Ira G. Rawn

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Ira G. Rawn
Born August 20, 1855
Delaware, Ohio
Died July 20, 1910(1910-07-20) (aged 54)
Winnetka, Illinois
Cause of death self-inflicted gunshot
Occupation railroad executive

Ira Griffith Rawn (August 20, 1855 – July 20, 1910)[1] was General Manager of Baltimore and Ohio Railroad from 1904 to 1907, vice president of Illinois Central Railroad from 1907 to 1909 and president of Monon Railroad from November 1909 until his death.[2][3][4][5]

Early life and career[edit]

Ira G. Rawn was born on August 20, 1855, in Delaware, Ohio,[1][2] the son of Peter and Sarah Rawn.[6]

By 1870, at age 15, Ira Rawn was listed in the 1870 U.S. census as a telegraph operator.[6] Rawn began his railway career with the Big Four Railroad in 1880 as a telegraph operator and was subsequently promoted to trainmaster. In 1887 he took the position of Master of Transportation for Kentucky Central Railroad. In 1889 he became the Division Superintendent and Superintendent of Transportation for Chesapeake and Ohio Railroad, then became General Superintendent of Baltimore and Ohio Railroad's (B&O) Southwestern division in 1890. In 1904 Rawn was appointed General Manager of the B&O. He left the B&O to become the Vice President of Operations for Illinois Central Railroad in 1907, then was elected president of the Monon Railroad in 1909.[2][7] His term as president of the Monon began on November 1, 1909, and ended with his death on July 20, 1910.[8]

Car repair contract scandal[edit]

The Illinois Central filed suit in Chicago Circuit Court on June 6, 1910, alleging that when it closed its own car repair shops in 1906, several executives of the railroad conspired to defraud it of large amounts of money through overcharging on repair contracts. Rawn's involvement was alleged to be the executive who approved the contracts while knowing that the contractors were deliberately overcharging.[2] Other reports indicate that Rawn may have been bribed to approve the contracts.[9]

Death and inquest[edit]

Rawn died from a gunshot on July 20, 1910, at his home in Winnetka, a suburb of Chicago.[2][10][11] Reports at the time note that the injury may have been self-inflicted as legal proceedings had implicated Rawn as responsible for corrupt railway car repair contracts with the Illinois Central Railroad from which the railroad lost more than $1 million.[2][3] He had been called to the witness stand several times in the weeks leading up to his death but had only answered a few questions and had been permitted to leave for various reasons several times.[2]

Although his family members claimed that the wound was incurred in self-defense from a burglar, investigating police at the scene disputed this assertion.[4] Pinkertons also investigated into Rawn's death and found evidence to support the family's claim of self-defense.[12] Reports surfaced that a second bullet was found in the fireplace ashes near his body,[13][14] and on July 22, coroner Peter Hoffman announced that he had received a letter identifying a black man by name as the burglar but Hoffman would not divulge the name that was in the letter except to police investigating the case.[14][15] But a subsequent inquest into his death ruled after lengthy deliberation on July 29 in favor of the opinion that Rawn was killed by a shot from his own weapon that was fired by his own hand. The inquest did not, however, affirm whether it was a suicide attempt or an accident; the jurors worded the verdict in such a way as not to jeopardize the family's claims on Rawn's life insurance policies,[16] which were valued in excess of $100,000.[14]

A month after his death, there was an attempt to steal papers related to the scandal from the home of his daughter and son-in-law while they were out of town, but the theft was interrupted by a watchman.[17]

Ira Rawn was buried in Rosehill Cemetery on July 22, 1910.[1]

Family details[edit]

Ira Rawn married Florence Willis on October 5, 1880, in Delaware, Ohio,[10][18][19][20] and together they had three daughters: Sarah Elizabeth, Katherine (Coburn) and Florence.[19][21][22] He was survived by his wife, Florence.[10]


