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Northern Pacific Railroad Co. issued to and signed by B.P. Cheney

Inv# AG2148   Stock
Northern Pacific Railroad Co. issued to and signed by B.P. Cheney
Country: United States
State(s): New York
Years: 1889

Stock issued to and signed on back by B.P. Cheney. Transfer to C.T. Barney.


Benjamin Pierce Cheney (August 12, 1815 – July 23, 1895) was an American businessman, and a founder of the firm that became American Express.

Cheney was born in Hillsborough, New Hampshire to Jesse and Alice (Steele) Cheney. The family were descended from John Cheney, who was recorded in Roxbury, Massachusetts, in 1635, moving the following year to Newbury, Massachusetts. John Cheney's brother, William, recorded in Roxbury by 1640, was an ancestor of former Vice President Dick Cheney. He was also evidently kin to the Benjamin Cheney or Cheany of Hartford, Connecticut, from whom John Fitch, the inventor of the steamboat, learned the trade of clocksmith in 1760.

Cheney's father was a blacksmith, and he began working in his father's shop at age 10. At age 12 he began working at a tavern and later a general store in Francestown, New Hampshire. In 1831 he started work as a stagecoach driver between Nashua and Exeter, soon moving to the route between Nashua and Keene. The stage did a brisk business due to the dearth of rail lines at the time. Cheney built relationships with some of his passengers at this time, including Daniel Webster, whose friendship lasted the rest of his life. With a reputation for honesty and reliability, he was frequently entrusted with large sums of money destined for banks on his route. In 1836 he became a stage agent in Boston.

Cheney joined Nathaniel White and William Walker in 1842 to organize an express line between Boston and Montreal. In 1852 Cheney effected his first consolidation when he bought out Fisk & Rice's Express between Boston and Burlington, Vermont. Subsequent consolidations resulted in the organization of the United States & Canada Express Company in 1854.

In 1854, while on his way home from Canada, he lost his right arm in a railway accident.

Cheney was elected a director of Wells Fargo & Company in September 1854 in place of Alpheus Reynolds, who had resigned. He retired from the Wells Fargo board in 1877, but again served as a director from 1882 to the beginning of 1884.

Cheney sold United States & Canada Express in 1879 to American Express, at which time he became the company's largest shareholder as well as treasurer and a director. He remained a large shareholder of Wells Fargo, National Express, and others.

Through his business contacts, Cheney became interested in the Vermont Central Railroad (later the Central Vermont), the Northern Pacific Railroad, the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railroad, and the San Diego Land and Town Company. He was also the founder and a director of the Market National Bank of Boston and the American Loan and Trust Company.

He helped finance the Northern Pacific and the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe, and had much to do with geeting Wells Fargo's express service on both roads. He was a director of the Santa Fe from 1873 to 1894.

When it became evident the railroad was in dire straits, other directors sold their shares. Cheney  refused to take advantage of his inside information and held his shares, suffering a significant personal loss when the railroad went bankrupt in the Panic of 1893 and was reorganized.

Charles Tracy Barney was born in Cleveland, Ohio, the son of Ashbel H. Barney and Susan (Tracy) Barney. His father was a successful forwarding and commission merchant. In 1857 the family moved to New York City, where Ashbel Barney was a director, vice president, and president of Wells Fargo & Company.

Barney attended Williams College in Williamstown, Mass., graduating in 1870. Following graduation he moved to New York and entered banking. He married Lucy Collins "Lily" Whitney, the sister of William Collins Whitney, the patriarch of the Whitney family. Charles Tracy Barney was the president of the Knickerbocker Trust Company, the collapse of which shortly before Barney's death sparked the Panic of 1907.

Barney himself was not ruined financially. Despite his resignation he still had an estimated $2.5 million in assets over and above liabilities. But personally he was disgraced. On the morning of November 14, Barney was in his bedroom on the second floor of the house, with two windows facing 38th Street. He was accustomed to eat breakfast here and then conduct business by telephone before dressing in late morning. On this particular morning, Lily Barney and Mrs. Susan Abbott Mead, a guest who had arrived from Europe two weeks before, were in Lily's adjoining bedroom. Shortly before 10:00 a.m. they heard a shot fired in Barney's room. Mrs. Mead ran into the room and saw Mr. Barney standing. Mrs. Mead called to Lily Barney, who ran into the room. As she approached her husband, he fell to the floor and she cradled his head in her lap. Ashbel H. Barney II, who had heard the shot on the first floor, thereupon entered the room. Barney told his son, "Don't move me."

Barney had shot himself in the abdomen with a .32 cal. revolver. Lily Barney later told Coroner Harburger that pistols were kept on every floor of the house for protection. Medical assistance was summoned, and in the meantime Barney made and signed arrangements for the disposal of his affairs in addition to his existing will. Then, still in his home, he underwent exploratory surgery at the hands of Dr. Joseph A. Blake and the family's physician, Dr. George A. Dixon. Barney died at 2:30 p.m. while still under anaesthesia.

Barney's funeral was conducted at the residence on November 16, 1907, by the Rev. Dr. Charles H. Parkhurst of the Madison Square Presbyterian Church. Some 40 persons were present for the private service, among them Barney's widow and their two daughters and one son (the other was in Europe). Also present were Harry Payne Whitney, Henry Melville Whitney, Joseph S. Auerbach, Dr. George A. Dixon and Barney's lawyers, George L. Nichols and Arthur H. Masten. Following the service, the hearse took Barney's body to Grand Central Station, from whence a special train took it to Woodlawn Cemetery. Parkhurst said a prayer at the graveside.

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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: $385.00