Full Name: Thomas Clark Durant
Profession: Financier and Railroad Promoter
Why Famous: One of the prime movers of the Crédit Mobilier scandal of the late 19th century, Durant was the vice president of Union Pacific Railroad in the 1860s. At this time railroads were expanding throughout America, and Durant was successful at constructing them in the midwest.
He created and for a while controlled Crédit Mobilier, which constructed railroads. Though he lost control of the company, in 1872 it came to light that Crédit Mobilier had been charging far higher rates than usual for construction of rail in America and that stock and cash had been given to various politicians in Washington as a form of bribe.
- 1863-03-03 US Congress authorizes track width of 4'8½" for Union Pacific Railroad
- 1873-01-06 US Congress begins investigating Crédit Mobilier scandal