John D. Rockefeller – American industrialist
The old man, like a withered mummy with protruding ears, lived as a hermit in his estate, never traveled anywhere, did not invite anyone, ate only boiled food and drank only distilled water. He was afraid of germs. The old man set a goal: to live as long as possible. He sat in a chair with a clock in his hands and looked at the second hand with a sense of satisfaction: its every jump lengthened his life. The American wondered whether he could live up to a hundred years. This old man, who wanted to join the very long life to his incredible wealth, was none other than the multi-billionaire John Davison Rockefeller.
Money was very important for him, each bank note had not only nominal, but also character. John strongly wanted to make friends with them. The big bill sounded like a symphony orchestra, a little – like violin. He wanted to be friends with money, it meant to be friends with great people depicted on bank notes. The only billionaire’s dream was to capture the money of others.
In the 1840s William Avery Rockefeller, a pharmacist, who called himself a doctor, travelled in New York. He treated everybody with a single medicine. The ingredients of healing elixir were water, grasses and … oil. This doctor stated that his elixir healed all cancer cases. His magic elixir cost $ 25. However, the healing was not the only doctor’s occupation. He was a leader of horse thieves. So, he earned a lot of money.
John D. Rockefeller was born on July 8, 1839, in Richford, New York. At the age of seven little John began to grow turkeys for sale and dig potatoes for money. Every earned cent he saved in a piggy bank. Having earned the initial capital the 12-year-old boy gave the neighbor farmer $ 50 at 7.5% per annum.
After graduating from high school and college in Cleveland sixteen-year-old John worked as an assistant accountant in a small company, this was his first and last job for hire. After that, he and his companion started their own business: they founded the Clark and Rochester trading house, which sold grain, meat, hay and other goods.
In 1862, John with a few companions organized his first oil refinery. 35-year-old Rockefeller had already controlled 90% of the refinery in the US, and by 1878 he had taken over the oil pipelines business in the country. He founded Standard Oil Company and became “oil king” of America.
John Rockefeller married a devout girl, whom he met while studying. The wedding was more than modest: the newlyweds lived in a cheap rented apartment without servants. At that time John was already the owner of the oil refinery. His children received money for sharpening pencils, studying music, weeding the garden, chopping firewood. For offenses and late for breakfast, children were fined. Rockefeller was moderate in food, did not drink alcohol and did not smoke, was indifferent to clothes and rarely changed costumes, did not attend theaters and clubs. His favorite dish was bread with milk. John’s wife wore patched dresses.
During the Civil War, when John earned a lot of money on food supplies to government troops, the family of his brother Frank, who fought in those troops, asked him for help. John refused, and two of his young nephews died of starvation. They were buried in the family crypt of the Rockefellers, but Frank reburied his children in other place. “I do not want any of my family rested on the land of this monster, my brother John D. Rockefeller”, – he said.
Shortly after the death of his nephews John was struck by a rare disease. Although he was a little more than twenty years old, his face became wrinkled, hair fell out all over the body. He looked like a withered mummy with the ears of a bat. He suffered from eczema and sclerosis.
John Rockefeller dreamed of earning $ 100 million and living up to a hundred years. The first dream came true. He was the first dollar billionaire and the richest man of the late XIX – early XX centuries. Rockefeller owned 16 railway and 6 steel companies, 9 companies selling real estate, 6 shipping companies, 9 banks and 3 orange groves.
On May 23, 1937, at the age of 97, he died. So, his second dream almost came true.
Rockefeller spent huge sums on charity: investing in research medicine, sponsoring universities and museums, donating churches and Baptist communities.