Biography of John D. Rockefeller
Famous American Biographies





JOHN DAVISON ROCKEFELLER, one of America's very greatest financiers and philanthropists, was born in Richford, Tioga county, New York, July 8, 1839. He received a common school education in his native place, and in 1853, when his parents removed to Cleveland, Ohio, he entered the high school of that city. After a two years course of diligent work, he entered the commission and forwarding house of Hewitt & Tuttle, of Cleveland, remaining with the firm some years, and then began business for himself, forming a partnership with Morris B. Clark. Mr. Rockefeller was then but nineteen years of age, and during the year 1860, in connection with others, they started the oil refining business, under the firm name of Andrews, Clark & Co. Mr. Rockefeller and Mr. Andrews purchased the interest of their associates, and, after taking William Rockefeller into the firm, established offices in Cleveland under the name of William Rockefeller & Co. Shortly after this the house of Rockefeller & Co. was established in New York for the purpose of finding a market for their products, and two years later all the refining companies were consolidated under the firm name of Rockefeller, Andrews & Flagler. This firm was succeeded in 1870 by the Standard Oil Company of Ohio, said to be the most gigantic business corporation of modern times. John D. Rockefeller's fortune has been variously estimated at from one hundred million to two hundred million dollars.

Mr. Rockefeller's philanthropy manifested itself principally through the American Baptist Educational Society. He donated the building for the Spelman Institute at Atlanta, Georgia, a school for the instruction of negroes. His other gifts were to the University of Rochester, Cook Academy, Peddie Institute, and Vassar College, besides smaller gifts to many institutions throughout the country. His princely donations, however, were to the University of Chicago. His first gift to this institution was a conditional offer of six hundred thousand dollars in 1889, and when this amount was paid he added one million more. During 1892 he made it two gifts of one million each, and all told, his donations to this one institution aggregated between seven and eight millions of dollars.


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

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