In the fall of 1872 an equine viral epidemic, called the Great Epizootic, infected nearly 90 percent of the horses in the country. Four million horses died before the disease ran its course, leaving the country at a virtual standstill. Every industry was affected. Goods could not be produced or delivered, and financial panic engulfed the nation. Coal could not be transported from the mines to power the locomotives, and the railroads were forced to shut down. Income for the already financially extended railroads ceased; all were hit hard and many were forced into bankruptcy. Hopkins, who remained financially stable through diversified investments, was able to advance the B&O large sums of money to meet its interest obligations, thereby averting disaster for the company and solidifying his already lofty position in Baltimore business circles.
Friday, May 14, 2010
From Genius on the Edge by Dr. Gerald Imber (page 61):