18 Interesting John D Rockefeller Facts that You Should Know

Little fact lovers, let me introduce you to John Davison Rockefeller Sr.

He was an American philanthropist and business magnate!

He is famous as the wealthiest American of all time and also the richest person in modern history!

So, in this article, let us discuss some amazing facts about the life and contributions of this interesting person!

Amazing John d rockefeller facts

John D. Rockefeller: Explore his birth secrets

Birth Secrets Of John D Rockefeller

Hey there, little friends, did you know that this amazing person 👦 was born in Richford, New York?

Rockefeller’s dad was con artist William A. Rockefeller Sr., and his mother was Eliza Davison.

John had an elder sister, Lucy, and four younger siblings, William Jr., Mary, Franklin, and Frances.

His father was of German and English descent, and his mother was of Ulster Scot descent.

Rockefeller’s father was known throughout the community as “Devil Bill.”

Another interesting fact is that Bill was famous for cheating his sons out made of what they made through odd jobs!

Rockefeller’s dad pretended to be a doctor

Rockefeller’s father, William 👨 was not a man of resources!

He could only use his diabolical gift of conning others! In several towns, he would hand out sheets referring to himself as a ‘doctor.’ 

He even pretended to have found a ‘cure’ for cancer! 

He even insisted that his mistress, Nancy, would live in the same house with his family! 

Sometimes, he would even go out to peddle medicines under the pseudonym of William Levingston!

Later, it was the name that can be seen on his tombstone!

Rockefeller’s first job: working as a bookkeeper

Rockefeller’s First Job

Little friends, like me, you will be really surprised to learn this interesting fact about Rockefeller! 

 John, in his childhood, had done many odd jobs, like selling vegetables and turkeys 🦃 to the townsfolk.

However, his first full-time job was working as a bookkeeper for a company brokering produce! 

John developed a skill that would help him in his career! It was the ability to reduce the cost of shipping products to markets, eventually enhancing profits.

He learned to negotiate shipping costs, previously fixed by freight managers and ship owners! 

Later, he worked as an apprentice for three years!

John celebrated his own personal holiday

More vital to Rockefeller than his own birthday was what he named “Job Day.” 

This amazing future oil magnate was born and raised in upstate New York! 

Later at the age of 16, he took his first real job as a coal and grain 🌾 shipper/supplier after his family relocated to Cleveland!

On September 26, 1855, John believed he got his official start in business.

Later, he celebrated this day every year as an adult!

Rockefeller in 1859: Rockefeller entered into his first business partnership

Rockefeller In 1859

After three years of working as an apprentice Rockefeller and his business partner Maurice Clark began their own produce-selling business, purchasing and selling from farmers on a commission basis!

Rockefeller didn’t have enough cash to purchase half the business! 

He needed $2,000 for the deal; however, he could save just only $800 during his apprenticeship!

The rest of the money came from his father as a loan at a rate of interest of 10%.

Later, when the Civil War erupted in 1861, Clark and Rockefeller joined in the rush of sending their products to the Union Army 💂‍♀️!

John hired a stand-in soldier to serve in the Civil War for him

I am really surprised to learn this unique fact about John D. Rockefeller!

Due to being drafted to serve the Union in the Civil War in 1863, Rockefeller did a really interesting thing! Want to know?

He paid for someone to serve in his place! 

The U.S. government allowed this practice, which granted draftees the ability to provide a substitute! There was no record of who the man who took Rockefeller’s place was. 

John’s brother, Frank, chose to serve at only 16, telling a recruiting sergeant 💂‍♂️ that he was 18.

Later, he survived, despite being wounded in the battle!

Rockefeller entered the oil business

Rockefeller Entered The Oil Business

During the 1860s, subsidies offered by the government drove the price of oil to more than $13 per barrel, up from 35 cents!

The price paid by the government paid for oil led to the first wave of wildcatters drilling oil 🛢️ wells! 

Later, near the end of the war, oil glutted the markets!

Before the Civil War, a lot of kerosene was extracted from coal! It was seen that crude oil might be a cheaper source of kerosene! 

Rockefeller saw that the most expensive cost of refining crude oil was shipping it to the refinery, a task at which he was really good.

The oil industry: He did everything he could to dominate it

Rockefeller’s wealth came from his obsession with owning the oil industry!

He struggled a lot to strike deals with railroad goods very cheaply, purchased some smaller companies, and aided in ushering in the concept of monopoly!

Smaller businesses got an option; be consumed or try to compete with his massive corporation!

John’s buying spree was referred to as the “Cleveland Massacre.”

By 1882, his company, Standard Oil, controlled around 90 percent of all refineries in the United States.

Also, John was allegedly quoted as saying, “Competition is a sin.”

Rockefeller exhibited thrift: A quality he learned from his mother

Rockefeller Exhibited Thrift

During his childhood, John and his family were left hungry by his father! 

Thus, John’s mother was forced to feed the family, and hence, she knew the importance of being thrifty!

In the house, nothing was wasted. Even table scraps were recycled as fertilizer!

 Rockefeller learned this quality and applied it to the refining business! Thus, he used to sell all potential products from crude oil!

