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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  Part II-Chapter 8 : Railroad Barons  >  Commodore Vanderbilt   Previous  1 - 2 - 3 - 4  Next

   Cornelius Vanderbilt - beginnings of a shipping magnate  

When Cornelius Vanderbilt (1794-1877) was born to a family of farmers of Staten Island, nobody could have foreseen, that he would once be the richest man in America. Vanderbilt's story is one of many rags-to-riches sagas so depicting the American dream. Cornelius Vanderbilt was an outdoor type of kid and never got much out of school. At twelve he knew how to ferry people and freight between Staten Island and New York City, but he could barely read and write. Yet he was visionary enough to


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