He attended Harvard College in 1876, where he was friends with classmate Theodore Roosevelt, who, like Minot, was interested in ornithology. In 1877, he published The Land Birds and Game Birds of New England at the age of seventeen. He left Harvard during his sophomore year.
After leaving Harvard he became involved in railroad investments. He traveled extensively and reported on various railroad systems, from Mexico to Minnesota. At one point he was the director of the Great Northern Railway. In 1887, he became the president of a new railroad line which connected Manitoba to Lake Superior. He was also involved in a variety of other commercial enterprises, including steamships and streetcars in Superior, Wisconsin.
He died in a train crash in Pennsylvania on November 14, 1890. He was only thirty-one years old.
- Mornings on Horseback: The Story of an Extraordinary Family, a Vanished Way of Life, and the Unique Child Who Became Theodore Roosevelt. Published by Simon and Schuster Books (2003 edition), written by David McCullough. p. 168
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