The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 67, July 1963 - April, 1964

Sdevi4i A. rraor, 1878-1934
W. ERNEST THOMPSON*
WHEN THE LITTLE COAL-BURNER, WITH ITS MIXED TRAIN,
came to a stop at the lonely Cotton Belt depot, in Hills-
boro, Texas, on that December night, in 1898, a heavy
rain was falling. The depot marked the end of the forty mile
stretch of rails leading from the Cotton Belt Main Line at Corsi-
cana to Hillsboro. The line, which served five little towns be-
tween its terminals, was known as the Hillsboro Tap. The cheer-
ful whistle no longer floats across the black prairies, for the Tap
is no more. It served its time in the days of dirt roads and horse
and buggy travel.
Among the passengers was a young man of twenty, with a whip-
cord frame and a cheap suit of clothes, Melvin A. Traylor. When
the conductor told him the day coach would not be used until
the return trip the next morning, he got permission to sleep in
it that night. He did not know it then, but he had reached the
half-way mark between his humble beginning and leadership of
men. Twenty years before that night he lay in a cradle in a log
cabin home in the mountains of Kentucky. Less than twenty
years later, he would, as a Chicago banker, stand before six hun-
dred bankers of the Seventh Federal Reserve District in Chicago
and call their attention to the fact that men were dying in Flan-
ders Field, and that foot-dragging must stop, for the United States
government needed funds to carry on the war. His reward would
be rousing applause and oversubscription of the quota for Liberty
Loan Bonds.
Three states have a right to be proud of Melvin Traylor. Al-
though a Kentucky farm was his birthplace, Texas was his train-
ing ground for a career of which he did not dream when he
*The writer acknowledges gratefully help extended by many persons-from Texas
towns to financial marts. Melvin's widow, Dorothy Traylor; his son, Melvin A.
Traylor, Jr.; and his brother, George Traylor; the boards of trustees of North-
western University and of Berea College, James B. Forgan, Herbert Hoover, and
Joe B. Frantz have all added to the fund of information.

Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 67, July 1963 - April, 1964. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101197/. Accessed August 31, 2014.