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James River Valley Railroad Company signed by Billings, Merriam, and Livingston

Inv# AG2096   Stock
James River Valley Railroad Company signed by Billings, Merriam, and Livingston
State(s): Dakotas
Years: 1885

Stock Issued to and signed by Frederick Billings on back. Also signed by W.R. Merriam and Crawford Livingston.

Frederick Billings (1823-1890), lawyer, railroad executive, and philanthropist. He was the 4th of a family of 9 children. While he was quite young, the family removed to Woodstock, where his father, Oel Billings, served for many years as Register of Probate. Frederick graduated from the University of Vermont in 1844, was admitted to the bar in Windsor county in 1848, and 1846-48 served as Secretary of Civil and Military Affairs under Governor Eaton.
In 1840, while on his way to California and waiting in New York for a steamer, news reached him that gold had been discovered near Sacramento. In the great rush which followed, Mr. Billings had the advantage of an early start, and was, in fact, the first lawyer to display his sign in the embryo city of San Francisco.  Archibald C. Peachy was his first partner, but Major General H. W. Halleck and Trenor W. Park were taken into partnership, and for many years Halleck, Peachy, Billings & Park were the leading law firm in San Francisco.  

Mr. Billings was one of the founders of the College of California, and was once urged to take the presidency. Selling  most of his property in California in 1866, he returned East and settled in New York city living every summer upon a farm of 600 acres near Woodstock Vermont. Here Mr. Billings built a beautiful home.

The project of an overland railroad awoke Mr. Billings's ardent interest, and the information he had acquired concerning the Pacific coast and the various proposed routes made his counsel of value to capitalist. In the development of The Northern Pacific Railroad enterprise, he was an active participant, and in the reorganization of the company after the failure of Jay Cooke in 1873, he rendered such useful service that the stockholders made him for several years president of the company. He was forced out by Henry Villard in 1881. The town of Billings, Mont., is named for him.

He was one of the original promoters of a ship canal to the Pacific, and at the time of his death was chairman of the executive committee of The Maritime Canal Company of Nicaragua and a director of the construction company. He was also president of The Woodstock National Bank, and a director in The Farmers' Loan and Trust Co. The American Exchange Bank, The Delaware & Hudson Canal Co., The Manhattan Life Insurance Co, The Rutland, Vermont Valley Connecticut River and Passumpsic Railroads, and a trustee of the Presbyterian Hospital and the Brick Church in Fifth avenue, New York and many charitable and religious associations.
Mr. Billings gifts to the University of Vermont amounted to $250,000, and among other donations for public purposes, he gave $50,000 to D. L. Moody's Mount Hermon School for Boys, and $50,000 to Amherst College.  He was a member of the New York Chamber of Commerce, and of various clubs in New York city, including the Union League, Century and Lawyers', and Down Town Association.  He was married in 1862 to Julia, a daughter of the late Dr. Eleazar Parmly, of New York.  His wife and five children survive him.

William Rush Merriam (July 26, 1849 – February 18, 1931) was an American politician. The son of Minnesota House Speaker John L. Merriam, he served in the Minnesota House of Representatives in 1883 and 1887 and was the Speaker of the House in 1887. He served as the 11th Governor of Minnesota from January 9, 1889 to January 4, 1893. He was a Republican.

By 1888 a split in the state Republican Party was reflected in an unorthodox selection of a gubernatorial candidate. Instead of supporting the reform-minded incumbent, Andrew Ryan McGill, a majority of party stalwarts rallied behind William Merriam, an ambitious St. Paul banker and speaker of the Minnesota House of Representatives.

Merriam's re-election campaign two years later was affected by another, more widespread phenomenon, the Farmers' Alliance. This third party of disaffected Republicans and Democrats was dedicated to promoting the commercial and social interests of agrarian America. Merriam defeated the Alliance candidate in 1890, but the upstart party significantly eroded his plurality.

As governor, Merriam was a thrifty executive who was more interested in limiting spending than in legislative reform. The most notable legacy of his administration was the adoption of the Australian ballot, which allowed citizens to vote in comparative privacy. In his private life, the sociable Merriam was keen on sports, owned horses, and was said to possess "good nature, gracious manners, and an attractive personality."

Merriam's final accomplishment was appropriate for a banker and businessman who could work well with both people and numbers. He was director of the twelfth national census and later persuaded Congress to establish a permanent Census Bureau, where he served as its first director. Merriam never returned to Minnesota, but retired instead to Florida, where he died in Port Sewall at age 81.

His three-quarter portrait by the Swiss born American artist Adolfo Müller-Ury (1862–1947) was painted in 1892. This and a portrait of his wife were exhibited in St. Paul in that year. A small, bust-length portrait, is now in the collection of the Newport Preservation Society, Rhode Island; it was formerly in the collections of Jessica Dragonette and the University of Wyoming. Müller-Ury is also known to have painted a portrait of their son Amherst Merriam as a baby.

Merriam is buried at Rock Creek Cemetery in Washington, DC.


Condition: Excellent

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.

Item ordered may not be exact piece shown. All original and authentic.
Price: $500.00