Gained practical insight into railroad construction in youth from his father. Principal assistant in building Macon & Western R.R., 1848. Went to California during gold rush, 1849.
Became city surveyor San Jose (California), circa 1850. Returned to Georgia, 1854, built Montgomery & West Point R.R. Granted subsidy (with Frank Gilmer) by Confederate Government to erect Oxmoor (Alabama) furnaces to provide war materials, during Civil War.
Associate with S.& N. Alabama R.R. Formed Elyton Land Company (which founded Birmingham, Alabama), 1871. Organized Newcastle Coal & Iron Company, 1873, Milner Coal & Railroad Company, 1879.
Member Alabama Senate from Jefferson County, 1888-1896.