See O. Lewis, The Big Four (1938, repr. 1963); D. Lavender, Great Persuader (1970).
(born Oct. 22, 1821, Harwinton, Conn., U.S.—died Aug. 13, 1900, Raquette Lake, N.Y.) U.S. railroad magnate. He worked as a peddler before becoming a prosperous merchant in Oneonta, N.Y. In the gold rush year of 1849, he moved to Sacramento, Calif., and joined Mark Hopkins in a firm that specialized in miners' supplies. In the late 1850s he became interested in a plan to link California with the eastern U.S. by rail. In 1861 he joined Hopkins, Leland Stanford, and Charles Crocker (1822–1888)—a group later known as the “Big Four”—to form the Central Pacific Railroad. During its construction (1863–69), Huntington lobbied for the company in the east, securing financing and favourable legislation from the federal government. In 1865 the Big Four formed the Southern Pacific Railroad. In 1869 Huntington bought the Chesapeake and Ohio Railway, which he later extended to link with the Southern Pacific, forming the first transcontinental railroad. He became president of the Southern Pacific–Central Pacific system in 1890.
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