George Jay Gould

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George Jay Gould
George Jay Gould cph.3b12036.jpg
Born(1864-02-06)February 6, 1864
DiedMay 16, 1923(1923-05-16) (aged 59)
(m. 1885; died 1921)

Guinevere Jeanne Sinclair
(m. 1922)
Children10, including Helen Vivien, Kingdon, Jay II and Gloria Gould
Parent(s)Jay Gould
Helen Day Miller
Gould as depicted in Vanity Fair, September 1894. Gould had bought Vigilant,[1] the winner of the previous year's America's Cup, and was racing it in England
Gould and his family at the wedding of his sister, Helen Miller Shepard in 1913

George Jay Gould I (February 6, 1864 – May 16, 1923) was a financier and the son of Jay Gould.[2] He was himself a railroad executive, leading the Denver and Rio Grande Western Railroad (DRGW), Western Pacific Railroad (WP), and the Manhattan Railway Company.

Early life[edit]

Gould was born on February 6, 1864, the eldest son of Jay Gould (1836–1892) and Helen Day Miller (1838–1889). His father was a leading American railroad developer and speculator who has been referred to as one of the ruthless robber barons of the Gilded Age, whose success at business made him one of the richest men of his era.[3]

Railroad management[edit]

Upon his father's death George inherited the Gould fortune and his father's railroad holdings, including the DRGW and the Missouri Pacific Railroad. While in charge of the DRGW at the turn of the 20th century, he sent surveyors and engineers through California's Feather River canyon to stake out a route for the railroad to reach San Francisco, California. Through legal wranglings led by E. H. Harriman, who at the time led both the Union Pacific and Southern Pacific Railroads, Gould was forced to set up third-party companies to manage the surveying and construction to disguise his role. The route that Gould's engineers built became the WP mainline.

In later years, the DRGW and WP would work together on trains that were passed off to each other in Salt Lake City, Utah, including the prestigious passenger train, the California Zephyr.

Personal life[edit]

He married Edith Mary Kingdon (1864–1921), a stage actress, and had the following children:[4]

Gould also had a mistress, Guinevere Jeanne Sinclair (1885–1978), and had the following children with her:[13]

  • George Sinclair Gould (1915–2003)
  • Jane Sinclair Gould (1916–1948)
  • Guinevere Gould (1922–1968)

After the death of his first wife in 1921, Gould married Sinclair on May 1, 1922. Then with the three children in tow, they moved to England.[14]

Death and burial[edit]

He died of pneumonia on May 16, 1923, on the French Riviera after contracting a fever in Egypt where he visited the tomb of Tutankhamun. He was buried in Woodlawn Cemetery in New York. His estate was valued at $15,054,627 but after debts were paid it was worth $5,175,590 in 1933 dollars.[15][2]


