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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  Encyclopedia of American Wealth > Profiles of wealthy Americans [ A-C ] [ D-H ] [ I-M ] [ N-Z ]

 Girard Family

 Stephen Girard ( 1750-1831 ) , Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

 Parents :  Pierre Girard and  Odette Lafargue
 Married :  Mary Lum (d.1815)
 Children :     their only child died at birth

 Fortune :
 7,500,000     $


  5,000,000     $


  750,000     $


 Activity : Banking
 Main property : Girard Bank
 Other activities : Shipping Merchant; Landowner; Investor
 Associated properties : Merchant fleet trading largely with the West Indies. Owned 18 ships during his lifetime including the "Montesquieu", "Voltaire", "Rousseau" and "Helveticus". Invested 200'000 $ in Danville & Pottsville Railroad. Owned 280'000 acres of land in Louisiana and other real estate in Pennsylvania and Kentucky.
 Philanthropy : Left 6'000'000 $ to Philadelphia for the education of orphan boys, which resulted in the creation of Girard College; $ 500'000 bequests to Philadelphia and $ 300'000 for canal building in Pennsylvania

Biographical sketch :

A native of France, this son of a well-to-do sea captain lost his mother early and falling apart with his father and stepmother, went to sea at the age of fourteen, rising to captaincy as a young adult. Stephen Girard acquired much experience sailing and trading between Bordaux, New Orleans and the West Indies. Surprised by the outbreak of the Independence war in the Delaware Bay, Girard sold his ship and cargo and established himself as a wine and cidar merchant in Philadelphia. Resuming the shipping trade after 1780, Stephen Girard became the wealthiest shipping merchant in Philadelphia. His ships, which he named after great French philosophers “Voltaire”, “Montesquieu” and “Rousseau” cruised the seven seas. From the needs to repatriate his extensive assets from Europe to the United States in light of the Napoleonic wars, Stephen Girard became the largest shareholder of the First Bank of the United States. After the bank’s liquidation, Girard took over the Philadelphia main branch created Girard Bank, becoming America’s foremost private banker overnight. Thanks to a conservative management and by ways of retained earnings, Girard Bank grew its private capital to $ 3 million by 1827. Stephen Girard died childless the day after Christmas 1831, the richest man in America, leaving over $ 7 million for charitable purposes, notably the creation of Girard College for the education of orphan boys.

Books :
Stephen Girard: His Life and Legacy  Stephen Girard : His Life and Legacy 
Author        : Frank Gerace
 Publisher    :
1st Books Library, 2000
Stephen Girard: The Life and Times of America's First Tycoon  Stephen Girard : The Life and Times of America's First Tycoon 
Author        : George W. Wilson
 Publisher    :
Combined Publishing, 1995

 Biographical Dictionary of American Business Leaders (4 volumes) 
Author        : John N. Ingham
 Publisher    :
Greenwood Press, 1983

  Search at BN : Out of Print, Used & Rare 

 History of the Great American Fortunes 
Author        : Gustavus Myers
 Publisher    :
The Modern Library - Random House Inc, 1937

  Search at BN : Out of Print, Used & Rare 

 Financial Founding Fathers: The Men Who Made America Rich 
Author        : Robert E. Wright and David J. Cowen
 Publisher    :
University of Chicago Press, 2006

  Search at BN : Out of Print, Used & Rare 


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