Term: Bacon, Edward Payson 1834 - 1916
grain trader, promoter of railroad rate regulation, b. Reading Township, Steuben (now Schuyler) County, N.Y. After intermittent schooling, he worked for various eastern railroads and in 1855 moved to Chicago to take charge of the freight department for the Michigan Southern & Northern Indiana R.R. In 1856 he moved to Milwaukee, and spent the next nine years (1856-1865) organizing and supervising the administrative offices of the Milwaukee and Mississippi R.R. Co. (part of Milwaukee & Prairie du Chien after 1861). In this capacity he developed methods of accounting and conducting freight and passenger departments that came into widespread use on western railroads. In 1865 he entered the grain-commission business, was immediately successful, and eventually became one of the largest grain traders in the Midwest. During the early 1900's, Bacon was one of the leaders of the movement to promote more equitable railroad rates and was the spokesman of a nationwide association of commercial organizations lobbying for a more powerful Interstate Commerce Commission. The agitation was instrumental in securing the passage of the Hepburn Act in 1906, which gave the I.C.C. power to determine reasonable rates and make these rates binding pending a court decision. He was vice-president of the National Board of Trade (1884-1889), and a member (1865-1893) and president (1891-1893) of the Milwaukee Chamber of Commerce. He was an organizer and active supporter of the Milwaukee YMCA, and a member of the board of trustees of Beloit College, where he established several scholarships. Dict. Amer. Biog.; Who's Who in Amer., 5 (1908); Milwaukee Journal, Feb. 26, 1916; E. B. Usher, Wis. (8 vols., Chicago, 1914).
View newspaper clippings at Wisconsin Local History and Biography Articles.
[Source: Dictionary of Wisconsin biography]