Baltimore and Ohio Railroad Co. Issued to and Signed by John W. Gates - Stock CertificateInv# AG2581 Stock
Stock issued to J. W. Gates and signed on the back.
John Warne Gates (May 18, 1855 – August 9, 1911), also known as "Bet-a-Million" Gates, was a pioneer promoter of barbed wire who became a Gilded Age industrialist. Gates was born in Winfield, Illinois and married Delora R. Baker of St. Charles, Illinois in 1874. The couple had one son, Charles Gilbert Gates. Gates graduated in 1876 from North Central College in Naperville, Illinois. Gates' career began with a trip to San Antonio, Texas in 1876 when Isaac Ellwood hired him as a salesman for the Washburn-Moen barbed wire company, and a dramatic demonstration with cattle penned into Military Plaza. He later started the Southern Wire Company of St. Louis, Missouri, which merged with the wire company of William Edenborn to form Braddock Wire Company, from which Consolidated Steel and Wire Company was organized in 1888. With the help of Chicago attorney Elbert Henry Gary he created a monopoly in the US wire industry in 1898 with American Steel and Wire Company, which was sold in 1901 to J. P. Morgan in a deal (also negotiated by Gary) to become part of the new U.S. Steel conglomerate. Gates was a founder of the The Texas Company which became the Texaco oil company. He became influential in the development of the city of Port Arthur, Texas when he took over the Kansas City, Pittsburg and Gulf Railroad in December 1899 after he forced it into bankruptcy along with its previous owner and Port Arthur founder Arthur Edward Stilwell. In a 1900 horse race in England, Gates won $600,000 on a $70,000 bet, which rumors escalated to over $1 million and conferred on him the nickname "Bet-A-Million". A compulsive gambler, he once participated in a marathon poker game on a train journey from Chicago to New York. After a week of nearly constant play (meals were taken at the poker table), the match ended with about half a million dollars changing hands. Another story of Gates's gambling proclivities tells of his betting a million dollars on which of two raindrops on a window would reach the bottom first. He lost. Gates died in Paris, France in 1911, following an unsuccessful operation to remove a throat tumor. His funeral was held in the ballroom of the Plaza Hotel in New York. He was buried in Woodlawn Cemetery. The Baltimore and Ohio Railroad (reporting marks B&O, BO) was the first common carrier railroad and the oldest railroad in the United States, with its first section opening in 1830. It came into being mostly because the city of Baltimore wanted to compete with the newly constructed Erie Canal (which served New York City) and another canal being proposed by Pennsylvania, which would have connected Philadelphia and Pittsburgh. At first this railroad was located entirely in the state of Maryland, with an original line built from the port of Baltimore west to Sandy Hook. At this point to continue westward, it had to cross into Virginia (now West Virginia) over the Potomac River, adjacent to the confluence of the Potomac and Shenandoah rivers. From there it passed through Virginia from Harpers Ferry to a point just west of the junction of Patterson Creek and the North Branch Potomac River, where it crossed back into Maryland to reach Cumberland. From there it was extended to the Ohio River at Wheeling and a few years later also to Parkersburg, West Virginia. It continued to construct lines into Ohio, including a junction at Portsmouth. In later years, B&O advertising carried the motto: "Linking 13 Great States with the Nation." As part of a series of mergers, the B&O is now part of the CSX Transportation (CSX) network. The B&O also included the Leiper Railroad, the first permanent horse-drawn railroad in the U.S. At the end of 1970, the B&O operated 5,552 miles of road and 10,449 miles of track, not including the Staten Island Rapid Transit (SIRT) or the Reading and its subsidiaries. It includes the oldest operational railroad bridge in the United States. When CSX established the B&O Railroad Museum as a separate entity from the corporation, it donated some of the former B&O Mount Clare Shops in Baltimore, including the Mt. Clare roundhouse, to the museum, while selling the rest of the property. The B&O Warehouse at the Camden Yards rail junction in Baltimore now dominates the view over the right-field wall at the Baltimore Orioles' current home, Oriole Park at Camden Yards. Part of the B&O Railroad's immortality has come from being one of the four featured railroads on the U.S. version of the board game Monopoly. It is the only railroad on the board that did not directly serve Atlantic City, New Jersey. (Wikipedia)
A stock certificate is issued by businesses, usually companies. A stock is part of the permanent finance of a business. Normally, they are never repaid, and the investor can recover his/her money only by selling to another investor. Most stocks, or also called shares, earn dividends, at the business's discretion, depending on how well it has traded. A stockholder or shareholder is a part-owner of the business that issued the stock certificates.