John D. ROCKEFELLER

Family tree of John D. ROCKEFELLER

Industrialist, Businessman

AmericanBorn John Davison ROCKEFELLER

American oil industrialist, investor, and philanthropist

Born on July 08, 1839 in Richford, New York, USA , United States

Died on May 23, 1937 in The Casements, Ormond Beach, Florida, USA

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Rockefeller was the second of six children born in Richford, New York, to William Avery Rockefeller (November 13, 1810 – May 11, 1906) and Eliza Davison (September 12, 1813 – March 28, 1889). Genealogists trace some of his ancestors to French Huguenots who fled to Germany in the 17th century. His father, first a lumberman, then a traveling salesman, billed himself as a “botanic physician” and sold elixirs. The locals referred to the mysterious but fun-loving man as "Big Bill," and "Devil Bill". He was a sworn foe of conventional morality, who had opted for a vagabond existence and who returned to his family infrequently. Throughout his life, William Avery Rockefeller gained a reputation for shady schemes rather than productive work. Eliza, a homemaker and devout Baptist, struggled to maintain a semblance of stability at home, as William was frequently gone for extended periods. She also put up with his philandering and his double life, which included bigamy. Thrifty by nature and necessity, she taught her son that "willful waste makes woeful want." Young Rockefeller did his share of the regular household chores, and earned extra money raising turkeys, selling potatoes and candy, and eventually loaning small sums of money to neighbors. He followed his father’s advice to "trade dishes for platters", and always get the better part of any deal. Big Bill once bragged, "I cheat my boys every chance I get. I want to make ‘em sharp."



In spite of his father’s absences and frequent family moves, young Rockefeller was a well-behaved, serious and studious boy. His contemporaries described him as reserved, earnest, religious, methodical, and discreet. He was an excellent debater, and expressed himself precisely. He also had a deep love of music, and dreamed of it as a possible career. Early on, he displayed an excellent mind for numbers and detailed accounting.

...   Rockefeller was the second of six children born in Richford, New York, to William Avery Rockefeller (November 13, 1810 – May 11, 1906) and Eliza Davison (September 12, 1813 – March 28, 1889). Genealogists trace some of his ancestors to French Huguenots who fled to Germany in the 17th century. His father, first a lumberman, then a traveling salesman, billed himself as a “botanic physician” and sold elixirs. The locals referred to the mysterious but fun-loving man as "Big Bill," and "Devil Bill". He was a sworn foe of conventional morality, who had opted for a vagabond existence and who returned to his family infrequently. Throughout his life, William Avery Rockefeller gained a reputation for shady schemes rather than productive work. Eliza, a homemaker and devout Baptist, struggled to maintain a semblance of stability at home, as William was frequently gone for extended periods. She also put up with his philandering and his double life, which included bigamy. Thrifty by nature and necessity, she taught her son that "willful waste makes woeful want." Young Rockefeller did his share of the regular household chores, and earned extra money raising turkeys, selling potatoes and candy, and eventually loaning small sums of money to neighbors. He followed his father’s advice to "trade dishes for platters", and always get the better part of any deal. Big Bill once bragged, "I cheat my boys every chance I get. I want to make ‘em sharp."



In spite of his father’s absences and frequent family moves, young Rockefeller was a well-behaved, serious and studious boy. His contemporaries described him as reserved, earnest, religious, methodical, and discreet. He was an excellent debater, and expressed himself precisely. He also had a deep love of music, and dreamed of it as a possible career. Early on, he displayed an excellent mind for numbers and detailed accounting.



When he was a boy, his family moved to Moravia, New York and, in 1851, to Owego, where he attended Owego Academy. In 1853, his family moved to Strongsville, a suburb of Cleveland. Rockefeller attended Cleveland's Central High School and then took a ten week business course at Folsom's Commercial College where he studied bookkeeping. In September 1855, when Rockefeller was sixteen, he got his first job as an assistant bookkeeper, working for a small produce commission firm called Hewitt & Tuttle. He worked long hours and delighted, as he later recalled, in “all the methods and systems of the office”. He was particularly adept at calculating transportation costs, which served him well later in his career. The full salary for his first three months' work was $50 (50 cents a day). From the beginning, he donated about 6% of his earnings to charity, which increased to 10% by the age of twenty, when he tithed to his Baptist church.



In 1859, Rockefeller went into the produce commission business with a partner, Maurice B. Clark, and they raised $4,000 in capital. Rockefeller went steadily ahead in business from there, making money each year of his career. After wholesale foodstuffs, the partners built an oil refinery in 1863 in "The Flats", then Cleveland's burgeoning industrial area. The refinery was directly owned by Andrews, Clark & Company, which was composed of Clark & Rockefeller, chemist Samuel Andrews, and M. B. Clark's two brothers. The commercial oil business was in its infancy. Whale oil had become too expensive for the masses, and a cheaper, general-purpose lighting fuel was needed.



While his brother Frank fought in the Civil War, Rockefeller tended his business and hired substitute soldiers. He gave money to the Union cause, as did many rich Northerners who avoided combat. In February 1865, in what was later described by oil industry historian Daniel Yergin as a "critical" action, Rockefeller bought out the Clark brothers for $72,500 at auction, and established the firm of Rockefeller & Andrews. Rockefeller said, "It was the day that determined my career." He was well-positioned to take advantage of post-war prosperity and the great expansion westward, fostered by the growth of railroads and an oil-fueled economy. He borrowed heavily, reinvested profits, adapted rapidly to changing markets, and fielded observers to track the quickly expanding industry.



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Geographical origins

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