1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Sage, Russell

SAGE, RUSSELL (1816-1906), American financier, was born in Verona township, Oneida county, New York, on the 4th of August 1816. He worked as a farm-hand until he was 15, when he became an errand boy in a grocery conducted by his brother, Henry R. Sage, in Troy, New York. He had a part interest in 1837-1839 in a retail grocery in Troy, and in a wholesale store there in 1839-1857. He served as an alderman of Troy in 1841-1848, and as treasurer of Rensselaer county in 1845-1849. In 1853-1857 he was a Whig representative in Congress. He became an associate of Jay Gould in the development and sale of railways; and in 1863 removed to New York City, where, besides speculating in railway stocks, he became a money-lender and a dealer in "puts" and "calls" and "privileges," and in 1874 bought a seat in the New York Stock Exchange. He gradually accumulated a fortune, which at his death was variously estimated as from $60,000,000 to $80,000,000. On the 4th of December 1891 an attempt was made to assassinate him in his office by one Henry Norcross, who demanded a large sum of money, and upon being refused exploded a dynamite bomb, and was himself killed.[1] Sage died in New York on the 22nd of July 1906. In 1869 he had married Miss Margaret Olivia Slocum (b. 1828), a graduate (1847) of the Troy Female Seminary (now the Emma Willard School). She inherited nearly all of his great fortune, and out of it she gave away a long series of liberal benefactions to various institutions

  1. Mr Sage's secretary was also killed, and one of his clerks, W. R. Laidlaw, jr., was badly injured. Laidlaw afterward repeatedly sued Sage for damages, claiming that Sage had used him as a shield at the moment of the explosion, but his suits were unsuccessful.