Jay Gould (Jay Gould)

Jay Gould

Businessman. He was born into poverty on May 27, 1836 in Roxbury, New York.  Too frail for farming, Gould’s early career in land surveying and commodity speculation got him interested in railroad stocks, which were the high-growth glamour issues of the day. In 1859 he moved to New York City, where he became a broker in railway stocks. By marriage to the daughter of a prominent businessman in 1863, he got himself appointed manager of the near-bankrupt Rensselaer & Saratoga railway. After returning that railroad to profitability, he bought up and reorganized the Rutland & Washington railway in the same way, from which he ultimately realized a large profit. In 1868, he partnered with James Fisk to successfully fight Cornelius Vanderbilt for control of the Erie Railroad. Gould and Fisk plundered the railroad’s assets and issued $5 million in fraudulent stock from 1868 to 1870, leading to litigation that forced Gould out in March 1872 and to pay $7.5 million restitution. Fisk only escaped the court’s wrath by dying in January 1872.  After the Erie debacle, Gould gained control of the Union Pacific Railroad, which led to the formation of the Gould System of four Western railroads with 10,000 miles of track, about one-ninth of the railway mileage of the United States at that time. Gould withdrew from the UP in 1883 after realizing a large profit on his stock. Gould also obtained a controlling interest in Western Union and led it to victory in its battle for control of the telegraph industry. He died of tuberculois on December 2, 1892, when his fortune was estimated at $72 million, all of which he left to his own family. (bio by: Edward Parsons)  Family links:  Parents:  John Burr Gould (1792 – 1866)  Mary More Gould (1798 – 1841)  Spouse:  Helen Day Miller Gould (1838 – 1889)*  Children:  George Jay Gould (1864 – 1923)*  Edwin Gould (1866 – 1933)*  Helen Miller Gould Shepard (1868 – 1938)*  Howard Gould (1871 – 1959)*  Anna Gould (1875 – 1961)*  Frank Jay Gould (1877 – 1956)*  Siblings:  Sarah Burr Gould Northrop (1828 – 1897)*  Anna Gould Hough (1829 – 1919)*  Nancy Gould (1831 – 1842)*  Mary Gould (1832 – 1855)*  Jay Gould (1836 – 1892) *Calculated relationship


  • May, 27, 1836
  • USA


  • December, 12, 1892
  • USA


  • Woodlawn Cemetery
  • USA

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