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Cyrus West Field was born on November 30, 1819 in Stockbridge, Massachusetts, where he was educated. Entering a counting house in New York, he became in a few years the proprietor of a large mercantile establishment. Retiring from business in 1853, he traveled for a while in South America, and on his return in 1854 he gave his attention to the subject of ocean telegraphs, and was contributory in acquiring a charter from the legislature of Newfoundland to establish a telegraph from the continent of America to that colony, and from there to Europe.

For the next thirteen years he devoted himself exclusively to the execution of this endeavor. He was actively engaged in the construction of the land line of telegraph in Newfoundland, and in the two attempts to lay the submarine cable between Cape Ray and Cape Breton. He crossed the Atlantic ocean 50 times because he wanted to lay a cable under it, the success of which was mainly due to his exertions. He received the unanimous thanks of congress, with a gold medal, in commemoration of the successful project; and at the Paris exposition he received the grand medal. Since 1877 he has been prominently connected with the elevated railways in New York city, and has been president of one of the companies.






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