Huntington, Collis Potter

Huntington, Collis Potter,

1821–1900, American railroad builder, b. near Torrington, Conn. A storekeeper of Oneonta, N.Y., before he went West in the gold rush of 1849, he became a storekeeper in California, and by 1853 he and his partner, Mark HopkinsHopkins, Mark,
1813–78, American railroad builder and merchant, b. Henderson, N.Y. A clerk in a village store and later a commission merchant in New York City, he was more than 35 years old when he went to California. There he became (1853) a partner of Collis P.
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, were leading Sacramento hardware merchants. Seeing the desirability of a direct route to the silver mines newly opened in what is now Nevada, Huntington, Hopkins, Charles CrockerCrocker, Charles,
1822–88, American railroad builder, b. Troy, N.Y. In 1836 he moved with his family to Marshall co., Ind., where he later set up a small foundry. He joined a party to seek gold in California in 1849.
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, and Leland StanfordStanford, Leland,
1824–93, American railroad builder, politician, and philanthropist, b. Watervliet, N.Y. After practicing law in Wisconsin, he went (1852) to California, where he became a successful merchant.
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 organized a railroad company (the Central Pacific). Huntington's financial acumen and success in winning subsidies and favorable legislation from Congress gave him and his partners practical control of transportation in the West. They consolidated their power in forming (1884) the Southern Pacific, of which Huntington was president after 1890. His vast fortune was left mostly to his nephew, Henry Edwards Huntington, except for bequests to the Hampton Normal and Agricultural Institute and the Tuskegee Normal and Industrial Institute.

Bibliography

See O. Lewis, The Big Four (1938, repr. 1963); D. Lavender, Great Persuader (1970).

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