COLLIS P. HUNTINGTON
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
by Sande Beach.
Source: Wooldridge, J.W. Major History of the Sacramento
Vol. 2 pgs. 185-186. The Pioneer
Historical Publishing Co. Chicago 1931.
© 2005 Sande Beach.
Sacramento County Biographies