Collis P. Huntington (1821-1900) was one of the Central Pacific Railroad Company's four investor-cum-directors (the men known as the Associates) and was a remarkably adroit and determined businessman. Huntington came to California in 1849 during the Gold Rush and subsequently became a wealthy man by selling supplies to the prospectors and miners. After hearing Theodore Judah speak on the prospects of Pacific railroad building, Huntington convinced Leland Stanford and fellow Sacramento merchants Mark Hopkins and Charles Crocker to join the project, forming the Central Pacific Railroad Company.
Huntington poured much of his personal wealth as well his lobbyist and fundraiser talents into the endeavor. The transcontinental railroad—and the innumerable side rackets Huntington ran while building it—made the already wealthy investor an even richer man. Although the Central Pacific Associates engaged in a financing scheme much like Thomas Durant's Crédit Mobilier, Huntington's shrewd instincts helped to steer the Central Pacific away from a similarly scandalous fate.
Outlasting the other Associates, Collis Huntington died in 1900, a railroad, resource, and real estate tycoon.