John D. Rockefeller During the late 1800’s and early 1900’s the oil industry was a monopoly that was created by one man. Some people would describe this man as a ruthless, cruel, cutthroat business tycoon. This man was John Davison Rockefeller. John D. Rockefeller made the Standard Oil Company, becoming America’s first billionaire, and then gave away more than half his fortune to charities. John Rockefeller was a dedicated businessman who built himself an empire from nothing and helped others with his generous donations.
His business ended up helping smaller businesses because of the new laws and restrictions that needed to be created in order for the U.S. government to have a handle on the Standard Oil Company. John D. Rockefeller changed the oil industry, created and greatly contributed to many charities in America. Rockefeller was born on July 8, 1839 in Richford, New York (J.D.R. J.D.R. Page n.p.).
He married Laura C. Spelman (1839-1915) on September 8, 1864 (Rockefeller Family and Associates n.p.). His mother, Eliza Davison Rockefeller, was very religious and disciplined, she was the person who taught him to work hard, save and give to charities (J.D.R. J.D.R. Page n.p.).
Rockefeller’s mother had the biggest influence on him involving his religion and philanthropy. John D. Rockefellers father, William Avery Rockefeller, was a pitch man or a doctor that says he can cure cancers for a fee (J.D.R. J.D.R. Page n.p.). John and Laura Rockefeller had four girls and one boy (Rockefeller Family and Associates n.p.).
The one boy they did have, John Davison Rockefeller Jr. (1874-1960), went on to continue his father’s work and make the Rockefeller name a well-liked one instead of one that was a bitter reminder of his father’s business techniques (Rockefeller Family and Associates n.p.). John D. Rockefeller died on May 23, 1937 in Ormond, Florida after retiring from the oil industry in 1911 (J.D.R. Encyclopedia of World Biography Vol. 13 228).
Rockefeller attended Folsom’s Commercial College for ten weeks where he studied single and double entry bookkeeping, penmanship, commercial history, mercantile customs, banking and exchange to help him get a job (J.D.R. J.D.R. Page n.p.). He never attended any other type of school after attending Folsom’s Commercial College. The most important person in Rockefeller’s life was his mother when he was growing up (Bill Bell n.p.).
She was the person who taught him about his religion. When Rockefeller was twelve years old, he loaned a local farmer fifty dollars at seven percent interest, and discovered that letting money do the work was a much better way to earn a living, instead of working one’s whole life (J.D.R. J.D.R. Page n.p.). Charging interest on his money earned him more than he had to loan out and led him to stocks, where he always had more of the company’s stocks than anyone else. His first real job was at as an assistant bookkeeper where he gained many responsibilities because of his hard work mentality and honesty (J.D.R.
J.D.R. Page n.p.). Since Rockefeller was poor as a child he always worked hard to get anything. This was a very good quality that he had, and it helped him greatly when he was looking for a job. Rockefeller’s family was Baptist and so Rockefeller himself, was a very religious man that always gave money to the church (J.D.R. J.D.R.
Page n.p.). When Rockefeller was twenty years of age, he would give ten percent of his income to his church (Roger Draper n.p.). He even paid off the mortgage of the Euclid Avenue Baptist Church after suffering a heart attack one day before he died (Bill Bell n.p.). In his business and retired life he loved to pile up money, but also loved to give it away to charities (Bill Bell n.p.). Rockefeller first went into business, in grains, with Maurice Cark (1859) and soon expanded into oil refining when it was just getting going (J.D.R. Encyclopedia of World Biography vol.
13 226). Rockefeller was involved in the South Improvement Company Scheme in 1871, which was ..a defensive alliance of Cleveland refiners to meet the bitter opposition of the oil producers of Pennsylvania. (J.D.R. Encyclopedia of World Biography vol.13 227). The plan and the Refiner’s pool were outlawed by the Pennsylvania Legislature (J.D.R.
Encyclopedia of World Biography vol.13 227). Rockefeller’s rival, Franklin Tarbell’s daughter Ida Tarbell, wrote History of the Standard Oil Company (1904) which made Rockefeller look like a villain (Roger Draper n.p.). That book exposed many secrets and tactics that Rockefeller used in his business deals. After her book was released, Rockefeller’s public image went down because many of the people thought that Rockefeller was a ruthless and intimidating businessman. Rockefeller had wanted since he was a boy to earn $100,000 and he ended up being the first billionaire in America (Bill Bell n.p.). Rockefeller was involved in the oil refinery business from 1872-1911 when he retired, and was based in Ohio and New Jersey with offices in New York (J.D.R.
J.D.R. Page n.p.). In 1863 Samuel Andrews joined the firm and together Rockefeller and Andrews bought out Maurice Clark within two years when Rockefeller and Clark had been Cleveland’s largest refinery (J.D.R. Encyclopedia of World Biography vol. 13 226).
Rockefeller thought that with Andrews as a partner he would be able to make more money and be able to reach more customers. Rockefeller put his brother, William, in charge of a firm in New York City as Manager of Atlantic Coast trade and export of kerosene in 1866 (J.D.R. Tycoons and Entrepreneurs 212). He wanted to have someone that he knew and that he could trust to work for him. Rockefeller knew that if he had employees that were trying to cheat him he could never be as successful as he wanted to be.
In 1867 Henry Flagler was brought in as a partner (J.D.R. Tycoons and Entrepreneurs 212). Having more partners in an industry made it stronger because one person isn’t responsible for everything that happens and there is less liability on the company. Standard Oil was founded in 1870 by Rockefeller, William Rockefeller, Henry Flagler, Samuel Andrews, Stephen Harkness and O.B. Jennings, but John Rockefeller had the largest share of the company at thirty percent (J.D.R. J.D.R. Page n.p.). Rockefeller had the largest share because he was the founder of the company and he knew how stock shares could earn him more money.
By now Rockefeller was one of America’s wealthiest men and he was just getting started. By 1879 he had bought out almost all other refineries and Standard Oil refined ninety percent of the oil in America (J.D.R. Encyclopedia of World Biography vol. 13 227). Rockefeller wanted to make the company successful by expanding and since Standard Oil used their own tank car fleet, ships, docking facilities, barrel-making plants, draying services, depots, warehouses and pipelines, it didn’t have to spend much money for any outside parties to make something (J.D.R.
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