Cyrus West Field
Cyrus West Field was born in Stockbridge, Massachusetts, on November 30, 1819. He was educated at the Stockbridge Academy, and by 1835 was working as an errand boy in a dry-goods firm in New York City. He returned to Massachusetts in 1838, and helped his brother operate Phelps and Field, a paper manufacturing firm. In 1839, young Field established his own paper mill. A year later, he became a junior partner in E. Root and Company, a wholesale paper company in New York City. When the company went bankrupt in 1841, Field reorganized it into Cyrus W. Field and Company. Upon retiring from managing the company in 1853, he had amassed a fortune estimated at $250,000.
In 1854, he began organizing the construction of a transatlantic telegraph cable. Although the cable broke after the first attempt, Field later organized the construction of another line. The new line, completed in August 1867, was the first successful transatlantic cable. Field made over $6 million from the transatlantic cable, and invested heavily with Jay Gould in the Manhattan and Wabash railroads. Because of a struggle between Field and Gould for control of the Manhattan Railroad, Field was driven to financial ruin. He was able to support himself with the modest profits from his real estate investments in New York City and Stockbridge, Massachusetts. Field died in New York on July 12, 1892.