Julia L. Vivian

GOULD, JAY (1836–1892). Jay Gould, railroad magnate, son of John Burr and Mary (More) Gould, was born at Roxbury, New York, on May 27, 1836. He worked for a blacksmith, clerked in a country store, attended an academy, and learned the rudiments of surveying. Early in life he married Helen Day Miller, and they had six children. In 1856 Gould published History of Delaware County and Border Wars of New York. Gould began speculating in small railways in 1859 and soon amassed a fortune. By 1874 he was a director of the Union Pacific Railroad; in 1878 he bought control of the Kansas Pacific Railroad; in 1879 he bought control of the Denver Pacific, the Central Pacific, and the Missouri Pacific lines. With the construction of railroads west across Texas, Gould had much railroad investment in the state. In 1881 he was feted in Texas in the year that he and C. P. Huntington were racing to cross West Texas with their Texas and Pacific and Southern Pacific lines. By agreement they decided to use joint tracks for the two lines between Sierra Blanca and El Paso and made amicable arrangements for other construction in Texas. By 1890 Gould owned the Missouri Pacific, the Texas and Pacific, the St. Louis Southwestern, and the International–Great Northern, one-half of the mileage in the Southwest. He died in New York City on December 2, 1892.

Dictionary of American Biography. Maury Klein, The Life and Legend of Jay Gould (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1986). S. G. Reed, A History of the Texas Railroads (Houston: St. Clair, 1941; rpt., New York: Arno, 1981).

Image Use Disclaimer

All copyrighted materials included within the Handbook of Texas Online are in accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107 related to Copyright and “Fair Use” for Non-Profit educational institutions, which permits the Texas State Historical Association (TSHA), to utilize copyrighted materials to further scholarship, education, and inform the public. The TSHA makes every effort to conform to the principles of fair use and to comply with copyright law.

For more information go to: http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml

If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond fair use, you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.


The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this article.

Handbook of Texas Online, Julia L. Vivian, "GOULD, JAY," accessed July 22, 2019, http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/fgo21.

Uploaded on June 15, 2010. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

Get this week's most popular Handbook of Texas articles delivered straight to your inbox