Collier's New Encyclopedia (1921)/Villard, Henry

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VILLARD, HENRY, an American capitalist; born in Spire, Germany, April 11, 1835; received a good education; removed to the United States in 1853; and engaged in newspaper work in Chicago. In 1859, as a correspondent for the Cincinnati “Commercial,” he was sent to the Colorado gold region; and during the Civil War was a correspondent in Washington, D. C, for Eastern and Western papers. In 1873, as agent for German stockholders, he bought the Oregon and California railroad and the Oregon Steamship companies. In 1875 with C. S. Greeley he was made receiver of the Kansas Pacific railroad. He next formed the Oregon and Transcontinental Company, which afterward controlled the Oregon Railway and Navigation Company and the Northern Company. In 1881-1884 he was president of the Northern Pacific, and in 1889-1893 was chairman of the board of directors. In 1890 he purchased the Edison Machine Works in Schenectady, N. Y., and the Edison Lamp works in Newark, N. J., and from these organized the Edison General Electric Company, of which he was president for two years. He made liberal donations to charitable, educational, and religious enterprises, and published “The Pike's Peak Gold Regions.” He died in Dobbs Ferry, N. Y., Nov. 11, 1900.