  1. ^ a b c "Ira G. Rawn, 20 Jul 1910". FamilySearch. "Illinois, Cook County Deaths, 1878-1922," index. Retrieved November 22, 2013. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f g "I. G. Rawn Shot Dead; Suicide Suspected". New York Times. July 21, 1910. Retrieved November 22, 2013. 
  3. ^ a b "Ira G. Rawn Died on Eve of Exposure". San Francisco Call. July 22, 1910. Retrieved November 22, 2013. 
  4. ^ a b "Ira G. Rawn Said to be a Suicide" (PDF). New York Tribune. LXX (23,258). July 21, 1910. Retrieved November 22, 2013. 
  5. ^ Monon Railroad Historical and Technical Society (2004–2006). "Presidents, Receivers and Trustees". Retrieved November 22, 2013. 
  6. ^ a b "Ohio, United States; citing p. 46, family 332, NARA microfilm publication M593, FHL microfilm 000552695". FamilySearch. 1870 U.S. census. Retrieved November 24, 2013. 
  7. ^ "Rawn to Head the Monon". Railway World. Philadelphia: 850. October 15, 1909. Retrieved November 22, 2013. 
  8. ^ Harrison, Fairfax (1910). Thirteenth Annual Report of the Chicago, Indianapolis & Louisville Railway Company. Chicago: Stromberg, Allen & Co. Retrieved November 22, 2013. 
  9. ^ "Said Rawn was Bribed". New York Times. August 27, 1910. Retrieved November 22, 2013. 
  10. ^ a b c Rader, Perry S. (1912). Reports of Cases Determined by the Supreme Court of the State of Missouri Between December 23, 1911, and February 6, 1912. 239. Columbia, Missouri: E. W. Stephens. pp. 146–149. Retrieved November 22, 2013. 
  11. ^ "Suicide Say Police When Man Is Shot". Bisbee Daily Review. 13 (60). Bisbee, Arizona. July 21, 2013. p. 1. Retrieved November 22, 2013. 
  12. ^ "Pinkertons Claim Murder". The Bourbon News. Paris, Kentucky. July 26, 1910.  Article transcription at Cook County, Illinois, Genealogy Trails, accessed November 22, 2013.
  13. ^ "Rawn Feared Exposure". The Georgetown Daily Item. 4 (965). Georgetown, South Carolina. July 22, 1910. Retrieved November 22, 2013. 
  14. ^ a b c "Rawn Victim of Revenge?". Boston Evening Transcript. July 22, 1910. p. 3. Retrieved November 22, 2013. 
  15. ^ "Rawn Caught in Dragnet of Fraud Probe?". The Pittsburg Press. July 22, 1910. p. 24. Retrieved November 22, 2013. 
  16. ^ "Inquest Verdict Favors Theory of Rawn's Suicide". Duluth Herald. XXVIII (96). July 29, 1910. pp. 1 and 3. Retrieved November 22, 2013. 
  17. ^ "Attempt to Steal Papers". New York Times. August 15, 1910. Retrieved November 22, 2013. 
  18. ^ "Ira G. Rawn and Florence Willis, 05 Oct 1880". FamilySearch. "Ohio, Marriages, 1800-1958," index. Retrieved November 22, 2013. 
  19. ^ a b Gates, Katie E. (September 16, 2013). "Ira Griffiths Rawn". Retrieved November 22, 2013. 
  20. ^ "Ira G. Rawn and Florence Willis, 05 Oct 1880; citing Delaware, Ohio, United States, reference p39; FHL microfilm 391398". FamilySearch. "Ohio, County Marriages, 1789-1994" index and images. Retrieved November 24, 2013. 
  21. ^ "ED 271 Precinct C Cincinnati City Ward 31, Hamilton, Ohio, United States; citing sheet 16A, family 292, NARA microfilm publication T623, FHL microfilm 1241281". FamilySearch. 1900 U.S. census. Retrieved November 24, 2013. 
  22. ^ "Ralph G Coburn and Katherine Rawn, 06 Apr 1907". FamilySearch. "Illinois, Cook County Marriages, 1871-1920," index. Retrieved November 24, 2013. 

External links[edit]

Business positions
Preceded by
W. H. McDoel
President of Monon Railroad
1909 – 1910
Succeeded by
Fairfax Harrison