Cornelius Vanderbilt

On May 27, 1794, Cornelius Vanderbilt was born. He lived with his parents near Stapleton. He was named after his father and his mother name was Phoebe Hand. His father was a ferryman and a farmer.

Young Cornelius spent most his time farming. He was not a big fan of school. At the age of 11, he helped his father working in a boating trade with him. As he grew older, he became successful in this career and had enough money to purchase a boat for his own thanks to his mother. She supported the idea and gave him $1,100. dollars.  All this took place when he was only sixteen years old.

He began a transportation business, which was based on carrying passengers from Staten Island for a price of eighteen cents. He was making money rapidly with this ferry service only at the age of sixteen. At the end of that year, he paid back his mother for the boat. In the following year, he gave his mother more money to secure for the future. By the age of 23, he had $9,000 dollars in his possession, due to the expanding of his transporting business.

When Cornelius was nineteen years old, he fell in love and married his cousin Miss. Sophia Johnson. She was the daughter of his aunt, his father's’ sister, Eleanor.

Cornelius began to focus on his business by having a contract with the Commissary Department of the United States for delivering food to the six ports in the New York Bay. However, by the end of 1817, due to the steamboat monopoly occurring, there was no business for him anymore.

In the meantime, however, there was a conflict.  For twelve years, he was fighting with Thomas Gibbons over a vigorous steamboat monopoly. This Supreme Court knew Gibbons V. Ogden started in 1824. The fight was against the Fulton-Livingston New York steamboat monopoly. Although several years of fighting, the law giving Fulton-Livingston the right to run steam boats in the waters of New York state was repealed.

After the feud had ended, he had shifted over to the railroad industry in 1857. He had gained control of a number of railway lines operating between Chicago and New York.  As a wise wealthy businessman, he had employment available to thousands during the Great Depression.

Cornelius Vanderbilt was one of the wealthiest Americans of the 19th century.  On January 4th, 1877, he passed away at the age of 82 in his Manhattan home. His body was buried in the Moravian in New Dorp. When he died he was worth more than $100 million. The money was inherited by his son.

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