Gould's estate in Lakewood Township, New Jersey, is now the site of Georgian Court University.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "The Sloop Vigilant Sold. George J. Gould To Be The Owner Of The Cup Defender". New York Times. April 19, 1894. Retrieved 2012-08-10. Mr. George J. Gould has purchased the Vigilant. The gentlemen, who had the yacht built last season to defend the America's Cup against the Valkyrie met yesterday afternoon and decided to accept the terms offered by Mr. Gould. Mr. Gould is to pay $25,000 for the boat. This will be a big surprise to yachtsmen, as Mr. Gould's name was never thought of in connection with the famous cup defender.
  2. ^ a b "George J. Gould Dies in Villa in France. Leaves $30,000,000. With His Second Wife and Her Children Near, He Yearned for His Sons. Last Malady a Secret. Death Holds Up Litigation With Family Over His Father's Estate. First Became Ill in March. Had Apparently Regained Health When He Suffered a Relapse". New York Times. May 17, 1923. Retrieved 2008-05-23. George Jay Gould died this morning at 3:30 o'clock at the Villa Zoralde, Cap Martin, where he had been living for some months with his wife and her two children. His death, it was stated at the villa, came quietly and was expected, as he had never rallied from the illness from which he had been suffering all Winter.
  3. ^ Maury Klein (1997). The Life and Legend of Jay Gould. p. 393. ISBN 9780801857713.
  4. ^ "The Goulds Are Going". Time. March 23, 1925. Archived from the original on December 2, 2008. Retrieved 2007-08-21. Of the seven older children by his first marriage — Kingdon, Jay, George Jay Jr., Marjorie, Vivien, Edith, Gloria — three eloped, one married an English nobleman, and one the daughter of a Hawaiian princess.
  5. ^ "Kingdon Gould, 58, Long A Financier. Grandson Of Founder Of Family Fortune Dies. Once On Rail Boards. Officer In 1918". New York Times. November 8, 1945. Retrieved 2008-06-19. Kingdon Gould, financier eldest son of the late George J. and Edith Kingdon Gould, and grandson of Jay Gould, financier and railroad ...
  6. ^ "Jay Gould Is Dead. Court Tennis Star. Grandson of the Financier Had Held Championship for Quarter of Century". New York Times. January 28, 1935. Retrieved 2007-07-21. Sportsman Succumbs in Up-State Hospital at 46. His Body Brought Here for Funeral.
  7. ^ "The Colfax chronicle. (Colfax, Grant Parish, La.) 1877-1981, July 22, 1911, Image 7 « Chronicling America « Library of Congress". Retrieved 9 May 2013.
  8. ^ "Marjorie Gould to Wed A.J. Drexel, Jr. Engagement of George Jay Gould's Eldest Daughters is Announced at a Dance". New York Times. January 19, 1910. Retrieved 2012-08-10. The engagement of the season, one most interesting abroad as well as in New York and Philadelphia, is that announced last night by George Jay Gould of his eldest daughter, Miss Marjorie Gould, to Anthony J. Drexel, Jr. of Philadelphia. ...
  9. ^ "Lady Decies Dies at 38 in London. Former Helen Vivien Gould Was Principal in Brilliant International Wedding of 1911. Was Noted As Hostess. Her Entertaining Was a Feature of British Capital. Husband Is Distinguished Irish Peer". New York Times. February 3, 1931. Retrieved 2007-11-26. Lady Decies, the former Helen Vivien Gould, daughter of the late George Jay Gould of New York, died in London this morning. She had been critically ill here for several days.
  10. ^ "He Is George Jay Gould, Jr". New York Times. May 15, 1896. Retrieved 2008-08-22. The third son and fifth child of Mr. and Mrs. George J. Gould was christened at noon to-day in All Saints' Memorial Church, ...
  11. ^ "Lady MacNeal Dies. Was Edith Gould. Granddaughter of Financier, 36, Succumbs at Estate in East Hampton. Wife of British Knight. Wrote Autobiography Telling of Family Life ..." New York Times. September 12, 1937. Retrieved 2008-08-22. Lady MacNeal, the former Edith Gould, granddaughter of the late Jay Gould, died at Gulf Crest, her estate here, late last night. Lady MacNeal, who was 36 years old, had been in poor health for two years. Death was caused by a liver ailment. Born on Father's Yacht. Edith Catherine Gould, next to the youngest of seven children, was the daughter of the late George J. Gould and Edith Kingdon Gould. ...
  12. ^ "Gloria Gould Barker Is Drowned In Swim Pool at Arizona Home. Mrs. W.M. Barker Drowns In A Pool. Victim Of Accident". Associated Press in New York Times. August 16, 1943. Retrieved 2008-06-07. Mrs. Gloria Gould Barker, 37, a member of the prominent Gould family of New York, was drowned today in the swimming pool of her desert home ten miles east of here.
  13. ^ "Gould Acknowledges Three Illegitimate Children In His Will". Associated Press. June 5, 1923. Retrieved 2012-08-10. Sinclair Gould, Jane Sinclair Gould and Guinivere Gould, born out of wedlock before his marriage to his second wife, Mrs. Guinivere Sinclair Gould. Mr. Gould ...
  14. ^ "Gould Gone for Good to live in England; Bride wed in tears" (PDF). New York Times. July 15, 1922. Retrieved 2012-04-03.
  15. ^ "G.J. Gould Estate is Only $5,175,590. Reduced From $15,054,627 in Settling Suits Over His Father's Fortune". New York Times. January 7, 1933. An appraisal filed yesterday of the New York estate of George J. Gould, who died May 16, 1923, a resident of New Jersey, showed that the property taxable here was worth only $60,592, consisting of his place at Furlough Lake, in the Catskills, with its contents, and personal effects in New York City.

Further reading[edit]

  • Brehm, Frank (2005), The SF&GSL. Retrieved March 2, 2005.
  • Geis, Sister M. Christina, The George Jay Gould Estate. Retrieved March 2, 2005.
  • White, John H., Jr. (Spring 1986), America's Most Noteworthy Railroaders, Railroad History, 154', p. 9-15.

External links[edit]