|Born on||27 May 1836|
|Born in||Roxbury, New York|
|Died on||02 December 1892|
|Works & Achievements||American railroad developer, “History of Delaware County, and Border Wars of New York” and bondsman.|
Jason “Jay” Gould was the America’s top railroad developer and speculator. Born in Roxbury, New York, he was considered among the most dishonest “robber barons” of the nineteenth century American capitalism, but still was able to gain great successes, which eventually made him the ninth richest American in the entire America’s history. He built his fortune by controlling the cost of the stocks he purchased and of the stock market itself. Gould was ranked as the eighth worst CEO of America of all time by “Conde Nast Portfolio.” Gould afterward acquired the status of one of the most shrewd businessmen in the history of American industry.
Jay Gould Childhood & Early Years
On May 27, 1836, Jason Gould was born in Roxbury, New York to John Burr Gould and Mary More Gould. The ancestry of his father was of British colonial, while his mother was a Scottish. Alexander T. More, his grandfather was a businessman. Gould initially received education at the Hobart Academy. The principal of the academy helped him acquire a job of a bookkeeper for a blacksmith. After a year, the blacksmith proposed to give him half interest in his shop which he sold to his father in the early 1854. Gould continued to concentrate on his private studies, giving special emphasis on surveying and mathematics. As he acquired the skills of the same, he surveyed in 1854 and established a map of the Ulster County, New York area. Also in 1856, he completed and published “History of Delaware County, and Border Wars of New York”, which he was writing with great devotion for many years. In the same year itself, he went into a partnership with Zadock Pratt to build a tanning business in Pennsylvania in which he became “Gouldsboro.” With the course of time, he kicked and bought out Pratt who got retired.
In 1856 only, Gould joined hands with another partner, Charles Mortimer Leupp. Charles was a son-in-law of Gideon Lee, who was the top leather businessman of America at that time. The partnership was going smooth until the Panic of 1857. While the financial turbulent phase turned out to be a curse for Leupp who lost the entire amount of money he had invested, for Gould it was a boon. Taking advantage of the low property rates, Gould purchased previous partnership properties for himself. Later after the demise of Charles Leupp, “The Gouldsboro Tannery” became a disputed land. Brother-in-law of Charles Leupp, David W. Lee, was also the partner in Leupp and Gould; he took control over the tannery with the help of armed forces, believing that Gould defrauded Leupp and Lee families in the breakdown of the business. Later, Gould was able to acquire physical possession but afterwards was pushed to sell his company’s share to the brother of Lee. Gould’s father-in-law was credited with acquainting him to the industry of railroads, when he offered that Gould could help him save his money in the Rutland and Washington Railroad.
With Fisk & Tweed
Gould and James Fisk got indulged with Tammany Hall. Together they made William M. Tweed, a director of the Erie Railroad, the boss of the hall. Tweed, in return, offered a pleasant legislation for both of them. Eventually, Gould and Tweed became famous and the most-liked subjects of political cartoons by Thomas Nast in 1869. Tweed was held on a bail of $1 million in October 1871 and thus, Gould became the major bondsman. Gould and Fisk started to purchase gold in August 1869, attempting to corner the market. They thought that elevation in the cost of gold would also elevate the cost of wheat, which ultimately would result in large amount of shipping of bread stuffs eastward and thus, increasing freight trade for the Erie railroad. At this time, Gould often used to contact President Ulysses S. Grant‘s brother-in-law, Abel Corbin in an attempt to influence the president and Horace Porter, Secretary General. On September 24, 1869, these attempts in gold resulted in the panic of Black Friday. The premium over face value of gold “Double Eagle” came down from 62% to 35%. Although Gould became successful in making some profit, he lost the same in the lawsuits. However, one thing that zoomed out large from the episode was that the gold corner set the image of Gould as a powerful personality who could modify the market at his own wish.
Gould tried to overtake Erie Railroad in 1873 by bringing foreign investors from Lord Gordon-Gordon who was a cousin of the Campbells searching to purchase a land for immigrants. Gould presented a bribe of $1 million to Gordon-Gordon in stock. But Gordon-Gordon revealed as a fraud and cashed the stocks instantly. Later, Gordon-Gordon was sued by Gould and in March 1873, he was put on trials. Eventually Gordon-Gordon was granted bail and moved to Canada, where he convinced the authorities that he was innocent and was trapped on false allegations. As Gould failed to get approval from the Canadian authorities to catch Gordon-Gordon, he, along with his associates, planned to kidnap Gordon-Gordon. They also became successful in doing so but before they could reach United States, were arrested by the North-West Mounted Police. All the kidnappers were jailed and denied bail. When Governor Horace Austin of Minnesota came to know that the kidnappers were not given bail, he appealed their return and ordered the local militia on a state of full readiness. A large number of Minnesotans got involved in volunteering a full military invasion of Canada. After some negotiations, the authorities of Canada released the kidnappers on bail. As a result, Gould lost all the possibility of overtaking Erie Railroad.
After being kicked out of the Erie Railroad, Gould began creating a system of railroads in the Midwest by grabbing the control of four western railroads such as the Union Pacific and the Missouri Pacific Railroad in 1879. He gained the control of 10, 000 miles of railways which was around one-ninth of the rail length in the U.S in 1980. Also by 1882, he acquired control interest in 15% tracks of the country. In 1883, Gould dissolved management of the Union pacific amidst political controversy on the issue of its debts to the federal government in order to gain large profit for himself. Gould was also able to acquire controlling interest in the Western Union Telegraph Company and post 1881, in the elevated railways in New York City. Eventually, Gould was linked with most of the largest railway financial operations in the U.S from 1868-1888. While the great Southwest Railroad Strike took place in 1886, he hired several strikebreakers. Gould was also member of West Presbyterian Church at 31 West 42nd Street.
Gould marriedHelen Day Miller in 1863. The couple was blessed with six children namely George Jay Gould I, Edwin Gould I, Helen Gould, Howard Gould, Anna Gould and Frank Jay Gould.
Gould died on December 2, 1892 of tuberculosis in Manhattan, New York, United States. He was buried in the Woodlawn Cemetery in The Bronx, New York. The fortune of Gould was conservatively valued to be $72 million for tax purposes. In his will, he gave all his fortune to his family.
Jay Gould Timeline:
1836: Jay Gould was born.
1841: His mother died.
1850: He joined US census in Roxbury, New York.
1854: Surveyed and established a map of the Ulster County, New York area.
1856: Published “History of Delaware County, and Border Wars of New York”; Became partner with Zadock Pratt; Indulged in another partnership with Charles Mortimer Leupp.
1863: Got married to Helen Day Miller.
1866: His father passed away.
1871: Gould became the major bondsman.
1873: Gould attempted to overtake Erie Railroad.
1879: Began creating a system of railroads in the Midwest.
1882: Acquired control interest in 15% tracks of the country.
1883: Gould dissolved management of the Union pacific.
1889: His wife died.
1892: Gould died of tuberculosis, aged 56.
Source: The Famous People.Com