Collis Potter Huntington - Vol. 1

By Cerinda W. Evans | Go to book overview

Chapter IV
A TRAVELING SALESMAN

AT THE ANNUAL BANQUET given to the executives of the Southern Pacific Company and other friends on April 23, 1892, at the Palace Hotel, Mr. Huntington referred to the work of his early years as follows:

My story is old. It commenced in the early part of this century amongst the hills of New England. There I started in life and business with advantages over many of the others who started with me, for I had not a liberal education and I had no money, whilst many of my boy neighbors had both, which prevented them from doing the hard and homely work which was nearest to them. I had no such obstacle between me and the useful work that needed to be done; so I took the work that lay nearest to me with an effort to do it better than it had ever been done before; and from the standpoint of each day's labor, looking upward and onward, ever anxious to spy out something better than what had preceded it. I can say that I have been fairly successful as all will be, I am confident, who work with the honesty of purpose that actuated me.

At the age of fourteen, his school life ended. His father consented that he should support himself, and he went to work for Orsen Barber, a neighbor farmer, for seven dollars a month, his board and clothes. At the end of the year he had saved his whole year's salary, $84.00.1

The next year he went to work for another neighbor, Phineas W. Noble, a grocer in whose store he acquired the

-12-

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