Drew, Daniel

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.

Drew, Daniel

Daniel Drew, 1797–1879, American railroad speculator, b. Carmel, N.Y. He became a cattle dealer in early life and by 1834 was successful enough to engage in the steamboat business on the Hudson, which he developed rapidly. In 1844, Drew entered Wall St., where he founded the firm of Drew, Robinson & Company. After its dissolution a decade later, he became an independent operator and was bold and scheming in pursuing his goals. In 1857 he forced his way into becoming a director of the Erie RR. During the famous "Erie War" (1866–68), Drew manipulated Erie stock so that he and his allies Jay Gould and James Fisk defeated the attempt of Cornelius Vanderbilt to gain control. Sometime later, however, Drew was financially outsmarted by Gould and Fisk. This was the beginning of his downfall, which ultimately led to his complete financial ruin in the Panic of 1873. By 1876 he was bankrupt. In his heyday Drew, a Methodist, contributed to the establishment of several churches, as well as Drew Theological Seminary (now part of Drew Univ.) and Drew Seminary (for girls) at Carmel.

See C. F. Adams and H. Adams, Chapters of Erie (1871, repr. 1967); B. White, The Book of Daniel Drew (1910, repr. 1973).

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