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ROCKEFELLER, John Davison [1839-1937] -- American industrialist and philanthropist

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One of the founders of The Standard Oil Co., he was born in Richford, N.Y., July 8, 1839, the oldest son of William Avery and Eliza Davison Rockefeller. The family removed to Cleveland, OH, in 1853, where John completed his studies at the age of sixteen at the high school. As clerk in the forwarding and commission house of Hewitt & Tuttle, he then entered modestly upon a career, possible only in a country like ours, which gives free scope to the talents of every young man and binds no one to a life of obscurity, who has the ability to rise above it. After fifteen months, he became cashier and bookkeeper in charge of the office of the firm. When not yet nineteen years old, he engaged in a commission business on his own account in partnership with Morris B. Clark, as Clark & Rockefeller, continuing with various partners until the spring of 1865.

In 1870, The Standard Oil Co. of Ohio was organized with a capital of $1,000,000, with John D. Rockefeller as president, William Rockefeller vice president and Henry M. Flagler secretary and treasurer. Many other refineries in Ohio, Pennsylvania and New York associated themselves with The Standard Oil Co. from time to time, and in 1882, The Standard Oil Trust was formed with a capital of $70,000,000, afterward increased to $95,000,000, which, within seven or eight years, came into possession of the stocks of the companies controlling the greater part of the petroleum refining business of the United States, and, in addition, of large oil producing interests. In 1892, the Supreme Court of Ohio decided the Trust to be illegal, and it was dissolved, the business being now conducted by the separate companies, in each of which Mr. Rockefeller is a shareholder. The Standard Oil companies have been able to reduce the cost of oil to consumers, and they now own thousands of acres of oil lands, an extensive system of wells, refineries, pipe lines, oil steamships, and business houses in all the principal cities of the United States and the representative cities of nearly every civilized country on the face of the globe. They control the greater part of the petroleum business of this country and export much of the oil used in other countries. They give employment to a vast army of men, among whom strikes are unknown.
[America's Successful Men of Affairs: An Encyclopedia of Contemporaneous Biography, 1895]  -30-
 

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Associated

  • Father: ¤ROCKEFELLER, William Avery "Doc" [1810-1904] American quack
  • Brother: ¤ROCKEFELLER, William [1841-1922] -- American financier

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