RAILROADING had its beginning with
Scotsmen, and throughout its history has attracted the best minds of
Scotland both in its mechanical and business development. Among native
Scots in America who have attained notable distinction in this field is
Alexander Millar, who for nearly three decades has been the efficient
Secretary of one of the leading railway systems of the United States. Mr.
Millar was born, October 24, 1849, in Turiff, Aberdeenshire, where his
forbears on both sides had been farmers for generations; the elder son of
Alexander and Jane Hutcheon Millar. Of the family, one sister is living,
and a younger brother and one sister are deceased. He was educated at
Ingram’s Private School, Turiff, and for seven years engaged as a salesman
in the drapery business in Turiff and Glasgow. Many young salesmen, who
were afterward to become leaders in the dry goods business, emigrated. to
the United States in the prosperous years following the Civil War. Mr.
Millar followed friends to Boston in 1872, but the great fire of November
9, of that year, changed the current of his life. A knowledge of Isaac
Pitman’s shorthand, then very little known, secured him occupation as a
stenographer in the Union Pacific offices in Boston. He held several minor
positions in his continuous service with the company, and since 1887 has
served as Secretary of the Union Pacific Railway System.
Mr. Millar ‘s success is due to his
thorough early education and to his strict loyalty and faithfulness to his
employer, never shirking a task no matter how hard and disagreeable it
might be, and to the Scottish trait of working from the bottom up.
Mr. Millar married, May
1875, Jeanie Wilson, a native of Hamilton, Scotland,
the daughter of Robert and Margaret Arbuckle Wilson. Mrs. Millar died in
1908. Of the three sons and three daughters, the eldest son, Alfred W., is
in railroad engineering in Arizona; the second, William R., a graduate of
Yale and of Harvard Law School, is a lawyer in Los Angeles; and the third,
Harold Hutcheon, a graduate of Swarthmore, is a mechanical engineer in New
York City. Two of the daughters, Ethel M. and Bessie F., are at home, and
the youngest, Mrs. Franklin T. Towle, is married and lives in Boston.
Mr. Millar is a member of the
Congregational Church and of the Y. M. C. A. He is of genial personality,
a modest and tireless worker, and respected and honoured by a wide circle
of friends. He has been an outspoken advocate of Prohibition through local
option and of woman suffrage. He is a moderate devotee of chess and
automobiling, and outside of business is greatly interested in modern
fruit-farming, which finds expression in a beautiful hill farm in Orange
Co., N. Y., to which he has given the Scottish name, "Bonnie Brook Fruit
Farm." Mr. Millar ‘s home address is Plainfield, N. J.; his business
address, 165 Broadway.