Holladay, Ben

Holladay, Ben

(1819–87) stagecoach operator, financier; born in Carlisle County, Ky. He moved to Missouri and operated a store and hotel. He furnished supplies for the U.S. Army during the Mexican War and bought oxen and wagons for bargain prices at the end of that conflict. He entered into trade with Salt Lake City and then with California. He bought the Central Overland California and Pike's Peak Express for $100,000. He reorganized these stagecoach expresses and held the mail contracts. His business suffered from Indian uprisings (1864–65) and he sold it to Wells Fargo and Company (1866). He entered into steamship and railroad companies but he was devastated by the Panic of 1873. He retired in 1876. Two of his daughters married titled Europeans.
The Cambridge Dictionary of American Biography, by John S. Bowman. Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1995. Reproduced with permission.