Why Some Succeed While Others Fail: Russell Sage

This wonderful man was born at Verona, Oneida County, New York, over sixty years ago. In early life, he determined to earn all that he could, and spend less than he earned. When he arrived at the age of fifteen, he removed to Troy, and entered the grocery store of one of his brothers. Until eighteen years of age he remained here as a clerk when he had saved money enough to buy an interest in another store of which another brother was proprietor. Here he remained several years in successful trade, when the partnership was dissolved. He next turned his attention to the wholesale trade, dealing in grain, flour, pork, beef, etc., the most of these ventures proving successful.

His towns’ people, recognizing his business ability elected him alderman for seven years, and later, treasurer of Rensselaer county. His fidelity in these trusts won for him a seat in Congress, and he was re-elected by an increased majority, serving both terms with great credit to himself and party.

In 1860, he had succeeded so well that he could show $200,000 on the credit side of his bank account. Seeking new fields to conquer, he naturally gravitated to the money centre, New York. Since that time Russell Sage has been as favorably known in Wall street as any broker in the country. He occupies an office in the same building with Gould, and scores of the leading spirits, with whom he mingles daily. He attends strictly to business, and never even smokes. Mr. Sage deals in everything which he deems “an investment,”—banks, railroad stock, real estate, all receive his attention. He is a very cautious operator, and cannot, by any possible means, be induced into a “blind pool.” He has, however, been very successful in the “street,” and it is said has built over three thousand miles of railroad. Russell Sage might easily be mistaken for a church deacon, instead of the keen operator that he is. However, no one in the “street” will give away “points” to his friends sooner than he. The Troy Times once mentioned several people who said that Mr. Sage had pointed out to them investments, of which they could never have known but for him, each investment having yielded them thousands of dollars. He often gives friends the benefit of his splendid opportunities, which makes him a general favorite among all brokers. Mr. Sage enjoys the confidence and friendship of some of the leading operators, among whom are Jay Gould.

He is a man of marked ability, and honesty. He never fails to meet any of his obligations, nor will he allow others to neglect theirs. Of course, he is careful what he agrees to do, but always does just as he agrees, regardless of cost. For this reason he is known in Wall street as “Old Integrity.” Russell Sage is a shrewd, close calculator, and is worth many millions, the result of improving his opportunities. He is a consistent member of the Evangelical Church, and is very charitable. Long may such men live, for we have many worse.