Presentation on theme: "James J. Hill By Megan Blosser Cover Slide. Early Life James J Hill was born in 1838 in Ontario, Canada. He lost one eye in an unfortunate arrow accident."— Presentation transcript:
Early Life James J Hill was born in 1838 in Ontario, Canada. He lost one eye in an unfortunate arrow accident when he was young. His poor eyesight effected him negatively in many circumstances,although he refused to let his handicap stop him from getting what he wanted in life. His father died when he was still a small boy leaving his family poor and lower class. He was forced to go to work as a young boy and struggled to rise above his social station. First he moved to St. Paul in order to travel with a group of trappers. It had been his intention to make money by trapping and trading animals. However the last group of traders left before he arrived so he stayed in St. Paul for some time. While there he began to work for the Mississippi River Steamboat Company. Through his experience with this company he learned about business, manufacturing, and shipping. It gave him necessary skills that he would use for the rest of his life.
Early Business He was involved in many different businesses throughout his life. He worked for railroad companies, steamboat companies, as a bookkeeper, a warehouse worker; basically wherever he could find a job. He attempted to enlist in the Civil War but was rejected due to his bad eyesight so instead he organized the First Minnesota Volunteers. After the Civil War he worked for the First Division of the St. Paul & Pacific Railroad who he introduced to coal as a source of fueling. Later he joined together with a grocery business to form a monopoly in that region. He combined his company with the Hudson Bay Company to form the Red River Transportation Company. He waited until the St. Paul & Pacific was in financial ruin and then took advantage of the situation, combining with the Hudson Bay Company and another group to buy the railroad company.
Big Business He pushed his workers hard and they managed to lay over one mile of track daily. Immigrants bought the land around his tracks and then worked for him and harvested crops for him to transport. Everything he did had to be perfect; he only used the best materials, worked out all details meticulously, and built up the land around the railroad tracks. James Hill's dream to build a transcontinental railroad became known as Hill's Folly because people did not believe it was possible for him to compete with railroad companies that had federal support and monetary backing. He became involved in the construction of the Central Pacific Railroad but resigned when he realized that they would soon become direct competitors when he built his transcontinental railroad. He kept building his railroad and eventually connected it with the Montana Central Railroad. In this same way he managed to buy out most of his major competitors and add on to his railroad empire.
Big Business He encouraged settlement by allowing immigrants and families to travel cheaply if they agreed to settle beside his tracks. Once they were there he often gave away free materials, decreased rates, and sold products at such a low rate he only made a small profit. Then he created the Great Northern Railroads and bought out the Northern Pacific Company. He purchased the Chicago, Burlington & Quincy from J.P. Morgan effectively connecting the north and south. Many people referred to his railroads as the “Hill Lines.” through his new routes he managed to open trade between the Orient, China, England, and the entire United States.
He found items that each section of the country needed and found a way to distribute the products; connecting the nation through an increase in international trade. He was a great contributor to western settlement and built up the area in the west. It is said that instead of building a track through an area, he built an area around his tracks. His was the only railroad company to never go in debt. In 1915 Hill was pronounced the state of Minnesota's greatest citizen. He was often known as the “Empire Builder”. He died of an infection on May 29, 1916. James J. Hill
Political Cartoon This political cartoon shows many business men being destroyed by the black cloud of investigation. Their balloon of high finances has been punctured and fallen. Ship building, steel trusts, Northern securities, and many other organizations are now doomed. They have been torn down and their owners are on the ground hurt.