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Sullivan, Parks, Wheeler, & Hawkins

Benjamin Franklin Bush (1859-1927)

St. Louis Post-Dispatch, 29 July 1927, page 2

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Benjamin F. Bush, vice president and director of the Boatmen's national Bank and formerly president and chairman of the board of the Missouri Pacific Railroad, died at St. Luke's Hospital today of cerebral arterio-sclerosis. He was 67 years old and had been in ill health for several months. He went to the hospital from his home, 5324 Waterman avenue, a week ago Saturday.

Funeral services will be held at the Second Presbyterian Church Sunday afternoon, the body lying on view there from 2 until 3 o'clock. Interment will be in Bellefontaine Cemetery.

Mr. Bush is survived by his widow, Mrs. Catherine I. [Hawkins] Bush, a former member of the Board of Education; and a daughter, Mrs. George W. Holmes.

He was born July 5, 1860, in Wellsboro, Pa. After his school course in his home town, he attended the State Normal School at Mansfield, Pa., and studied surveying. His first railroad job was a rodman on the Northern Pacific. He was promoted to be a division engineer, and went to the Union Pacific, for which he was engineer in charge of the Idaho and Oregon divisions for two years. He left railroad work for a few years to manage a realty improvement project in Oregon. In 1896 he became manager of a company which controlled the Northern Pacific's coal properties. In 1903 he was made fuel manager of the Missouri Pacific, with charge of the coal properties of the Gould interests in the West and Southwest.

For four years 1907 to 1911, Mr. Bush was president of the Western Maryland Railroad, with an interval in which he served as receiver.

In the same period, by appointment of President Roosevelt, he served as a member of the Government's advisory board on fuels and structural materials, his specialty being fuel.

"Times-Picayune," 31 Jul 1927, page 6

Hundreds of Missouri Pacific trains will come to a full stop at 3 o'clock Sunday afternoon and remain motionless for sixty seconds as a mark of tribute to Benjamin F. Bush for twelve years president of the company. Mr. Bush died Friday morning and funeral services will be conducted Sunday.

President L. W. Baldwin, in announcing today the decision to halt all trains and locomotives at the time set for the services to commence, declared the cessation of all activities had been decided upon not only as a symbol of the company's high regard for Mr. Bush's long and valuable services but as a mark of the high esteem and respect in which he was held by the Missouri Pacific's army of employes.

Mr. Bush, who commenced his railroad career as a roadman with an engineering crew on the Northern Pacific, had what was regarded as a remarkable railroad career, advancing in succession to division engineer, chief engineer, general superintendent, general manager and to the presidency of the Missouri Pacific railroad in 1911.

Before the election of Mr. Bush to the presidency of the Missouri Pacific and Iron Mountain in 1911, the lines had suffered in public estimation through absentee management, by the Goulds in New York, and through political intrigues. When Mr. Bush arrived in St. Louis to take charge of the Missouri Pacific, he announced that he had "cut the wires" between his office and New York. The Business Men's League (now the Chamber of Commerce) tendered him a dinner at which Gov. Hadley and former Gov. Francis were chief speakers.

In a little more than two years after he took the Missouri Pacific presidency, Mr. Bush was made president of the Denver & Rio Grande and of the Western Pacific. He found the direction of these added lines too great an undertaking, and in 1915 he retired from the Rio Grande and Western Pacific presidencies, to give his whole attention to the Missouri Pacific and Iron Mountain.

The Missouri Pacific and Iron Mountain went into a receivership in August, 1915. By request of all interests concerned, bondholders, stockholders and creditors, Mr. Bush was named by the United States Court as sole receiver. He held that position until the lines went out of the receivership June 1, 1917. The name "Iron Mountain" for the Arkansas and Texas lines was then dropped, the entire system was organized under the name of the Missouri Pacific, and Mr. Bush was elected president.

When the United States Government took over the railroads at the beginning of 1918, Mr. Bush was named as regional director of the Southwestern region. In this position, for two years and two months, he had control of all the lines of this section. Upon the restoration of corporate control of the roads, March 1, 1920, he was made president of the Missouri Pacific.

In April, 1923, Mr. Bush was made chairman of the board of directors of the Missouri Pacific, and was succeeded by L. Warrington Baldwin in the office of president. At that time, general railroad consolidation under a regional plan was being discussed by railroad representatives with Government authorities, and Mr. Bush took an active part in the attempt to obtain a favorable allotment of lines to the Missouri Pacific group.

After a year, Mr. Bush retired from the chairmanship of the board, being succeeded by W. H. Williams of New York. He became a vice president of the Boatmen's National Bank, and he gave much time to his model farm, the former Colman place in St. Louis County. Colman station, on the Creve Coeur branch of the Missouri Pacific, was renamed Benbush in his honor. Mr. Bush continued to be a member of the Missouri Pacific directorate.

A resident of both county and city, Mr. Bush took an active interest in public affairs. In the merger campaign of 1916, he was head of the county organization which successfully opposed the proposal to incorporate the whole of St. Louis County in the City of St. Louis.

Word of Mr. Bush's death and funeral arrangement was telegraphed today by the Missouri Pacific to all of its employees, to railroad presidents throughout the nation, and to hundreds of Mr. Bush's friends.

[Also see: pallbearers]