Delaware County NY Genealogy and History Site

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Note: It is not known which publication this came from as it was in a scrap book. However, most of the clippings in the book came from either the Otsego Herald or the Morris Chronicle. I would guess it was the former. --Jerry Reed

The Railroad King Dead
Jay Gould Expires in New York Friday Morning

The career of a Delaware County Boy Who at Death, was counted worth $75,000,000.

Jay Gould, the great railroad magnate, died at his New York city home on Fifth avenue, at 9:15 Friday morning, Dec 2d, 1892. Mr. Gould's last illness dates back two weeks. He took a drive at that time through Central Park with his physician, Dr. Munn, and he took cold. He was suffering at the time from nervous dyspepsia and was unable to take much nourishment. As a result, his enfeebled constitution could not withstand this ailment. It affected his lungs, which had shown for years a tendency to pulmonary weakness.

Jay Gould came from Puritan stock. He was born on May 27th, 1836 in the little post village of Roxbury, Delaware county. Nearly half a century before, while Delaware, Ulster and Otsego counties were yet one, his grandfather came from Fairfield county, Connecticut, and took up land near the hamlet which became Jay Gould's birthplace. This grandfather was Captain Abram Gould. He had been a revolutionary soldier and is described as a "grim , earnest, honest man." To him was born in 1792 a son who was named John B., the first male child born in the new settlement. John B. Grew to manhood, was three times married and Jay was his son by his first wife. Until he was fourteen years old Jay lived on the farm, picking up a meager education.

Gould himself said of his early years:"I went barefooted and I used to get thistles in my feet, and I did not like farming in that way; so I said one day to my father that I would like to go to a select school that was some twelve or fifteen miles from there. He said all right, but that I was too young. I said to him that if he would give me my time I would try my fortune. He said all right; that I was not worth much at home and I might go ahead. So next day I started out. I showed myself up at this school, and finally I found a blacksmith who consented to board me, as I wrote a pretty good hand, if I would write up his books at night. In that way I worked myself through this school."

After leaving school he got into a country store as a sort of boy of all work. A transaction here in which he made about $1,500 was looked upon by his employer as a breach of trust, the result being severance of relations and the disturbance of the young man's first matrimonial plans.

A year or two later he wrote the "History of Delaware County," copies of which can still be found in many farm houses in that county, and after that hired for $20 a month to make a map of Ulster county.. During this time he paid his expenses by making noon marks at $1.00 each for the farmers of the county. Afterwards on his own account he mapped Delaware and Albany counties making a profit of $5,000 on the transaction.

Afterwards he entered the tannery business, at first with Col. Zadock Pratt and afterwards with C.M. Loup of New York. On this enterprise it is enough to say that Col. Pratt "retired greatly enriched in experience," and that Loup with bankruptcy imminent, committed suicide.

Later he went to New York, married Miss Ellen Miller, daughter of a prominent city merchant, and began railroading, his first venture being in Rensselaer & Saratoga, from which he made $750,000. His later ventures in Erie, in Union and Missouri Pacific, in Manhattan Elevated and in Western Union are well known in the financial world. It was during his connection with the former that the unsuccessful attempt of the Erie to gain possession of the Albany & Susquehanna line was made.

No two estimates agree as to the amount of Mr. Gould's fortune. The most conservative figures place it about $60,000,000, while some people in Wall street, who think they know something about his accumulations, figure that he has gotten together fully $100,000,000.


The following letter of Jay Gould's written at eighteen years of age, while living at the old Roxbury homestead, will be of interest as showing the restless desire for activity so characteristic of his later years, and also the warning of a weak physical condition. The letter was written to S.B. Champion, then as now the editor of The Stamford Mirror. "Champ" was an intimate personal friend and neighbor of Mr. Gould in his younger days and the old editor received regular visits from the great financier all through his life. Mr. Gould was engaged upon his Delaware county map and was recovering from a severe illness when the letter was written:

Roxbury, Dec 28, 1854

S.B. Champion Esq.
Friend Champ:
How shall I commence a letter to you? Would you believe me were I to say I was puzzled whether to commence with a broad business letter caption "Mr," etc., "Dear Sir," etc. or whether to sit down and imagine as actual mouth to mouth chat proceeding? Well, you see that at the top of my letter is that cold, formal commencement, but just then the recollection of the pleasant times we have had together, and the time for which I hope is not altogether past, put every shadow aside, and I almost imagine myself in the Mirror office at this moment. It is a long time since I have heard from you, except by Mr. Peters a week since. But through the weekly invitation of the Mirror I commenced to write last week, but my hand shook so that I had to give it up. Now, Champ, you are a man of newspapers and advertisements and proprietor of the Mirror office. I want to study up something for me to do. The doctor stands over my shoulder and criticizes every movement as an alarming symptom. His orders are for the present "Live on soups made of shadows." To say the word map requires a portion of castor oil, and the thought of transacting any kind of business is equal to jumping into a mill pond in winter time. But I have dismissed their sympathies and regulate my own diet. I find health and strength to improve in consequence. I have cutter and harness, and if you will only furnish sleighing I am at your service. Now, Champ, if you have time to answer this, tell me a good funny story. I have hardly raised a smile for five weeks.
Yours respectfully,
Jay Gould.

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