Biography of John Jacob Astor
Famous American Biographies





JOHN JACOB ASTOR, the founder of the Astor family and fortunes, while not a native of this country, was one of the most noted men of his time, and as all his wealth and fame were acquired here, he may well be classed among America's great men, He was born near Heidelberg, Germany, July 17, 1763, and when twenty years old emigrated to the United States. Evcn at that age he exhibited remarkable business ability and foresight, and soon he was investing capital in furs which he took to London and sold at a great profit. He next settled at New York, and engaged extensively in the fur trade. He exported. furs to Europe in his own vessels, which returned with cargoes of foreign commodities, and thus he rapidly amassed an immense fortune. In 1811 he founded Astoria on the western coast of North America, near the mouth of the Columbia river, as a depot for the fur trade, for the promotion of which he sent a number of expeditions to the Pacific ocean. He also purchased a. large amount of real estate in New York, the value of which increased enormously All through life his business ventures were a series of marvelous successes, and he ranked as one of the most sagacious and successful business men in the world. He died March 29, 1848, leaving a fortune estimated at over twenty million 'dollars to. his children, who have since increased it. John Jacob Astor left $400,000 to found a. public library in New York City, and his son, William B. Astor, who died in 1875, left $300,000 to add to his father's bequest. This is known as the Astor Library, one of the largest in the United States.


FROM:
A Biographical Record
Of Schuyler County, New York
The S. J. Clarke Publishing Company
New York and Chicago 1903.


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