Southern Pacific Yardmaster


Identified with the  Southern Pacific Railroad Company for over thiry-one years as general yardmaster, George Douglas Cotton is a native of Illinois, having been born in Chicago on July 6, 1867, a son of Edward Eliza Frances (Carey) Cotton.  His father , for years a traveling sales man, was born in New York State and was descended from English ancestry, the family being among the Puritan settlers of Massachusetts.

 Patriots in every generation, his ancestors served in the War of 1812, the Revolutionary War, the Civil War, as well as the Spanish-American War and the World War.  Mrs. Cotton was born in Troy N.Y., a daughter of Harvey and Jane (Russell) Carey, also of an old New England family and Revolutionary stock.  She died in Oakland in 1914, Edward Cotton having passed away in 1888.  Of their three children, George is the eldest and was reared in Erie, Pa, the Cotton family having moved to Pennsylvania when he was a young lad, and thus, he was educated in the public schools of that state, and in the city of Erie, as well as an advanced school under Professor Diefenbaugh.  When he became sixteen years of age, he joined the ranks of the Pennsylvania railroad system and here he was employed in yard service for three years;  he then went to the Lake Shore and Michigan Southern railroad and was in their train service for a period of one year and then going with the Chicago. Milwaukee and St. Paul Railroad Company, he worked in the same service with headquarters in Minneapolis, Minn.., until he came to the coast, in 1890.  He was employed in the Oakland yards as general yardmaster for the Southern Pacific railroad, and during his stay in Oakland built a residence on Thirty-seventy Street near Telegraph; then in 1907 he was transferred to San Francisco n the same capacity and continued there, with the Southern Pacific Railroad Cpmpany until 1914 when he was transferred to San Jose, having in all served this company for thiry-one years as general yardmaster.

Mr. Cotton's marriage in Oakland united him with Miss Harriet C. Hunter, a native daughter of California, have been born in Ukiah;  her parents were easterners who crossed the plains in pioneer days. Mr. and Mrs. Cotton are the parents of two children, Harriet and Geraldine.   Mr. Cotton was very active during the World War in the war drives, taking part in the Liberty Loan, Red Cross and other war drives.  He is ia Mason, a member of Alcatraz Lodge NO. 244, F. & A. M.  and alcatraz Chapter No. 82, R. A. M. , both of Oakland; and a member of the Brotherhood of Railroad Trainmen, having been secretary of the local order for many years and a member for thiry-five years  In national politics he is a stanch Republican, but in local matters he is very lieberal in his views, voting of the men and the best measures and always on the side of progress and the upbuilding of his community.

Transcribed by Carolyn Feroben, from Eugene T. Sawyers' History of Santa Clara County,California,  published by Historic Record Co. , 1922. page 669