John D. Rockefeller

John D. Rockefeller ca. 1870
John D. Rockefeller ca. 1900
John D. Rockefeller ca. 1930
John D. Rockefeller, Jr. ca. 1950
David Rockefeller, ca. 1970
Nelson Rockefeller, ca. 1970
Jay Rockefeller, ca. 1990
1839 - John Davison Rockefeller born July 8 in Richford, NY, son of merchant William and mother Eliza, moved to Cleveland, OH 1853. map

1854 - joined the Erie Street Baptist Church, taught Sunday school, became church trustee.

1859 - formed partnership with Maurice Clark as commodity brokers. Edwin Drake drilled his first successful oil well at Titusville, PA. (The first oil well in the world was drilled at Bibi-Aybat near Baku in 1846)

1861 - supplied Union army during Civil War; paid a substitute to avoid the draft.

1863 - when Atlantic & Great Western Railroad was built between Cleveland and the oil fields of northwest PA, he invested in the Excelsior refinery near the Cuyahoga River.

1864 - married Sep. 8 to Laura Celestia Spelman, daughter of a Cleveland business man.

1865 - by Nov., refinery of Rockefeller & Andrews was the largest of Cleveland's thirty refineries.

1867 - Henry M. Flagler joined JDR's company; obtained lowest rates from railroads; vertically integrated into cooperage, timber, wagons, warehouses; marketed kerosene and paraffin and lubricants; expanded into all 4 areas of the oil business: production, transportation, refining, marketing.

1868 - JDR moved to a home on Euclid Avenue, Cleveland's "Millionaires' Row."

1870 - incorporated Standard Oil Co. of Ohio on Jan. 10 with 10,000 shares at $100 each.

1871 - Oliver H. Payne joined SOC, and JDR began to buy up all Cleveland refineries.

1872 - JDR led the formation of a refiners' pool, the National Refiners Association, to confront the railroad pool led by Tom Scott's South Improvement Co.; but both pools failed.

1874 - JDR's only son is born: JDR Jr., who will marry Abby Aldrich in 1901 and who will be the father of the 3rd generation: Abby, Laurance, David, John D. III, Winthrop, David.

1876 - SOC controlled 400 miles pipeline, formed powerful alliance with Erie and New York Central railroads.

1877 - bought out the rival Empire Transportation Co. from Tom Scott and the Pennsy railroad.

1879 - SOC by horizontal integration controlled 90% of the nation's oil refineries; forced railroads tp pay rebate on oil shipments, earning SOC $10 million; railroads forced to pay drawback, or part of the freight charges paid by non-SOC companies (if Pennsy RR charged SOC 10 cents per bbl, and charged others 35 cents, it would give 25 cents to SOC); lowered the cost of kerosene from 6 cents per gal. to 3 cents.

1881 - attorney Samuel Dodd develped the "Trust" or Board of Trustees that held stock in producing companies and issued its own stock and its executive committee ran the combination.

1882 - revised SOC trust issued 700,000 trust certificates at $100 each in exchange for $70 million in stock; the HQ of the 9 trustees moved to 26 Broadway in NYC in 1885.

1885 - vertical integration downward with purchase of the Lima oil fields in Ohio and Indiana, and its high-sulfur oil was refined by a new process developed by SOC chemist Herman Frasch.

1888- New York investigated the SOC Trust and its 41 companies.

1889 - Ohio Sen. John Sherman drafted the anti-trust bill passed by Congress in 1890, but only punished restraint of trade, not manufacturing.

1890 - SOC developed network of tank wagons to deliver oil to homes.

1892 - to avoid anti-trust prosecution, JDR dissolved the Trust and formed a holding company, the Standard Oil of New Jersey, with interlocking directorates, allowed under NJ law to do business in other states. JDR's philanthropy exceeded $1 million per year.

1897 - JDR retired from active participation in the business, devoting full time to philanthropy and his Kykuit estate at Pocantico, near Tarrytown, NY, purchased in 1893 and would grow to 4000 acres; suffered from alopecia that caused the loss of all his body hair.

1901 - sold Mesabi Range to U.S. Steel. JDR and Carnegie are the two richest men in America.

1904 - Ida M. Tarbell published her History of the Standard Oil Company; in 1905 SOC hired a public relations expert.

1908 - JDR began 20-year program that eliminated hookworm in the South.

1911- Supreme Court ordered SOC dissolved into 33 companies chartered in spearate states. For the first time, gasoline sales exceeded kerosene sales.

1913 - JDR founded the Rockefeller Foundation; his fortune reached $900 million, or 2.5% of the U.S. GNP.

1914 - Ludlow Massacre on Apr. 20 of 24 men women and children in strike against Rockefeller-owned Colorado Fuel and Iron; Frank Walsh called JDR Jr. to testify before the United States Commission on Industrial Relations.

1917 - Lenin nationalized the oil business in Russia and SOC lost the investment it made when it purchased the Nobel holding in the Baku. However, after 1921 Lenin allowed new foreign investment, including Mobil

1919 - JDR Jr. began donation of 11,000 acres to create Acadia National Park in Maine.

1920 - Socony (SOC of NY) created the gasoline brand of Mobiloil. In 1931 Socony merged with Vacuum Oil; in 1966, the company adopted the name Mobil.

1927 - began purchase of land in Virginia to restore Colonial Williamsburg.

1931 - began building Rockefeller Center in NY.

1934 - family trust divided fortune among daughter Abby and 5 sons: Laurance, David, John D. III (his son John D. IV, or "Jay" went to West Virginia in 1964 for VISTA, and stayed to become Governor in 1976 and Senator since 1984), Winthrop became Governor of Arkansas, and Nelson became Governor of New York and U.S. Vice-President 1974-77.

1937 - died May 23 at age 97.

1946 - JDR Jr. bought land along the East River in NYC and donated it for a new United Nations building.

1960 - JDR Jr. died at age 86.

1961 - Nelson's son Michael has disappeared in New Guinea; Nelson divorced Mary and in 1963 married Margaretta "Happy" Murphy.

1972 - SOC of NJ becam Exxon.

1989 - The Exxon Valdez tanker ship Mar. 24 spilled 10.8 million gals of unrefined Alaskan crude oil into Prince William Sound, the largest oil spill in American history.

1999 - Exxon merged with Mobil to become the Exxon Mobil Corp.

2005 - Exxon Mobil Corp. earnings of $36.13 billion was the largest annual profit ever for a US company. The company was the world's largest oil company with global assets of $195 billion, followed by Shell's $193 billion, BP's $191 billion, Chevron Texaco's $132 billion.




revised 2/1/06 by Schoenherr | Songs | Films | Maps