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Edward James Gay (1816–1889)

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Edward James Gay (1816–1889)

Edward James Gay

Edward J. Gay (February 3, 1816 – May 30, 1889) was a financier and member of United States Congress. He was born at Liberty, Bedford County, Virginia, in the United States. Gay was the grandfather of Edward James Gay, who also served in the U.S. Congress.

Early history

His family moved to Illinois in 1820, then four years later to St. Louis, Missouri. For several years he studied under a private teacher in Belleville, Illinois; he attended Augusta College in Kentucky in 1833-34 and returned to St. Louis, where he was engaged in commercial affairs from 1839 to 1860. Although he had no formal business education, Gay was a dedicated student of industrial and political economy from early manhood on.

From St. Louis he moved to Louisiana, where he became interested in manufacturing and planting. He was prominently connected with the erection of the Merchant's Exchange Building in St. Louis., and he was the first president of the Louisiana Sugar Exchange of New Orleans.

Gay was originally opposed to secession from the Union, but once the American Civil War began, he stood firmly behind the Southern Confederacy.

Political career

Although not inclined towards politics, Edward J. Gay was persuaded in 1884 by his friends and associates to run for a seat in the U.S. House of Representatives. He defeated William Pitt Kellogg, the last survivor of carpetbagging in Louisiana, in the election and became a member of the

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