John Davison Rockefeller
Cause of Death Age Burial Location Visit Done
Arteriosclerosis 97 Cleveland, Ohio June 2005


                                           

Philanthropist John D. Rockefeller is interred                                As was the case with John Dillinger, I had
beneath this giant obelisk in Cleveland's Lake                              no idea who John Rockefeller was at the
View Cemetery.                                                                        time of my visit, so I did not get my
                                                                                              picture taken at his grave. Nevertheless, I
                                                                                              was actually there, as I took these two
                                                                                              photographs of my dad with the grave.




                                       *** Interesting Facts *** 

* On July 8, 1839, William and Eliza Rockefeller welcomed their newborn son into the world. What they did not know was that this boy would become one of the wealthiest people to ever walk the planet. John Rockefeller's childhood was spent in several New York towns, such as Moravia and Owego. The Rockefeller family moved to Cleveland in 1853, and John attended school there for the next few years. After his departure from high school, John Rockefeller started a business course at Folsom Mercantile College. Though the course was six months long, Rockefeller completed it in half that time. He soon landed a job as a bookkeeper for Hewitt & Tuttle, a company run by commission merchants. Rockefeller appeared to be a natural at his job and opened his own business a few years later at the age of nineteen. He and his partner, Maurice Clark, each put up $2,000 to finance the company. The business was prosperous, becoming even more so during the Civil War.

* Though their company, Clark & Rockefeller, was successful at the moment, Rockefeller was doubtful that it could survive in the city of Cleveland. Cleveland's main way of transport was via boat, as the city is located right on Lake Erie. Meanwhile, the railroad was swiftly becoming the faster and more popular way to ship goods. Rockefeller soon began to look at the oil industry, which had been sparked by the discovery of oil in Titusville, Pennsylvania in 1859. In 1863, Rockefeller, Clark, Clark's brothers, and a man named Samuel Andrews started their own oil refinery. The Atlantic & Great Western Railroad soon found its way to Cleveland, which was beneficial to Rockefeller and his partners, as that railroad went right through Titusville and other oil-rich locations. In 1865, Rockefeller bought out Clark and his brothers for $72,500 and began to concentrate solely on purifying oil. He then became the co-founder of another oil refinery, Standard Works.

* In 1867, a man named Henry Flagler joined Rockefeller and his partners (Rockefeller's brother and Andrews) in forming yet another oil refinery, Rockefeller, Andrews & Flagler. By the following year, it was the largest oil refinery in the entire world. In 1870, Standard Oil was formed by Rockefeller and his associates. At its formation, Standard Oil controlled 10% of all oil refining in the United States. Rockefeller believed that small refineries were wasteful and slowed down larger refineries like Standard Oil, so he set about buying out his competition. Becoming the most efficient refining company, Standard Oil controlled 90% of oil refining by 1881.

* It was in 1882 that Rockefeller established the Standard Oil Trust, effectively and legally cornering the oil market. With the trust, Rockefeller was able to control the supply of oil and, therefore, its price. He also continued to make secret deals with the railroads that resulted in discounts for Standard Oil. The trust lasted for nearly three decades, finally running into trouble in 1911, when the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that it violated the Sherman Anti-Trust Act of 1890. As a result, Standard Oil was broken up into thirty-four different companies. When the stock of these companies went skyward, John D. Rockefeller, their primary stockholder, became the world's first billionaire.

* By the time Rockefeller retired in 1897, his fortune was worth about $900 million. From that point on, he devoted his life to philanthropic ventures. His mother had raised him to respect charity and to give to others, and he certainly followed her advice. Prior to his retirement, in 1890, he made a large donation that led to the founding of the University of Chicago. One year, Rockefeller donated $1 million to a single church. In 1901 and 1913, respectively, he founded The Rockefeller Institute for Medical Research and The Rockefeller Foundation. He also handed out dimes to people he met on the street, and, for laughs, sometimes gave dimes to fellow businessmen, like Harvey Firestone. He continued to do this for the remainder of his years. The most notable robber baron of the Gilded Age succumbed to arteriosclerosis on May 23, 1937 in Ormond Beach, Florida.


Spouse: Laura Celestia Spelman Rockefeller (1839-1915)

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