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 Cornelius Vanderbilt

Cornelius Vanderbilt

Birth
New York, New York County (Manhattan), New York, USA
Death 4 Jan 1877 (aged 82)
New York, New York County (Manhattan), New York, USA
Burial New Dorp, Richmond County (Staten Island), New York, USA
Memorial ID 1058 · View Source
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19th Century American shipping and railroad tycoon. Best known as the patriarch of the socially prominent Vanderbilt family of New York, and as the founder of the New York Central Railroad. Young Vanderbilt quit school at age 11 and started working as a deck hand on the ferries of New York City. By age 16, he was operating his own ferry line, carrying freight and passengers. By 1830, his business had expanded to encompass the entire Hudson River valley. Soon he controlled coastal trade along the entire coast of New England. During the California Gold Rush, he ran a steamship line from New York to California via Nicaragua. It was during this period that he acquired the moniker “The Commodore” because of his extensive interests in the shipping business. In the early 1860’s, Vanderbilt sold all his steamships to the Union navy and began investing in railroads. By 1869, he had merged 17 local railroads to create the New York Central system. By 1873 he had added the Lake Shore & Michigan Southern system to extend his rail empire to Chicago and challenge the mighty Pennsylvania Railroad for New York to Chicago business. He founded Vanderbilt University with a grant of $1 million. At the time of his death, Vanderbilt, at a net worth of over $100 million (equivalent to $8 billion in today’s money), was the richest man in the world. He left $95 million of this fortune to his eldest son, William Henry Vanderbilt, who succeeded him as president of the New York Central

Bio by: Edward Parsons



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  • Maintained by: Find A Grave
  • Added: 1 Jan 2001
  • Find A Grave Memorial 1058
  • Find A Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for Cornelius Vanderbilt (27 May 1794–4 Jan 1877), Find A Grave Memorial no. 1058, citing Vanderbilt Mausoleum, New Dorp, Richmond County (Staten Island), New York, USA ; Maintained by Find A Grave .