Archive:The Descendants of John Whitney, page 632

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The Descendants of John Whitney, Who Came from London, England, to Watertown, Massachusetts, in 1635, by Frederick Clifton Pierce (Chicago: 1895)

Transcribed by the Whitney Research Group, 1999.

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In February, 1889, a line of twenty motor cars from Bowdoin square, Boston, to Harvard square, Cambridge, was inaugurated, and so successfully by the Thomson- Houston Electric Co., that Mr. WHITNEY, six months later gave an order for 600 additional motors. This was the beginning of the great electric system, which is to-day both the pride and the boast of Boston. Since then, the history of the West End Street Railway has been one of constant development and of rapid improvement. Gigantic power stations have been erected, which are marvels of engineering skill; more modern models of apparatus have replaced those of older and less efficient types; nearly 16,000 horse-power are being daily furnished by the electric generators at these stations, and over 1,200 motors are under 469 electric cars. Although but 100 miles of the 260 operated by the com- pany are equipped with the electric system, suburban property reached by the sys- tem has appreciated in value over 100 per cent. To this grand result the best skill of this country has contributed; but, to the credit of the company it should be added, that its own corps of engineers have super- vised the work. This work has not progressed, however, without opposition. Upon several occasions ignorance and prejudice have combined to stay the progress of the growth, which means so much to the body politic. How ably this opposition has been met by Mr. WHITNEY is evidenced by the numerous addresses which he has been forced to make within the past two years. While he has contested for rights which, in justice to his corporation and himself, are vital to the future welfare of the enterprise, he has never yet lost sight of the fact that argument and not anger, courtesy and not disdain, are the best weapons to use in dealing with an enlightened public. Mr. WHITNEY's home is in Brookline. It was in this beautiful but quiet town that he first met Miss Margaret Foster GREEN, to whom he was married on Oct. 3, 1878. The union has been blessed by the birth of one son and four daughters. The summer home of the family is at Cohasset. Mr. WHITNEY's success in life has been phenomenal, a surprise even to his most intimate friends. The West End enterprise has not required the whole of his time by any means, and his name is associated with several other prosperous corpora- tions, notably the Hancock Inspirator Co., the Never-Slip Horseshoe Co., the Met- ropolitan Steamship Co., and several others. In all of these enterprises he has largely invested capital and actively directed their policy. The personal appearance of Mr. WHITNEY is clearly indicated by his portrait. There is no mistaking the look of firmness and decision which his eyes flash upon all occasions; but it is a look tempered by refined courtesy and kindness, except when it confronts a man unworthy of his trust. Frank, outspoken and confiding himself, Mr. WHITNEY regards nothing more despicable than deceit. He is of medium stat- ure, rather stout and somewhat inclined to stoop when walking. He appreciates a sound mind in a sound body and is happily blest in the possession of both. He is quick in all his actions - perhaps nervously so - and equally as quick to decide a ques- tion. In social intercourse he appears to be more a good listener that a good talker; and yet few persons can recite a more taking anecdote or more keenly relish one. As is generally conceded, he is a most impressive public speaker, and always com- mands the attention even of his opponents. He possesses a wonderful memory, a deep sense of the value of facts and figures, and rarely advances an argument that does not rest on such. His address to the state legislature in March 1891, is an illustrious example of this assertion. There is always a sincere purpose underlying his speeches; this he expounds with the earnestness of SUMNER and the graceful dic- tion of PHILLIPS. Mr. WHITNEY bears a big heart, filled with the tenderest sympathy towards those of his fellow-men who are worthy of it. His generosity is proverbial, his charities are dispensed freely, unostentatiously and with discretion; and many there are who to-day are indebted to him for their success in life. Happy in his home, true to his friendships, appreciative of all efforts that tend to uplift humanity and ever ready to assist them, he enjoys the universal respect of the community. The best tribute that I can pay to the man and his achievements is the assertion that he is the idol of every one in his employ; add. 81 Milk St., Boston, Mass; res. Brookline, Mass. 9585. i. RUTH BOWMAN, b. Dec. 1, 1879. 9586. ii. ELINOR GREEN, b. Jan 18, 1881. 9587. iii. LAURA COLLINS, b. June 20, 1882. 9588. iv. JAMES SCOLLY, b. June 20, 1886. 9589. v. MARGARET, b. Apr. 1891.

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