Biography of Leland Stanford
Celebrated American Biographies





LELAND STANFORD was one of the greatest men of the Pacific coast and also had a national reputation. He was born March 9, 1824, in Albany county, New York, and passed his early life on his father's farm. He attended the local schools of the county and at the age of twenty began the study of law. He entered the law office of Wheaton, Doolittle and Hadley, at Albany, in 1845, and a few years later he moved to Port Washington, Wisconsin, where he practiced law four years with moderate success. In 1852 Mr. Stanford determined to push further west, and, accordingly went to California, where three of his brothers were established in business in the mining towns. They took Leland into partnership, giving him charge of a branch store at Michigan Bluff, in Placer county. There he developed great business ability and four years later started a mercantile house of his own in San Francisco, which soon became one of the most substantial houses on the coast. On the formation of the Republican party he interested himself in politics, and in 1860 was sent as a delegate to the convention that nominated Abraham Lincoln. In the autumn of 1861 he was elected, by an immense majority, governor of California. Prior to his election as governor he had been chosen president of the newly organized Central Pacific Railroad Company, and after leaving the executive chair he devoted all of his time to the construction of the Pacific end of the transcontinental railway. May 10, 1869, Mr. Stanford drove the last spike of the Central Pacific road, thus completing the route across the continent. He was also president of the Occidental and Oriental Steamship Company. He had but one son, who died of typhoid fever, and as a monument to his child he founded the university which bears his son's name, Leland Stanford, Junior, University. Mr. Stanford gave to this university eightythree thousand acres of land, the estimated value of which is $8,000,000, and the entire endowment is $20,000,000. In 1885 Mr. Stanford was elected United States senator as a Republican, to succeed J, T. Farley, a Democrat, and was re-elected in 1891. His death occurred June 20, 1894, at Palo Alto, California.


FROM:
A Biographical Record
Of Schuyler County, New York
The S. J. Clarke Publishing Company
New York and Chicago 1903.


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