Historic check for the astronomical sum of $2000. Check drawn on the bank of California financial pioneer Darius Ogden Mills to the hardware store Huntington and Hopkins. The Huntington and Hopkins store was the site where Theodore "Crazy" Judah convinced a group of investors, including Leland Stanford, to invest in the Transcontinental Railroad.
Mills served as American banker, investor, railway executive, philanthropist, for a time California's wealthiest man. Born in New York State, his early career was as a bank clerk and retailer. Joined the California Gold Rush in Dec. 1848, and founded a bank in Sacramento. He never invested in gold or silver mining directly as he considered mining too speculative. He started businesses that supported the mining industry such as banks and railroads. He owned the Virginia and Truckee Railroad, the only link from the Comstock Lode to the Central Pacific Railroad and other operations in the Comstock area. Founded the Gold Bank of D.O. Mills & Co., and, in 1864, founded the Bank of California, which grew large in the 1860s-70s, but collapsed due to financial irregularities involving its chief cashier. Mills used his own fortune to revive the bank and attract new investment and within 3 years the bank was again strong. Mills bought part of Rancho Buri Buri and built an estate named Millbrae, which gave its name to the present town bordering San Francisco Bay that grew up around it; it was leased by grandson Ogden L. Mills to be used for Mills Field, now San Francisco International Airport. His daughter Elisabeth married publisher, diplomat & 1892 GOP VP candidate Whitelaw Reid; son Ogden Mills (1857-1929) was a financier and thoroughbred racehorse owner, and his son, Ogden L. Mills, was Hoover’s 1932-33 Treasury Secretary. Later in life, Mills retired and returned to New York, where he participated in developing a number of buildings in Manhattan, including 160 Bleecker Street, or "Mills House No. 1." He sat on the board of directors of a number of charitable and cultural institutions, inc. the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Museum of Natural History, the American Geographical Society, and the New York Botanical Garden. A number of San Francisco institutions are named for him, including Mills Hospital, Mills Estate housing subdivision, San Francisco's Mills Building, and Mills High School.
This Darius Ogen Mill autograph check reproduction would look great in an album or display.