Salvation Army pioneer commemorated

A plaque in Arbroath, Scotland, marks the life of Commissioner George Scott Railton.

A commemorative plaque marking the life of Commissioner George Scott Railton now resides in St. John’s Methodist Church in his hometown of Arbroath, Scotland.

Born in Arbroath July 6, 1849, Railton was a Salvation Army pioneer in the U.S and a similar memorial hangs in Battery Park, New York City. The Salvation Army’s U.S. Eastern Territory donated the plaque.

The son of a Methodist minister, Railton lost both parents at age 15 and was forced to go to London to find work. He joined The Salvation Army seven years later and, in 1880, traveled to New York with seven female officers to start the first Salvation Army mission in the U.S.

“Railton is one of Arbroath’s most famous sons and his role in The Salvation Army cannot be overestimated,” said Major Jim McCluskey, manager of The Salvation Army’s Community Care Service in Angus, Scotland, and a former corps officer at Arbroath. “Without him, I don’t think it would exist in the form it does today.”

Commissioner William A. Roberts, national commander of The Salvation Army in the U.S., said, “The Salvation Army in the United States will always be grateful to the pioneering work of George Scott Railton, the first national commander. Railton’s bold leadership immediately captured the attention of the American public. His fervent evangelism resulted in hundreds turning from sin and wasted lives. His organizational skills cast a sure foundation for the Army that still profits us to the present day.

“As one of those who are the beneficiaries of his legacy, first as a Salvationist and now in my present appointment as his successor as national commander, I am grateful for the fruit still born from his sowing.”

For more information on Railton visit

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