California Gold Rush
Leland Stanford (1824-1893) was an entrepreneur, politician, and (with his wife Jane) the founder of Stanford University.
After moving to California in 1852, Stanford opened a general store to supply miners in the Gold Rush, making a small fortune. In the 1860s, he parlayed his general store earnings into a stake in the Central Pacific Railroad, joining fellow Gold Rush merchants Collis P. Huntington, Mark Hopkins, and Charles Crocker to form the "Big Four" C.P.R.R. cofounders. After serving as President of the railroad, Stanford was elected to the governorship of California and to the United States Senate. In 1891, he and wife Jane founded Stanford University in memory of their deceased son, Leland Stanford, Jr.