Samuel T. Bledsoe
(May 12 1868
– March 8 1939
) was the sixteenth president of Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway
Early life and family
Bledsoe was born in Clinton County, Kentucky
, on May 12 1868
. His education took him through various public and private schools in the area; he later attended the Southern Normal School
and the Business College of Bowling Green
. He then took up teaching from 1885 to 1887.
In 1888, Bledsoe moved to Texas where he studied law at the University of Texas School of Law
; he was admitted to the bar in 1890 and began his practice specializing in land and railroad issues in the Indian
territories. His first work for the Santa Fe Railroad began in 1895, which eventually led to his appointment as the railroad's general counsel in 1908. Bledsoe worked his way up through management to succeed William Benson Storey
on May 2 1933
, as president of the railroad, serving in that position until his death on March 8 1939
. Bledsoe was the first Santa Fe president to be promoted from a career path that did not lead through the operations or technical aspects of the railroad. During Bledsoe's time as president, he worked to reduce the railroad's operating expenses and bring profitability during the Great Depression
; it was also during his term that the railroad introduced diesel locomotives
into its motive power fleet and launched new passenger trains such as the famed Super Chief
Bledsoe also served as a director of the Railway Express Agency and the Continental Illinois Bank and Trust Company.
The town of Bledsoe, Texas
, was named in his honor.