A Classification of American Wealth
History and genealogy of the wealthy families of America - Sponsors

 Part 1 : Colonial and Mercantile America  Part 2 : America in the Gilded Age
 Part 3 : America in the Twentieth Century  Encyclopedia of American Wealth

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  Chronicles of American Wealth / Nr 25 / September 16, 2005

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Content :

1 – New Chapter 15 – " From Wildcatters to Oil Barons " now online
2 – New thematic list : "
Oil Barons (1949) "
3 –
New features in the " Encyclopedia of American Wealth " lists and profiles


New Chapter 15 : " From Wildcatters to Oil Barons "

Petroleum or rock oil : a bad smelling, dirty and greasy substance, our native inhabitants avoided except when seeking relief from some unknown pain; but also the energy that fuelled the technological revolution of the Twentieth Century. Pittsburgh druggist Samuel Kier marketed it as a patent medicine in the 1840s, Edwin Drake drilled the first well at Titusville which propelled its use for illumination and lubrication during the Industrial Revolution and John D. Rockefeller built the world’s largest fortune by monopolizing its refining, transportation and marketing.

But the real oil boom came in the Twentieth Century as new discoveries in Texas and Oklahoma were matched by a soaring demand for gasoline, fuelled by the rise of automobile as America’s basic transportation means. The first big gusher at Spindletop did as much as Theodore Roosevelt’s anti-trust campaign to break the monopoly of Standard Oil and a new breed of oilmen was on the way to conquer the riches once detained by
the Standard [Oil] Crowd. Wildcatters, who brokered oil leases in the black-gold boomtowns and drilled with their own two hands, struck it rich and built fabulous fortunes, while the Rockefellers and Harknesses were giving theirs away.

The epitome of the era of wildcatter oil barons was in Houston (1949), where the self-made oil tycoon Glenn McCarthy inaugurated his fabulous Shamrock Hotel and chartered planes and whole trains to bring in Hollywood celebrities for the event. McCarthy later fell into oblivion, but fellow oil tycoons
Haroldson Lafayette Hunt and Jean Paul Getty both made history by their claims to the title of “Richest man in the World” and scores of oil barons ranked high on Fortune’s and Forbes listings of the wealthiest Americans in the Twentieth Century.

Read more about these men and the fortunes they made in our new
Chapter 15 “From Wildcatters to Oil Barons” or about other wealthy American dynasties at “A Classification of American Wealth”.


New thematic list : " Oil Barons (1949) "

Along with the publication of chapter 15, about wildcatter oil barons, we also introduce the new thematic list of Oil Barons with 180 millionaires who made their money with oil or oil related activities, or who inherited fortunes made in oil or related activities.

Browse the list of Oil Barons or other wealth classification lists and read more about the wealthy Americans and wealthy American families of the past at "
Encyclopedia of American Wealth ".


Web site improvements

New Features in our " Encyclopedia of American Wealth "

To further enhance your research at Encyclopedia of American Wealth, new features have been added to our lists and profiles. Thus you can now load genealogical trees of the descendants of many of the wealthy individuals listed in our encyclopedia section. At this stage, this feature allows access to 567 such family trees, with new ones becoming available regularly as the AW database is being updated.

You can now also get a quick insight into the members of our wealthy American families, whose fortunes have been aggregated to form the family lists. This should be useful for searches on specific families. In the family profiles, you will now also find targeted links and bibliographical information, a feature which was already available in our individual profiles for some time.


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