General Thomas Thompson Eckert

President of Western Union Telegraph Company


Publication: The New York Times

New York, NY, United States
p. 9





Gen. Thomas T. Eckert was elected President of the Western Union Telegraph Company at the meeting of the Directors yesterday. The announcement had been expected; for it was practically arranged soon after Dr. Norvin Green's death that Gen. Eckart should have the place.

The only effect of the election down town was to recall the fact that when Gen. Eckart was an operator he led one of the largest strikes that the Western Union ever had to fight. He always showed an independent spirit, even after he had risen from the ranks, for while enjoying the favor of his company and on the road to promotion he quit the company to join the Atlantic and Pacific Company. In this stop, however, he was led by Jay Gould, who greatly admired his talents and employed them in the warfare conducted against the Western Union, both by means of the Atlantic and Pacific and the American Union.

Gen. Eckert was Mr. Gould's President in both companies, and the rate wars which he directed brought about the consolidation of rival interests, and finally the Gould supremacy in Western Union. After this was accomplished Gen. Eckert became General Manager of the Western Union and Mr. Gould's chief reliance in the practical management of the company. The new President is to continue as General Manager, the old place ceasing to exist as a separate office.

Gen. Eckert has had thorough training in telegraphic work. In 1849, when but twenty-four years old, he became Postmaster at Worcester, Ohio, and learned to use a telegraphic key at that time, an instrument having been placed in the Post Office. He took charge in 1852 of the construction of a line of telegraph from Pittsburg to Chicago for the Union Telegraph Company, which afterward became part of the Western Union system. At the outbreak of the war he was placed in charge of the telegraphic service at Gen. McClellan's Headquarters, from which he was transferred to the War Department. He was one of the men appointed to meet the Confederate Commissioners at City Point in 1865.

By this time, through successive promotions, Gen. Eckert had won a brevet as Brigadier General. He was appointed Assistant Secretary of War in 1866 and resigned that position to become General Manager of the Eastern Division of the Western Union Company. He took the Presidency of the Atlantic and Pacific in 1875, and of the American Union in 1880.

The Directors yesterday declared the usual dividend of 1 1/4 per cent, and issued a quarterly statement of business. Net revenues for the quarter ending Dec. 31 were $2,012,918.42, and the estimated revenues for the quarter ending March 31 are $1,675,000. Deducting for dividend, sinking fund, and interest on bonds the estimated surplus is $6,689,818.17.

A set of resolutions on the death of Dr. Norvin Green, the late President of the corporation, was adopted. Chauncey M. Depew, whose personal and official relations with Dr. Green extended over many years, made appropriate remarks.


Keywords:Thomas Eckert : Western Union Telegraph Company : American Union Telegraph Company : CD 116 : CD 121.4 : CD 126.3
Researcher notes:The American Union Telegraph Company used CD 116, 121.4, and 126.3 insulators.
Supplemental information:Article: 7913
Researcher:Glenn Drummond
Date completed:December 8, 2007 by: Glenn Drummond;