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Clark, Horace Francis (1815-1873)

Banker, Politician

Born in Southbury, Connecticut, Horace Francis Clark received his education from Williams College. In 1837, after being admitted to the bar, Clark worked as a lawyer in New York City "where he was prominent in financial, political, and railroad circles." In 1856, he ran for a seat in Congress. His bid was a success, as was his reelection campaign ("Clark"). At the end of his political career, Clark returned to the world of law but quickly dismissed it in favor of business opportunities within the growing railroad industry. According to his obituary in the New York Times, Clark "first became prominent in railroad matters when he was associated with Commodore Vanderbilt in obtaining the control of the Hudson River Railroad." The association between Vanderbilt and Clark proved to be fruitful for him as he learned the innerworkings of the railroad industry from one of its pioneers, serving as Vanderbilt's "confidential adviser" for a number of years (New York Times, June 21, 1873, 2). Clark would make his career on consolidating and unifying railroad lines. He worked as a director of the New York & Harlem Railroad while continually increasing his interests in other rail companies, including the Union Pacific Railroad Company where he would eventually become president. His acquisition of railroads gave him a great deal of power: "His railroad holdings were so large that his operations exerted an influence upon the New York Stock Exchange, the term 'Clark Stock' being applied to those companies in which his holdings were the largest" (J. Frederick).

Horace Clark's association with Pfaff's is unclear. He is described as one of Thomas Dunn English's "associates" at Pfaff's in "Our New York" (English, "The Club" 202). However, further information about his connection to Pfaff's remains unknown.