Collis Potter Huntington

Collis Potter Huntington

Harwinton, Litchfield County, Connecticut, USA
Death 13 Aug 1900 (aged 79)
Adirondack, Warren County, New York, USA
Burial Bronx, Bronx County, New York, USA
Plot Magnolia Plot, Sections 4, 9
Memorial ID 527 · View Source
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19th Century American businessman and railroad magnate, best known as a founding partner of the Central Pacific Railroad. He was born Collis Potter Huntington, the son of a poor farmer, on April 16, 1821, in Harwinton, Connecticut. After he had worked as a farm hand long enough to save $175, he moved to New York and sold watches until 1842, when he was able to raise enough money to go into partnership with his brother in the general merchandise business at Oneonta, N. Y. Six years later he went to Sacramento, California and began doing business under a tent, selling implements and necessaries to miners. Huntington then went into partnership in the hardware business with Mark Hopkins. Later on Leland Stanford and the Charles Crocker joined them to form the “Big Four” partners backing the effort to build the eastbound portion of the transcontinental railroad. Huntington, Hopkins, Crocker, and Stanford, went to work on a scheme, and the survey of the Sierra Nevada Mountains for a trans-continental railroad was made on money advanced by them. As Governor of California at the time, Stanford was also able to supply considerable funding, land grants, etc. from the State of California. The result was the organization of the Central Pacific Railroad company, with Stanford, president, Huntington, vice-president, and Hopkins, treasurer, with a capital of $8,500,000. Subsequent undertakings more vast followed, which included the first railroad feat of planning and perfecting the whole California railroad system of 8,900 miles of track. Next followed the construction of the Southern Pacific railroad from San Francisco through Los Angeles, Arizona, New Mexico and Texas, a track from ocean to ocean, and the merging of twenty-six corporations with 9,000 miles of track into the organization known as the Southern Pacific company. The Chesapeake & Ohio railroad was next completed, after the state of Virginia had failed to complete it. Mr. Huntington then pushed his connections westward, through West Virginia, Kentucky, Tennessee and Mississippi, until he was able to ride his own private rail car over his own tracks from the gateway of the Old Dominion on the Atlantic to the Golden Gate on the Pacific coast, a feat accomplished by no other railroad man in America. Mr. Huntington also founded the city of Newport News, Va., and invested more than $7,000,000 in a ship-yard there, which employed 4,000 men and turned out battleships. In private life, he married Elizabeth T. Stoddard, of Cornwall, Connecticut on September 16, 1844. She died in 1883. He married his second wife, Mrs. Arabella D. Worsham on July 12, 1884. The couple had two adopted children. He died at his wilderness camp, Pine Knot, in the Adirondacks, August 13, 1900.

Bio by: Edward Parsons

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  • Maintained by: Find a Grave
  • Added: 31 Dec 2000
  • Find a Grave Memorial 527
  • Find a Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for Collis Potter Huntington (16 Apr 1821–13 Aug 1900), Find a Grave Memorial no. 527, citing Woodlawn Cemetery, Bronx, Bronx County, New York, USA ; Maintained by Find A Grave .