Collis Potter Huntington

Collis Potter Huntington

Huntington, Collis Potter, 1821-1900, American railroad builder, b. near Torrington, Conn. A storekeeper of Oneonta, N.Y., before he went West in the gold rush of 1849, he became a storekeeper in California, and by 1853 he and his partner, Mark Hopkins, were leading Sacramento hardware merchants. Seeing the desirability of a direct route to the silver mines newly opened in what is now Nevada, Huntington, Hopkins, Charles Crocker, and Leland Stanford organized a railroad company (the Central Pacific). Huntington's financial acumen and success in winning subsidies and favorable legislation from Congress gave him and his partners practical control of transportation in the West. They consolidated their power in forming (1884) the Southern Pacific, of which Huntington was president after 1890. His vast fortune was left mostly to his nephew, Henry Edwards Huntington, except for bequests to the Hampton Normal and Agricultural Institute and the Tuskegee Normal and Industrial Institute.

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.

Learn more about Huntington, Collis P(otter) with a free trial on

Search another word or see collis potter huntingtonon Dictionary | Thesaurus |Spanish
Copyright © 2014, LLC. All rights reserved.
  • Please Login or Sign Up to use the Recent Searches feature