The Vanderbilt family is one of the oldest families to accumulate and maintain old money in the United States. The family is of Dutch descent and rose to prominence during the Gilded Age of the late 19th century. Cornelius Vanderbilt, born in 1794, was born into poverty but managed to marry above his class and create a vast fortune. Today the Vanderbilt family is still one of the wealthiest families in the United States.
The Vanderbilt Family: An American Old Money Dynasty
The Vanderbilts have been in America since the 1600s, but it was Cornelius Vanderbilt who is credited for making the family’s fortune. Cornelius was born in 1794 into poverty. He was the fourth of nine children, and his father was a farmer and boatman. Cornelius began working on the family’s boat at age 11, and by the time he was 16, he had his own boat and was making money.
When Cornelius was 18, he married Sophia Johnson, a woman from a wealthy family. After the marriage, Cornelius began to invest his money in a variety of businesses. He invested heavily in steamships, railroads, and real estate. By the time of his death in 1877, he had amassed a fortune estimated at $105 million.
The Rise of the Vanderbilt Family
The Vanderbilt family’s wealth was further increased by the efforts of Cornelius’s son, William Henry Vanderbilt. William Henry was born in 1821 and followed in his father’s footsteps by investing in railroads, steamships, and real estate. He also invested in banking, insurance, and the telegraph industry. By the time of his death in 1885, he had increased the family’s fortune to $200 million.
William Henry’s sons, Cornelius Vanderbilt II and William Kissam Vanderbilt, continued to grow the family’s wealth. They invested in the New York Central Railroad and became key players in the railroad industry. They also continued to invest in steamships, real estate, and other industries. By the time of Cornelius Vanderbilt II’s death in 1899, the family was worth an estimated $225 million.
The Legacy of the Vanderbilts Today
The Vanderbilt family’s wealth has continued to grow over the years. The family is still one of the wealthiest in the United States, and is estimated to have a net worth of over $2 billion. The family’s wealth has been used to fund numerous philanthropic projects, including the Vanderbilt University and Vanderbilt Medical Center.
The Vanderbilt family is a testament to the power of old money. Through hard work and shrewd investments, the family has managed to accumulate and maintain their wealth over the centuries. They are a prime example of the power of old money and the importance of investing wisely.