Chapter 8


Page 1

Jay Gould was dead, taking his last breath at 9:15 in the morning on December 2, 1892 at his home on Fifth avenue in New York City surrounded by his children. The news of Gould's death spread quickly. C. P. Huntington was among the early callers to express his condolences to the family. The general feeling on Wall street was one of surprise. There had been many times the report of Gould's death been spread, only to be contradicted as soon as a certain effect in stocks had been produced, and in fact just the day before his death, was the old trick played, that it became like the cry of "wolf" when there was no wolf. But finally the truth came to be known and it hit them as an unexpected reality.

Gould had been warned years prior to his death that the undoubted symptoms of tuberculosis in his case made his death certain within a few years. After learning this he bound his doctor to absolute secrecy, and began to struggle against the prediction so that his condition would not become a matter of public gossip. Finally, seeing the uselessness of concealment, he called his family together and told them the facts of the case frankly, himself being the least affected of all by the revalation. It was at that time he began to withdraw from active business, giving his sons the advantage of his advice and experience while familiarizing them with every detail of his business.

Jay Gould’s original will was dated December 24, 1885. Gould had on February 16, 1889 executed the first codicil making such changes as became necessary by the death of his wife. The second and third codicils were executed on November 21, 1892. In summary the will and codicils together allowed for the the following:
To testator's sister, Mrs. Northrop, and daughters were left three lots in Camden, N. J., on which they lived; also a bequest to Mrs. Northrop of $23,000 and a further sum of $2000 annually during her life. A similar bequest of $25,000 and an annuity of $2000 was made each of his sisters, Mrs. Anna G. Hough and Mrs. Elizabeth Palen, and to a brother, Abraham Gould.

To his daughter, Helen Gould, he gave in fee simple and absolute the house in which he had lived at 573 Fifth avenue and all its contents.

To his son, Edwin, he gave in fee simple and absolute the house at 1 East Fourteenth street with all its contents.

To his daughter, Helen, he made a specific bequest of his portrait, painted by Horkomer. He also gave to his daughter, Helen, until his youngest child should come of age, the use of his residence at Irvington, commonly called "Lyndhurst," free of taxes, and all the contents therein, and also the sum of $6000 per month, stating this was done in the expectation that the minor children, Anna and Frank J., as well as his son Howard, would, during the period above provided for, make their home with testator's daughter, Helen.

To his namesake and grandson, Jay Gould, the son of George J. Gould, he gave the sum of $500,000, to be held in trust for said child by George J. Gould, with authority to apply the same to the support and education of said grandson, and to pay one fourth of the same to him when he reached the age of 28 years, one-fourth at the age of 30, and the remaining half at 35, with power to pay the same at earlier periods in the discretion of his father.

To his son George Gould he made a bequest substantially in the following words:
"My beloved son, George J. Gould, having developed remarkable business ability, and having for the past five years taken entire charge of all my difficult interests, I hereby fix the value of his services at $5,000,000, payable as follows: $500,000 in cash, less the amount advanced by me for the purchase of a house for him on Fifth avenue, New York City; $500,000 in Missouri Pacific 6 per cent first mortgage bonds; $500,000 in St Louis, Iron Mountain and Southern Railway Consolidated five per cent bonds; $500,000 in Missouri Pacific Railroad trust 5 per cent bonds; 100,000 shares of Manhattan Railway, stock, 10,000 shares of Western Union stock and 10,000 shares of Missouri Pacific stock, all to be taken and treated as worth par”.

He appointed as executors and trustees of his will his sons, George J. Gould, Edwin Gould and Howard Gould, and his daughter, Helen M. Gould, with the provision that in case a vacancy should happen by death or otherwise, his son, Frank J. Gould, was to be an executor and trustee when he reached the age of 21 years, and in the case of another vacancy he appointed his daughter, Anna Gould, to fill such vacancy when she reached the age of 21 years. No bonds were to be required of the executors and trustees. George J. Gould and Helen M. Gould were appointed guardians of Anna M. Gould and Frank J. Gould during their minority.

All of the rest of the estate was devised and bequeathed to said executors and trustees in trust, first to divide the same into six equal parts or shares, and to hold and invest one of such shares for each of said children. George J. Gould, Edwin Gould, Howard Gould, Frank J. Gould, Helen M. Gould and Anna Gould, with authority to collect and receive and apply the income thereof to each child for life, and with power to each to dispose of the same by will in favor of issue, and in case of death without issue the share of the one dying to go to the surviving brothers and sisters and to the issue of a deceased child, share and share, per stirpes and not per capita.

He directed that no deductions shall be made by reason of any gifts or achievements heretofore made to or for any of the children.

In case of differences of opinion among the executors and trustees as to managing the estate he directed that as long as there were five executors and trustees the decision of four would be conclusive, and when only four the decision of three would be conclusive, with a further provision in a codicil dated November 21, 1892, as follows: "To better protect and conserve the values of my properties I direct and provide that the shares of any railway or other incorporated companies at anytime held by my executors and trustees shall always be voted by them or by their proxies at all corporate meetings as a unit; and in case my said executors and trustees do not concur as to how such stock shall be voted, then, in view of the fact that my son, George J. Gould, has for years had the management of my said properties and is familiar with them and with other like properties, I direct and provide that in such event his judgment shall control, and he is hereby authorized and empowered to vote said shares in person or by proxy in such manner as his judgment shall dictate."

There was a provision in the will that the property of his daughters shall be for their sole and separate use, and prohibiting all dispositions for charges by any legal provisions or by way of anticipation or otherwise.

There was also a provision that if any of the children should marry without the consent of the majority of the executors and trustees then the share allotted to such child shall be reduced by half, and use other half of such share shall be transferred to such persons as under the laws of the State of New York would take the same if the testator had died intestate.

Following his father’s death George, having been entrusted to manage the families railroad empire, had but one ambition, to assemble a railway system spaning the nation from coast to coast. West of the Mississippi River the Missouri Pacific was to be the foundation of this system. On March 15, 1893 in Salt Lake City he was elected as a director of the Utah Northern and the Oregon Short Line, taking the place of his father and on May 10 he was elected president of the Missouri Pacific and the St. Louis, Iron Mountain and Southern, the Oregon Short Line though entered recievership in August 1894.

In 1897 the Harriman-Kuhn-Loeb-Rockefeller combination began, with the reorganization of the Union Pacific Railroad, the development of the most comprehensive railroad system the world has ever known. The emergence of this active, nervous railroad genius, Edward H. Harriman, was especially unfortunate for Gould, inasmuch as Harriman was his nearest competitor. In the next two years however Gould and Harriman had established a business association. Gould became a director in all of the Harriman lines with Harriman becoming a director in the Denver and Rio Grande and in the Western Union.

Gould's closest advisors warned him against Harriman, "he isn't working for the Missouri Pacific, he's only interested in his own roads. He'll wipe you off the map the first chance he gets." Gould was not affected by this talk, he was a far richer, a far "bigger" man than Harriman. "I'm in there on the Union Pacific board," he would answer, "and nothing can happen that I don't know about."

Next Page Next Page

Copyright © 1996 - 2017 by Frank Brehm. All Rights Reserved.