John D Rockefeller Biography
Looking for a John D. Rockefeller biography? Born in 1839, John D. Rockefeller was born into humble surroundings in New York state and eventually became the richest man in the world. At 16, he got his first job, working as an assistant bookkeeper in Cleveland, Ohio. At 19, he started his own business, a commission merchant company that sold grain, meat and other materials. The business was quickly successful, expanding during the Civil War and taking advantage of rising grain prices.
A few years after starting the business, John D. Rockefeller saw the great potential in oil that was being discovered in Pennsylvania. He entered the oil refining business at age 24 and borrowed money to expand the business. With all of his oil profits being funneled into the business, he was soon able to start a second oil refinery. His company, Standard Works, began exporting oil. John D. Rockefeller's export business eventually became larger than his domestic business.
In 1870, John D. Rockefeller created Standard Oil Company. The next year, he created a plan for cornering the market on oil. The Ohio company gained the support of all the major banks in Cleveland that year and began rapidly expanding the business and consolidating the entire oil refining industry into one company. It took only a year to buy every refining company in Cleveland and then to begin expanding into Pennsylvania. By 1879, just nine years after the creation of Standard Oil Company, 90 percent of the oil refining in the country was done by the company.
In 1891, John D. Rockefeller developed a nervous condition from overworking. His health suffered and his hair fell out. He hired a money manager to help him to manage some of his immense fortune that year, taking some of the burden from himself. His fortune was so large that he was able to retire at age 58 in 1897. He was the richest man in the world and began giving his fortune away to charities. Around the turn of the century, his income was about $60 million a year and most of it was given away.
In 1912, John D. Rockefeller was worth about $900 million, and at his death, his fortune was about $26 million. He had donated large sums to health initiatives in the South, to education and to medical research. His funds had built high schools, eradicated hookworm infections in the South and created the University of Chicago.