When he saw that the price of wooden barrels was increasing, he even purchased raw lumber 🪓 and hired coopers to build his own barrels, reducing the cost of the barrels quite amazingly!

Rockefeller liked handing out dimes to strangers

Little fact explorers, have you heard this amazing secret about Rockefeller? No?? Let me tell you.

In the early 1900s, Rockefeller sometimes traveled by ferry 🚢 from his house across the Hudson River!

When his ferry docked, he would usually be greeted by the children. 

He even came prepared, handing out dimes to the welcoming party!

This amazing person was also famous because he used to hand out coins to adults.

It was reported that he did this to install habits of thrift and savings in people!

Many of them hung on to their “Rockefeller dimes” as a keepsake!

Rockefeller helped reduce hookworms in the United States

Rockefeller Helped Reduce Hookworms

Rockefeller didn’t hesitate to pursue several philanthropic efforts in his lifetime!

In 1910, that funding led directly to the widespread treatment of hookworm! In this disease, larvae enter into the soles of the feet and travel the bloodstream, and even settle in the intestine! 

In the early 20th century, over 40 percent of the population in the southern states suffered from hookworm infection!

The Rockefeller Sanitary Commission for the Eradication of Hookworm Disease used $1 million donated by Rockefeller to map out areas with high risk and even tried to cure infected residents!

They treated this infection with thymol and Epsom salts!

1872: The government steps in against Rockefeller

By 1871, the oil refiners in the U.S. were producing around 40,000 barrels per day. At that time, demand for oil producers was around 16,000 barrels per day. 

Rockefeller wanted to ensure all those barrels were from to be from Standard Oil! So, he started controlling shipping and forced the smaller refiners to close or sell locally!

Thus, within a month, Rockefeller bought around 18 oil refiners!

In April 1872, Pennsylvania suspended the South Improvement Company’s charter. 

However, this tension among oil refiners and railroads had Rockefeller to be thought of as the first robber baron!

Someone wanted to blow Rockefeller up

Rockefeller Blow Up

At the turn of the century, detonations and bomb 💣 threats were often utilized to stand against capitalism! Hence, business barons like J. P. Morgan and Rockefeller were targeted!

In the case of Rockefeller, it’s been said that he was targeted for his family’s role in Colorado’s Ludlow Massacre!

In that, several miners, including children were killed during the fight between the mine guards and the Colorado National Guard!

On July 4, 1914, an explosion occurred in a Harlem tenement, killing some anarchists who had been storing dynamite there, wanting to leave those explosives at Rockefeller’s doorstep!

Rockefeller made kerosene cheaper for consumers: He was condemned in the press

Did you know this secret about Rockefeller?

When the press reported about the manipulation done by Standard Oil regarding shipping costs for oil, they vilified Rockefeller!

It happened despite the fact that Rockefeller made kerosene more affordable than it was before!

Oil lamps could be lighted 💡 in homes, streets, factories, store, and offices with little expenses!

Still the press vilified him and he decided to grow Standard Oil despite receiving the humiliation. 

Alopecia struck Rockefeller: He lost all hair on his head and body

Alopecia Struck Rockefeller

I am really surprised to explore this fact about Rockefeller?

During his 50s, Rockefeller struggled with stomach issues and depression!

However, even before that, in his 40s, all the hair on Rockefeller’s head, body, and mustache were lost! Surprised??

However, later on, the hair never came back, as he generalized alopecia!

So, the tycoon started wearing rotating wigs of different lengths in the early 1900s!

He did this to give the idea that his hair was growing and also being shaved!

Mark Twain played a role in the downfall of Standard Oil

In 1900, the daughter of one of Rockefeller’s’ business rivals, Ida Tarbell, wanted to even the score with Rockefeller! 

She wanted to do this by writing 🖊️ an extensive 19-part expose on his unusual business practices for McClure’s magazine!

Henry Rogers, an executive of Standard Oil, was the key source of the writing. 

Rogers asked his friend Mark Twain, if McClure would want to see him and a meeting was arranged!

Tarbell’s reporting resulted in a 1911 Supreme Court ruling that broke up Standard Oil, dividing into companies that later became ExxonMobil, Chevron, and others!

Rockefeller’s family approached Winston Churchill to write a biography for them

Sir Winston Churchill was a British statesman who even served as the Prime Minister of the UK.

He is most famous for his wartime leadership as Prime Minister!

During the 1930s, the Rockefeller family approached him to write an authorized biography of their patriarch!

However, Churchill wanted $250,000 as an advance, which was too much for the deep pockets of the Rockefellers. Hence, they turned to Allan Navis, a historian of the Columbia University!

John Rockefeller: He is considered the richest person in history

John Rockefeller Is Richest Person In History

John Rockefeller died in 1937, and later considered as the wealthiest man of his generation, if not all time!

His holdings amounted to 1.5 percent of the total economic output of America, or $340 billion 💰 in today’s money!

Rockefeller retired in his late 50s and spent the next 40 years of his life, in six-story residence on a sprawling Westchester County estate, Kykuit, and The Eyrie, a 100-room vacation home, on Maine’s Mount Desert Island.

Summing up

So, little knowledge lovers, 😲 now you know a lot about John. D. Rockefeller!

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