John D. Rockefeller biography
John D. Rockefeller was born July 8, 1839, in Richford, New York. He built his first oil refinery near Cleveland and in 1870 incorporated the Standard Oil Company. By 1882 he had a near-monopoly of the oil business in the U.S, but his business practices led to the passing of antimonopoly laws. Late in life Rockefeller devoted himself to philanthropy. He died in 1937.
Entrepreneur. John D. Rockefeller was an American industrialist who rose from humble beginnings. He founded the Standard Oil Company, a dominating force in the American economy that propelled its founder to become the world's richest man.
Born in Richford, New York on July 8, 1839, Rockefeller moved with his family to Cleveland at the age of 16. Unafraid of hard work, he took on a number of small business ventures as a teenager and at age 16, he landed his first real office job as an assistant bookkeeper with Hewlett & Tuttle, commission merchants and produce shippers.
By the age of 20, Rockefeller, who'd thrived at his job, ventured out his own with another business partner, working as commission merchants in hay, meats, grain and other goods. At the close of the company's first year in business, it had grossed $450,000.
A careful and studious businessman who refrained from taking unnecessary risks, Rockefeller sensed an opportunity in the oil business by the early 1860s, and in 1863 he opened his first refinery, just outside Cleveland. Less than a decade later, Rockefeller, founder of the Standard Oil Company, had near-total control of the region's refineries.
When the oil business moved east to Pennsylvania, Rockefeller followed it. By the early 1880s, he dominated the oil business throughout the country and his company had a net worth of $55 million. Standard's dominance stemmed from its near control (and ownership) of almost every aspect the business. Under Rockefeller's leadership, the company established a system of pipelines to transport its product. It owned train cars, and scooped up thousands of acres of forest for fuel.
In 1882, Rockefeller organized the Standard Oil Trust, a business trust that would serve as a model for the creation of other kinds of monopolies. Rockefeller, of course, was appointed head of the organization.
But as Rockefeller's power and wealth increased, his standing with the public nose-dived. By the early 1800s states began to enact antimonopoly legislation, paving the way for the 1890 passage of the Sherman Antitrust Act.
In 1895 the 56-year-old Rockefeller retired from his day-to-day involvement of Standard Oil and turned his focus toward philanthropic endeavors. His new direction did little to quell the attacks on Rockefeller and his business.
In 1904 Ida M. Tarbell wrote The History of Standard Oil, a damning book that told the tale of Standard Oil's ruthless business practices. In 1911, the corporation was found to be in violation of the Sherman Act and ordered to dissolve.
John D. Rockefeller's charity proved considerable.
In total he gave away more than $530 million to various causes. His money helped pay for the creation of the University of Chicago as well as the Rockefeller Institute for Medical Research (later named Rockefeller University) in New York, as well as the Rockefeller Foundation.
With his wife Laura, Rockefeller had five children, including a daughter, Alice, who died in infancy.
Rockefeller passed away on May 23, 1937 in Ormond Beach, Florida. His legacy, however, lives on: Rockefeller is considered one of America's leading businessmen, and is credited for helping to shape the nation into what it is today.