Jackson County

Biography - William Bryden

WILLIAM BRYDEN. A self-made man, who has forged ahead through persistency and initiative, is William Bryden, superintendent of the Wabash, Chester & Western Railway Company, with headquarters and residence at Chester, Illinois. Mr. Bryden was born at Dunmore, Pennsylvania, on the 26th of March, 1866, and he is a son of William Bryden, a practical coal miner during much of his active career. William Bryden, Sr., was born in Scotland, whence he immigrated to America as a youth. After his arrival in this country he located in Pennsylvania, where he was employed in the coke and coal fields for a number of years and where he was eventually made superintendent for the Pennsylvania Coal Company at Dunmore. He came to Illinois in the seventies and was superintendent of the Carbondale Coal & Coke Company at the time of his demise, in 1878, aged fifty-one years. He married Margaret Brown, who passed away in Carbondale in 1897, and the issue of their union were: Miss Agnes Bryden, who was for many years cashier of the Carbondale Trust & Savings Bank at Carbondale prior to her death in 1909; Mrs. J. E. Craine, of Murphysboro, Illinois; Mrs. J. N. Fitch, of Cobden, Illinois, Miss Helen Bryden, a member of the faculty of the Southern Illinois Normal University of Carbondale; and William Bryden, Jr., the immediate subject of this review.

William Bryden was but a child at the time of his parents' removal from the old Keystone state of the Union to Carbondale, Illinois, where he received his preliminary educational training and where he grew to maturity. As a youth he became interested in railroad work and began his career by learning telegraphy at Murphysboro, Illinois. His first position as an independent operator was with the St. Louis Coal Railroad and his next work was in Chester, from which place he went to Cutler as agent and operator on the Wabash, Chester & West-ville, New Orleans & Texas Railway at New Orleans and at other points and when he left that company he spent a few months with the Mobile & Ohio and the Illinois Central at Cairo, Illinois. From June 1, 1885, to May 15, 1886, he was agent at Cutler, Illinois, for the Wabash, Chester & Western Road; and from June 1 1887 to 1890 he was agent at Menard Illinois, and on the latter date he came to Chester as assistant agent, acting in that capacity until September, 1893, when he was made agent. Subsequently he was promoted to the position of trainmaster, and he continued both as agent and trainmaster until April 15, 1911, when he succeeded Henry Mason as superintendent of the road.

The Wabash, Chester & Western Railway was built in 1872 and extends from Chester to Mount Vernon, Illinois, a distance of 65 miles. It passes through the Southern Illinois coal fields and its tonnage consists chiefly of the output of the mines and of merchandise carried in and out along the route. Very little attention is given to passenger traffic. Although a dirt road bed is maintained, it is kept in splendid condition by the management and its equipment is ample for the needs of the company. Superintendent Bryden has grown up with the road and he is familiar with every phase of its physical condition, this knowledge making him particularly well fitted for the important position he occupies. Mr. Bryden's life has been studiously devoted to the service of his company. Politics and fraternities have not attracted him and his progress is entirely due to his own well directed endeavors. He exercises his franchise in favor of the Republican party.

At Chester, Illinois, on the 12th of March, 1889, was solemnized the marriage of Mr. Bryden to Miss Emma Gausmann, who is a daughter of Frank Gansmann, a German by birth and a blacksmith by occupation. Mr. and Mrs. Bryden have two children,- Margaret and Frank W.

Extracted from 1912 A History of Southern Illinois, volume 2, page 577.

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