Thomas Scott (December 28, 1823 – May 21, 1881) was an American business person, railroad executive, and industrialist.
Scott took a special interest in mentoring aspiring railroad employees such as Andrew Carnegie.
This should be a reminder to you that almost everyone who has accomplished anything noteworthy with their lives has had at least one mentor to guide them along their path so success.
Among Scott's employees was Andrew Carnegie, whom Scott came to mentor after hiring him as his personal telegraph operator and later his assistant. Scott taught him much about railroads and business methods, and Carnegie went on to become one of America's leading businessmen in the late nineteenth century.
A respected railroad man of his generation, Thomas Alexander Scott (1823-1881) was instrumental in the expansion of Pennsylvania Railroad, though he failed to realize his vision of a true transcontinental railroad. Scott also played a significant role in the use of rail travel for the Union war effort during the Civil War.
He was the president of the Pennsylvania Railroad from 1874, upon the death of his partner Thomson, until 1880. The Pennsylvania Railroad expanded from a company of railway lines within Pennsylvania through the 1840s and 1850s, to a transportation empire from the 1860s onwards.
Scott was born on December 28, 1823, in Fort Loudon, Pennsylvania (some sources say London, Franklin County, Pennsylvania). He was the seventh child born to Thomas Scott and had four younger siblings. His mother was Rebecca Douglas Scott. Scott's father ran a tavern, Tom Scott's Tavern, which was located in Franklin County on a turnpike between Philadelphia and Pittsburgh. It served as a stop for stagecoaches. Scott's father also ran a stage line.
When Scott died in 1881 his Pennsylvania Railroad was one of the two largest railroads in the nation, partly because of all the business they’d gotten from John D Rockefeller’s Standard Oil Company. Scott had had some financial troubles, but he was certainly not a “broken man.”
And the financial hardships he was suffering at that time had very little to do with Rockefeller. Scott had over-extended himself investing in a southern railroad in the early 1870’s, and then tried, unsuccessfully, to get Carnegie to bail him out financially. The relationship between Carnegie and Scott was always frosty after that. By the time Scott died he and Carnegie had long since ceased to be close personal friends.