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John Davison Rockefeller (1839-1937) became one of the world’s wealthiest men and a major philanthropist when he founded the Standard Oil Company. Keep reading for the fact file below or download the comprehensive worksheet pack which can be utilised within the classroom or home environment.
- John D. Rockefeller was born on July 8 1839 in Richford, New York, to parents William Avery “Bill” Rockefeller (1810-1906), a con artist, and Eliza Davison (1813-1889).
- Being diligent, the young Rockefeller earned money by raising turkeys, selling candy and doing chores for neighbors.
- In 1853, at the age of 14, the Rockefeller family moved to Cleveland, Ohio, where John attended high school then briefly studied bookkeeping at a commercial college.
- In 1855, at age 16, Rockefeller found work as an assistant bookkeeper with Hewitt & Tuttle, a Cleveland commission firm that bought, sold and shipped grain, coal and other commodities.
- In 1859, Rockefeller and a partner established their own commission firm and in that same year America’s first oil well was drilled in Titusville, Pennsylvania.
- In 1863, Rockefeller, together with several partners, entered the booming new oil industry by investing in a Cleveland refinery.
- In 1864, Rockefeller married Laura Celestia “Cettie” Spelman (1839-1915), daughter of Harvey Buell Spelman, an Ohio native whose father was a prosperous merchant, politician and abolitionist active in the Underground Railroad, and Lucy Henry. They had four daughters (three of whom survived to adulthood) and one son.
- Elizabeth “Bessie” Rockefeller (1866 – 1906)
- Alice Rockefeller (1869 – 1870)
- Alta Rockefeller (1871 – 1962)
- Edith Rockefeller (1872 – 1932)
- John Davison Rockefeller, Jr. (1874 – 1960)
- In 1865, Rockefeller borrowed money to buy out some of his partners and take control of the refinery which was the largest in Cleveland.
- Rockefeller acquired new partners and expanded his business interests in the growing oil industry over the next few years.
- The oil industry was in demand because kerosene, derived from petroleum and used in lamps, was becoming an economic staple.
- In 1870, Rockefeller formed the Standard Oil Company of Ohio, along with his younger brother William (1841-1922), Henry Flagler (1830-1913) and a group of other men, with Rockefeller as its president and largest shareholder.
- Standard Oil monopolized the oil industry by buying competing refineries and developing companies for distributing and marketing its products around the globe.
- In 1882, the various companies bought were combined into the Standard Oil Trust, which would control some 90 percent of the nation’s refineries and pipelines. The company did everything from build its own oil barrels to employ scientists to figure out new uses for petroleum by-products.
- Rockefeller’s enormous wealth and success made him a symbol of corporate greed because of the methods with which he’d built his empire.
- In 1890, the U.S. Congress passed the Sherman Antitrust Act, the first federal legislation prohibiting trusts and combinations that restrained trade. Two years later, the Ohio
- Supreme Court deemed Standard Oil a monopoly that stood in violation of Ohio law.
- Stepping ahead, Rockefeller dissolved the corporation and allowed each property under the Standard banner to be run by others. The overall hierarchy remained chiefly in place though, and Standard’s board maintained control of the web of spun-off companies.
- Inspired in part by fellow tycoon Andrew Carnegie (1835-1919), who made a vast fortune in the steel industry then became a philanthropist, Rockefeller donated more than half a billion dollars to various educational, religious and scientific causes.
- Among Rockefeller’s activities, he funded the establishment of the University of Chicago and the Rockefeller Institute for Medical Research, which later became Rockefeller University.
- Rockefeller died at the age of 97 on May 23 1937 at The Casements, his winter home in Ormond Beach, Florida. He was buried at Lake View Cemetery in Cleveland.
John D. Rockefeller Worksheets
This bundle contains 11 ready-to-use John D. Rockefeller Worksheets that are perfect for students who want to learn more about John D Rockefeller who became one of the world’s wealthiest men and a major philanthropist when he founded the Standard Oil Company.
Download includes the following worksheets:
- John D. Rockefeller Facts
- John D. Rockefeller Word Search
- Did It Happen?
- John D. Rockefeller Timeline
- Rockefeller’s Critical Juncture
- Standard Oil Company
- Rockefeller’s Legacy
- The Innovators
- Issue: Oil Monopoly?
- John D. Rockefeller Acrostic
- My Legacy
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