Woman of the Century/Lizzie E. D. Thayer
THAYER, Misa Lizzie E. D., train-dispatcher, born in Ware, Mass., 5th October, 1857. Her family removed to New London, Conn., in 1871. On her mother's side she is French and Scotch. Her grandmother was a Scotch gentle-woman, Selina Simpson, of Castle Craig, Scotland, who eloped from a French convent with Ariel de la Roque, a captain in the French navy, and came to the United States after being disowned by her family. On her father's side she is related to the late President Thiers, of France, and to the Revolutionary general, Nathaniel Green. She inherits all the best traits of her family on both sides. LIZZIE E. D. THAYER. She was educated thoroughly, and is a graduate of the young ladies' high school in New London. She has been a telegraph operator since 1878, and was employed in various New England offices of the Western Union Telegraph Company and one year in an office of the New York and New England Railroad. In 1889 she entered the service of the New London Northern Railroad, which extends from New London, Conn., to Brattleboro, Vt, a distance of one-hundred-twenty-one miles. Not a mile of the road is double-tracked. The road is leased by the Central Vermont and is one of the principal outlets of that system. It does a large freight business, connecting with the "Soo" limes, the Canadian Pacific, the Canadian Atlantic and the Erie Dispatch. There are forty-eight regular trains on the time-table, and many extra ones, both freight and passenger. In the summer, excursion trains are run at frequent intervals. Over all the immense business of the line she exercises supervision. It w.is not intended that she should he the train-dispatcher of the road. She had been the train-dispatcher's assistant for nearly a year, and he resigned. There was no one else to take his place, and Miss Thayer was put in charge temporarily. She had received a great deal of information while acting as assistant, and was able to do all his duties. The officials of the road looked high and low for a man who had the necessary qualifications. Their search was in vain. Meantime the road was running along as usual. Finally they got tired of looking for a man whom they could not find, and, as Miss Thayer's work had been satisfactory, she was made the official train-dispatcher. For the first seven months she held the place without assistance of any kind, and was on duty daily from 7 a. m. until 9 p. m. She has a man assistant now, and that makes her work much lighter, but it does not relieve her of responsibility. During the two years of her service there has not been a single accident for which she was in any way to blame. She has her office in New London. She is the first and only woman in the world to hold the important position of train-dispatcher. Her subordinates are firmly held in hand, but she is popular with all the employés of the road.