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Charles Crocker (16 September 1822 – 14 August 1888) was an American railroad executive.

Biography

Early years

Crocker was born in Troy, New Yorkmarker to a modest family, and moved to an Indianamarker farm at age 14. He soon became independent, working on several farms, a sawmill, and at an iron forge. In 1845 he founded a small, independent iron forge of his own.

Running a railroad

Pacific Railroad Bond, City and County of San Francisco, 1865
1861, after hearing a very intriguing presentation by Theodore Judah, he was one of the four principal investors along with Mark Hopkins, Collis Huntington and Leland Stanford (also known as the big four) who formed the Central Pacific Railroad, which became the western portion of the First Transcontinental Railroad in North America. His position with the company was that of construction supervisor and president of Charles Crocker & Co., a CP subsidiary founded expressly for the purpose of building the railroad. Charles Crocker also bought train plows to plow the tracks. This, however, did not work because they would frequently derail due to ice on the tracks. This led him to build over 40 miles of snow sheds to cover the tracks in the Sierra Nevada Mountains, to help stop the tracks from getting covered with snow in the winter. This project cost over $2,000,000 dollars.

Deming, New Mexicomarker is named after Mary Ann Deming Crocker, wife of Charles Crocker. A golden spike was driven here in 1881 to commemorate the meeting of the Southern Pacific with the Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe railroads, completing the construction of the second transcontinental railroad in the United States.

Banking

Crocker was briefly the controlling shareholder of Wells Fargo in 1869 serving as President but sold down and was replaced by John J. Valentine. Charles Crocker also acquired controlling interest in Woolworth National Bank for his son William, which became Crocker-Anglo Bank. In 1963, Crocker-Anglo Bank later merged with Los Angeles' Citizens National Bank, to become Crocker-Citizens Bank and later, Crocker Bank. The San Francisco, California based bank no longer exists. It was acquired by Wells Fargo Bank in 1986.

Personal life

In 1886 he was seriously injured in a New York City carriage accident. He never fully recovered, and died two years later. Crocker is buried in Mountain View Cemeterymarker in Oakland, Californiamarker. Crocker's estate has been valued at between 20 and 40 million dollars.

References

  1. [1]
  2. http://books.google.com/books?id=QILdMe7lYXgC&lpg=PA219&ots=amIn7oijus&dq=%22charlescrocker%22%22wellsfargo%22&pg Stage Coach, The History of Wells Fargo
  3. BANKING The Urge to Unrmerge - TIME
  4. Use "Crocker" as the search text.


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