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Sacramento County






 A pioneer American railroad builder, born at Harwinton, Connecticut, October 22, 1821, and a representative of a noted New England family, Collis P. Huntington early gave evidence of business initiative. At fifteen he started life peddling clocks in the south and west. In 1848 he came to California and set up as a hardware merchant in Sacramento. With Charles Crocker, Mark Hopkins and Leland Stanford he laid plans in 1859 for building the Central Pacific Railway, and credit for the completion of this work, 1869, is due largely to Huntington's enterprise as fiscal agent for the group. Later, with his associates, Huntington built the Southern Pacific (completed 1881) and the Chesapeake and Ohio Railroads, and in time he came to operate forty-four branches or connecting railroads along continuous lines from Portland, Oregon, via San Francisco and New Orleans, to Newport News, Virginia. The Southern Pacific, of whose board of managers Huntington was president, also acquired large interests in steamship lines. Especially interested in Indian and negro education, he gave liberally to Hampton and Tuskegee Institutes. As a memorial to his mother he built a Congregational Church in his native town and to Westchester, New York, he presented a library.
 At the time of his death, which occurred at his camp in the Adirondacks, August 13, 1900, Mr. Huntington possessed a fortune estimated at from $35,000,000 to $80,000,000. By bequest he left to the Metropolitan Museum, New York, Beale's portrait of Washington, and his $3,000,000 collection of paintings as a whole he also bequeathed to this museum, the bequest to take effect after the death of his widow and his adopted son, Archer M. Huntington. Besides other large benefactions, Mrs. Huntington in 1909 made a gift of $750,000 to the American Geographical Society.


Transcribed by Sande Beach.

Source: Wooldridge, J.W. Major History of the Sacramento Valley California, Vol. 2 pgs. 185-186. The Pioneer Historical Publishing Co. Chicago 1931.

2005 Sande Beach.




Sacramento County Biographies