Gazlay Family History

SearchSources: Biographic Study of David McGregor

This biographic study of David McGregor, apparently written shortly after his death, indicates that it was published by Historical Records, New York, 1944. A few copies are known to exist among David’s descendants, but none have been found in any public repositories (libraries, etc.). The document is bound in black leather with David’s name and a single line border embossed in gilt. Opposite the title page is his photograph captioned with a fascimile of his signature. The text in the original document occupies four unnumberd pages, all printed on the recto side only. The entire text is presented below (formatting varies from the original).

Biography Cover
David McGregor
Photo and Signature
Title Page
Title Page


Retired Engineer


OR the greater part of his long professional career as an engineer, the late David McGregor was prominently identified with the development and management of the street railway system of New Jersey. A veteran in this branch of engineering, he first became connected with it in the early days of the electrification of street railways and during the succeeding years he came to be known as an outstanding expert. Indirectly his work, which was centered chiefly in Newark and its vicinity, contributed greatly to the vast growth which this locality has enjoyed during the last half century. There he had a very large circle of friends and acquaintances, especially in Masonic circles, having long held high offices, both in his own Masonic Lodge and in the Grand Lodge of New Jersey.

David McGregor was born at Dunfermline, Fifeshire, Scotland, September 7, 1864, a son of the late William and Margaret (Brown) McGregor, both natives of Scotland. His father, who was an expert dresser in a linen factory for many years, died at Dunfermline at the age of ninety-seven years, being the oldest resident of his town at the time of his death. Mr. McGregor received his education at Lisburn, near Belfast, in the North of Ireland, to which his family had moved during his childhood, this town being also a famous linen manufacturing center. However, when he was about seventeen years old, the family returned to their old home in Scotland. For a number of years young McGregor worked in the linen industry at Dunfermline. In January, 1889, he came to the United States, where he continued to make his home from then until his death. At first he continued his connection with the linen industry, being employed for a number of years by Sweetser, Pembrook & Company, a leading linen concern of that period in New York City.

Before long, however, Mr. McGregor took up the study of engineering under the guidance of a well known professor of engineering in Brooklyn, New York. After the successful completion of his studies, he entered the employ of the Rapid Transit Company of Newark, New Jersey. For several years he was in charge of the Central Avenue Line of this company. Then, for about six months, he was connected with an electrical railway of Brooklyn, N.Y. At the end of this period he returned to New Jersey and became connected with the Radel South Orange Avenue Railroad. Later he was sent by his firm to Connecticut, where he spent several years. Returning again to New Jersey, he was made chief engineer for his firm at New Brunswick, where he served very successfully in that capacity for some ten years. Next he was placed in charge of the building of the power station of the Public Service Corporation of New Jersey at Perth Amboy, New Jersey. For four years after its completion he remained in charge of it, after which he returned once more to Newark, New Jersey, and was placed in charge of the Dock and Coal Street Station of the Public Service Corporation. He remained there until about 1929, when he became connected with the laboratories of the Corporation at Irvington, New Jersey. There he spent the last five years of his active career as an engineer, retiring in 1934. After his retirement Mr. McGregor wrote a history of transportation in New Jersey, for the writing of which he was expecially well qualified by his long and varied experience in this field.

Mr. McGregor’s chief interest outside his professional work and his home and family was Free Masonry. He was a Past Master of Union Lodge, Free and Accepted Masons, of Orange, New Jersey, and Grand Historian of the New Jersey Grand Lodge, Free and Accepted Masons. For the latter position he was exceptionally well equipped. For over a period of many years he had spent much time in reading books on Free Masonry and he himself was the author of a history of Free Masonry in New Jersey, which is generally recognized as an important contribution to Masonic literature. His religious affiliation was with the Presbyterian church and he was an active and helpful member of the First Presbyterian Church of Orange, New Jersey.

Mr. McGregor married, in New York City, April 25, 1890, Nellie B. Patterson, daughter of George and Euphemia (Philip) Patterson. They became the parents of five children: 1. Effie who died at the age of seven years. 2. Margaret B., now Mrs. John P. Mailler, 3. Ida Jane, now Mrs. Wilson Roby. 4. Grace, now Mrs. William S. Kiloh. 5. William P. McGregor. At the time of his death Mr. McGregor was survived, besides by his widow and four of his five children, also by eight grandchildren and one great-granddaughter: Helen Jane Mailler, John P. Mailler, Jr., William David Mailler, David Mailler, Wilson Roby, Jr., David McGregor Roby, Doris M. McGregor, Ruth McGregor, and Barbara Lee Mailler, the great-granddaughter.

At his home in West Orange No. 5 McKinley Avenue, David McGregor died on February 12, 1944. His death in his eightieth year ended an unusually long and useful life. His passing was deeply regretted by his very large circle of friends, who will always remember him for his many fine qualities of the mind and heart and will miss his genial companionship. Much of the work which he accomplished during his long and busy career was of great public importance and will long stand as a monument to his ability, industry and devotion to duty.

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