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 Jay Gould's Career Ended 1892

Death Came to the Financier Yesterday Morning
  Jay Gould is dead. At 9:15 o'clock yesterday morning the news was sent out from his home, Fifth Avenue and Forty-seventh Street.

The end of the life of the great financier and railroad king was not unexpected. His relatives and friends had long feared it. The public had long known that Mr. Gould was in very poor health. Until midnight of Thursday, however, the information coming from the sick room was
purposely made as encouraging as possible. Then the physicians told the sorrowing ones around the bed of the stricken man that they were hoping against hope, and a bulletin was issued announcing that Mr. Gould was rapidly sinking.

Those he loved with a love which cannot be understood in him by those who only knew the Jay Gould of Wall Street were with him when he passed away. His end was as peaceful and as calm as his domestic life had always been.

Just before the hour of death Mr. Gould rallied from a period of unconsciousness which had lasted since midnight. He knew what was coming. Dr. Munn, his family physician, was seated at the bedside. He noted the return of consciousness and leaned over the dying man. Mr. Gould whispered to the physician that he wished to once more see and take the hands of those of his household.

In the room, besides the physicians and nurses, were Mr. and Mrs. George Gould, Mr. and Mrs. Edwin Gould, Howard and Harold Gould, Miss Helen and Miss Annie Gould, Mrs. Dr. George F. Shrady, the mother of Mrs. Edwin Gould, and Mrs. Terry, the housekeeper, who has so long been in the employ of the Goulds that she has become as one of the family. They had been sitting there all the night. When Drs. Munn and Janeway told them the end was near and that in the return of consciousness Mr. Gould had asked for them, they went to the bedside.

It is said that, while at this moment Mr. Gould was unable to speak above a whisper, his mind was clear. His eyes brightened as his family gathered about him. As each bent over him he whispered a few words and smiled as he received the parting caresses. It was thus he passed away.

Mr. Gould's death was due to pulmonary consumption. The immediate cause of death was a hemorrhage from the lungs. This cannot be stated on the authority of the physicians who attended him, for they refuse to speak. The formal certificate filed in the Bureau of Vital Statistics, however, gave the cause of death as phthisis pulmonalic, or consumption.

Mr. Gould's death caused no unusual excitement in the vicinity of his house. Passers-by stopped for the moment, attracted by the fluttering crape on the doorbell, by the drawn blinds in the windows, or by the presence of the undertaker's wagon, to ask if Mr. Gould had died. Now and again a carriage would draw up at the curb, bringing friends, who were admitted, but who, as a rule, staid only a few moments.

On Wall Street and throughout the city generally the death of Mr. Gould became the absorbing topic of conversation. At the same time it created no noticeable excitement in other ways. Those who had predicted a slump in the stock market as one of the consequences of the great stock manipulator's death proved to be false prophets.

Mr. Gould will be buried on Monday. The services will be held at the Fifth Avenue house. They will be characterized by the greatest simplicity. It has not yet been settled whether the hour will be 10 o'clock in the morning or 4 o'clock in the afternoon. The Rev. John R. Paxton of the West Presbyterian Church, Forty-second Street, between Fifth and Sixth Avenues, at which Mr. Gould was an attendant, will officiate, assisted by Chancellor MacCracken of the University of New York and the Rev. Roderick Terry. The body will be taken to Woodlawn Cemetery and there placed in the splendid granite mausoleum which Mr. Gould had built ten years ago and where the
body of his wife now rests.

The names of those who will act as pall bearers at the funeral were not announced yesterday, but friends of the family said they would in all probability include C.P. Huntington, F. K. Hain, Dr. Norvin Green, Russell Sage, and John F. Dillon.

Word was received at the Gould offices in the Western Union Building that a number of the Western officials of the Gould roads and friends in Western cities would come East to attend the funeral.

The first news of Mr. Gould's death was brought from the house by a messenger boy. He had been sent out by Dr. Munn to telegraph to Mrs. Munn that the end had come. As he ran to the telegraph office the boy told the news to the newspaper men, and a few minutes later it was being carried all over the world. Other messenger boys, who had evidently been in waiting, left the house just after the first one, with messages bearing the sad tidings to relatives and friends.

Within an hour after Mr. Gould died the callers began to go to the door. Few of them were persons who are generally known. Most of them were friends of the sons and daughters of the dead man, who simply left their cards and departed. A few, probably not more than fifty during the entire day, passed through the doors, these being either intimate friends who entered to sympathize with the family or those who went to perform the necessary duties in a house of mourning.

