issue I was not aware of. He mentioned that Southern’s president, Fairfax Harrison, was one of five U. S. railroad presidents not asked to be federal managers of railroads in their regions when the USRA took over.

I did some checking with the Southern News Bulletins of the time (which were published continuously throughout federal control) and came up with this poignant note to employees from Fairfax Harrison. From the tone of the letter, he sounds like he’s bidding his final farewell. I’m not sure that he knew when, or if, he would return to the helm of the Southern.

Does anyone have any data on why Harrison did not get the federal manager’s job of the Southern Railroad Lines? E. H. Coapman, Southern’s VP-Operations, was the federal manager for the duration.

—Bill Schafer

<Fairfax Harrison Farewell note-SNB July 1918.pdf>

David Bott

Sent from David Bott's desktop PC

Join main@SouthernRailway.groups.io to automatically receive all group messages.