THOMAS FORTUNE RYAN (1851-1928). Ryan, a pioneer in New York City transit, is best remembered for creating the first American holding company, the Metropolitan Traction Company. Ryan started as a Wall Street messenger, went into the brokerage business and invested his profits in New York transit. He took those profits and expanded into tobacco, banking, railroading, insurance and utilities. He was often accused of illegalities, but was able to wriggle free each time.