At the hour of the day when the death occurred there is always a procession of well-known business men walking down Fifth Avenue to their places of business. As they passed the Gould house yesterday they learned the news and generally made some comment. Chauncey M. Depew was one of those who walked past. Approaching a group of newspapermen, accompanied by his little boy, he asked if Mr. Gould was dead. Answered in the affirmative, he walked silently away.

Collis P. Huntington, also a railroad king, was another who received the news first as he passed the house on his way downtown. He went up the steps and was admitted to the house. He staid only a minute or two. As he came out he was asked what effect the death of Mr. Gould would have on the stock market. "None whatever," he answered. "Men are individuals. Property does not die. Mr. Gould's property remains just as it was before his death, and his son is competent to take up the burden he has laid down."

Among the earlier callers were Vice-President Galloway and General Manager Hain of the Manhattan Elevated Railroad Company. Both had been at the house in the morning before death had come, and their first intimation of the end was when they returned. Mr. Hain remained at the house most of the day, receiving those who entered to offer sympathy, and looking after matters generally.

The Rev. Dr. Paxton called about 10 o'clock and spent nearly an hour with Miss Helen-Gould and Miss Annie Gould and their brothers.

Edwin Gould left the house about 10 o'clock in a carriage. He was driven to the undertaking establishment of John Main, on West Forty-fourth Street, and soon afterward returned to his father's house.

The undertaker's wagon arrived at 10:30 o'clock. A casket, covered with a brown shroud, was carried into the house. Soon afterward the undertaker's assistant came out and fastened to the door bell the black crape.

During the day carriages continued to stop at the mansion and at the house of Edwin Gould, 1 East Forty-seventh Street. The Rev. Dr. Paxton called again in the afternoon, and Chancelor McCracken was among those admitted. The members of the family were, however, entirely inaccessible to any except their most intimate friends. Cards presented at the house or at the houses of either of the sons, with a view to seeing members of the family, met with the answer that they could not be seen.

In the afternoon, when the usual parade of carriages was moving up and down the avenue, there was quite a jam in front of the Gould house. Ladies would order their coachmen to stop and would peer inquisitively out of their carriage windows. Pedestrians, too, would linger on the corners for a few minutes to look at the house and comment with each other.

As might have been expected, the "cranks" were on hand. Whenever they began to air their ideas too freely a policeman made them move on. One of these cranks started to expound at length on the singular coincidence that it was on the first Friday in December, one year ago, that the bomb thrower Norcross blew up Russell Sage's office, and that on the first Friday of December Jay Gould had died.

The Rev. Dr. Paxton in speaking of Mr. Gould's last hours, said: "He had been unconscious for a number of hours, but as the end approached consciousness returned. He opened his eyes and they wandered around the room, where the family was gathered. He clearly recognized them, and at his whispered request they went to his bedside. To each of them in turn he whispered a few words of farewell. Vitality enough for this was vouchsafed him. When he had spoken to the last one he became unconscious again, and in a few minutes more he passed away."

It may be stated on the authority of one who has been very close to the Gould family in their domestic life that Mr. Gould had known for three years past that he was a victim of a disease which under the best of treatment would leave him only a short span of life. Dr. Munn told Mr. Gould as long ago as that that there were undoubted symptoms of consumption in his case. He had then long been a sufferer from dyspepsia and nervousness.

Mr. Gould would not believe his physician at first. He declared that there was no consumption in his family, and that what appeared to be symptoms of the dread disease were merely the effects of a bronchial affection. It would all pass away, he said, if he took good care of himself. He then pledged Dr. Munn to absolute secrecy, and that is why it never had been announced officially that Mr. Gould was a consumptive.

Mr. Gould was soon brought to a realizing sense of his physician's correct diagnosis of the case. Still he declared he would get over it. He dreaded the thought that it might become a matter of public comment that he was a consumptive.

When he saw that his struggle against the disease was not availing, Mr. Gould told the members of his family that Dr. Munn had long before told him that he had consumption, and he had become satisfied that such was the case. He cautioned them against letting the fact become public. From that day on he began more and more to make George, his eldest son, his confidant in all business matters.

A little before 10 o'clock last night the Gould house was closed, and no one either entered or left the mansion after that time. The family had then retired.

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Website: The History
Article Name: Jay Gould's Career Ended 1892
Researcher/Transcriber: Miriam Medina


The New York Times December 3, 1892
Time & Date Stamp:  


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