Sunday, September 13, 2009

Jay Gould meets Rich Hill's E.R.McQuitty

This story comes from the History of Rich Hill (E.R. McQuitty's memories)

The original smelting plant was constructed and operated by Mr. Jay Gould, a multi-millionaire, recognized as one of the foremost wealthy financiers of the day throughout the entire United States. Jay Gould's name was a household axiom in the nation in those days and he was reported to have owned and controlled the entire Missouri Pacific Railway system. It was said of him that his sole reason for selling stock in the railroad was to enlist enough personnel to provide sufficient aid to fill the needed offices to man the vast properties. Mr. Gould was an affable gentleman, quiet and not in the least ostentatious or bigoted, notwithstanding his great fortune, in fact a real fellow, just one of the boys. Not that he was inclined toward the bright light or to sit in on "that little game," but to the contrary enjoyed the disposition of comfortably sitting on the hotel veranda after the evening meal and discussing current topics with business men of the town who came by to pay their respect and extend hospitality, (or could it be that they wanted to see for once in their lives a real, walking, talking multi-millionaire?) Mr. Gould traveled on his own special train, composed of baggage car, a dining car, an observation car and two others especially fitted for his private- office with quarters for his bookkeepers, clerks, secretaries" etc. Mr Gould visited Rich Hill quite often, which gave to the people a feeling that our town was considerably ahead of its neighbors, in that it frequently had a multi-millionaire in our midst. It was the prodest day of my life when one evening while sitting on the portico at the hotel, Mr. Gould arose and beckoned to me. By way of introduction he said that he was Mr. Jay Gould. I thought it was the proper thing to do to tell him who I was, so, bowing as low as I dared to make sure the security of my suspender buttons, I replied that I was Mr. McQuitty. This brought a broad smile to his countenance and he asked if I'd like to earn a little money. He said I appeared to be an ambitious chap and that if I would call at his special train down at the depot he would put me in the way of earning a few dimes I assurred the great man that I would be there early next morning. It was not the dimes that I cared for, but the opportunity of having been noticed by a millionaire was enough for me. Gosh, I felt I was sitting on top of the world. Mr.Gould informed me that he liked me to carry messages from his office to the smelting plant for a couple of days. The mission accepted and completed, the financier thanked me, gave me a couple of pats on the back and placed a newly minted five dollar gold piece in my hand. Right there was when I went "high hat." I strutted like a turkey gobler at mating time and brushed aside my former companions with all the dignity I was able to muster. I really considered myself a part of the great Missouri Pacific Railway system, but the delusion was summarily shattered the next day, when without a ticket, I climbed aboard a passenger train for a little ride up to Butler. The conductor was dumb to a recital of my late affiliations with Mr. Gould, so I was gently deposited beside the tracks out on the right-of-way. The conductor recommended that I impart to Mr. Gould the news that our partnership had been dissolved. Said he'd arrange for a meeting of the board of directours to fill the vacancy. Smart alack. My old friend and benefactor departed this life at his palatial home in New York City on Decmber 2, 1892.

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