In the Woodlawn cemetery, located in Bronx, there is a large pantheon built in Roman style, with columns and no inscription decorate it. In the nineteenth century such a mausoleum cost a fortune, and its role was to leave a last trace after the death. Dennis Fraevich from Samsebeskazal, an expert of New York who shares a lot of uknown stories about this city, found out who is burried in this mausoleum.
Jason (Jay) Gould, the son of a poor farmer, left his parent’s house with $ 5 in his pocket in 1852, before being sixteen years old. For 40 years, Gould has become one of America’s most influential people. Having a very small tuberculosis, but with a very good strategic mind, the businessman has built a real empire. In the year of his death (1892), he owned nine thousand miles of American railways, and the Western Union telegraph monopoly.
Gould died as the most odious individual of America. Caricaturists liked to portray him as a devil, financial reporters called him the Wall Street Mephistophele. Jay Gould entered history with his money-making methods that were not related to any principle. He became famous through attempts to crash the US dollar and the fact that he has managed to provoke a financial crisis. He bribed an enormous number of officials, and the phrase “I can hire half of the working class to kill the other half” has become the perfect definition for this individual’s actions.
The most important arena in the American business 150 years ago was the railways. Jay was only 32 years old when working on Wall Street, and he bought shares of Cornelius Vanderbilt. By purchasing the shares, Gould and his allies entered the railroad commission and, of course, without Vanderbilt knowing, they began to steal it. They were constantly issuing shares and throwing them into the market, then profiting from low prices.
Gould died as the most odious individual of America. Caricaturists liked to portray him as a devil, financial reporters called him the Wall Street Mephistophele.
When Vanderbilt realized it, then a real corporate war began. Each party (Gould with the gang and Vanderbilt with partners) bought a few judges who forbade their rivals to act. When the state created a commission to investigate the situation, Vanderbilt’s and Gould’s representatives staged at a hotel in Albany, the capital of New York, and began to openly buy the officials. Politician corruption has no limits, and Vanderbilt has left the arena. Gould has won.
Towards the end of his life, through risky and disastrous financial operations for many people, Gould has made a grand fortune that has transformed him into a monster. Jay Gould has always been persecuted by the enemies he robbed and the society that detested him. Through his deeds, he has done so much that he has become “America’s most hated man.” He received an enormous number of letters with threats from the people robbed by him, but also from the anarchists. For the latter Gould was the embodiment of the evil that had to be liquidated. He was always pursued by bizarre people who were trying to get money out of him. Some ennemies tried to kill him and his family members. Twice tried to explode him. He was always protected by Pinkerton guards. Gould traveled by the train visiting his mansions. He used a custom-built Atlanta wagon. There were some secret agents in front of him, inspecting and preparing the place to visit.
His second fear was to be kidnapped after death. At that time, many individuals were dealing with the kidnapping of wealthy people’s corpses for money. After receiving the money, they returned the corpse to their relatives. The kidnapping of the corpses was so popular that in the cemeteries real temples were built instead of small caves or graves. For example, in 1876, three days after the funeral in St. Marc’s church in Manhattan was kidnapped the Alexander Turner’s corpse, one of the richest men in New York. Being paranoid, Gould surpassed everyone in this case as well. He built a huge mausoleum with a high level of protection.
Anyway, Gould was a great creator. He built thousands of kilometers of railway tracks where previously only bisons wandered, invested in the development of new cities in Nebraska and Wyoming, and developed local animal business. After his death his son destroyed that business empire by not ruling it so good as his father did. His daughter was involved in charity actions to erase the sins of her father but it didn’t work as well.
Text by Claudiu C. CREȚU
Source: Forbes Russia
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