(October 19, 1819 - July 8, 1887)
Born in Kentucky, Ben Holladay moved to Weston, Missouri operated a hotel, store, traded with the indians and supplied the U.S. militia. During the Mexican war, Holladay helped supply Kearney's army, then purchased freighting equipment.
Ben had lots of money in hand after driving a herd of cattle to California. He purchased the Central Overland California and Pikes Peak Express Company, reorganized it, improved it and extended the service. The new company became known as the Overland Stage Company and later the Overland Holladay Mail and Express Company. His stages covered 2,750 miles of road and the U.S. Government paid him $650,000 per year for carrying the mail.
Holladay saw the railroad would change transportation forever and sold the stage company in the mid-1860s to Wells Fargo for $1.5 million. This transportation figure then formed the Northern Pacific Transportation Company - a steamboat business on the west coast covering Alaska to Mexico.
Holladay was a transportation monarch, the Boss of the Plains and a visionary ahead of his time.
Ben Holladay is buried in the Mount Calvary Cemetery in Portland, OR.
Information compiled by Steve Grimm
Drawing by Richard Florence
Books about Ben Holladay
The Saga of Ben Holladay by Ellis Lucia
A book which appears to based in fact and a good read.