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Archbold, John Dustin (26 July 1848–05 December 1916), oil industry executive and philanthropist, was born in Leesburg, Ohio, the son of Israel Archbold, a minister, and Frances Dana. His education at local schools ended when his father died. Not yet in his teens, Archbold took a clerking position in 1859 at a country store in Salem, Ohio, to help support his family. In that same year he noted the excitement surrounding the discovery of oil in nearby Titusville, Pennsylvania. After several years of hard work, he journeyed to the oil fields of western Pennsylvania with $100 in savings. Upon arriving in Titusville, Archbold obtained a position in the office of William H. Abbott, one of the leading oilmen in the fast-growing region. He used every moment not spent in the performance of his duties to study and was soon familiar with oil refinement, transportation, brokering, and production. Recognition of his ability came in the form of a partnership in the firm before he reached the age of nineteen. Archbold’s efforts, however, failed to save the badly overextended firm from collapse in 1869. Undaunted, he scraped together additional savings and became a partner in the local refining firm of Porter, Moreland & Company. In 1870 he married Annie Mills of Titusville; the couple had four children. By the early 1870s Archbold also established a sales office in New York City, where he sold oil on behalf of his own firm and outside producers as well....

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Cullen, Hugh Roy (03 July 1881–04 July 1957), oilman and philanthropist, was born in Denton County, Texas, the son of Cicero Cullen, a businessman whose father was a hero of the Texan struggle for independence, and Louise Beck, who came from a plantation-owning family of South Carolinians. When Cullen was in his early childhood his parents separated, and he moved with his mother to San Antonio where he completed his elementary education. At seventeen he was employed by a cotton broker, but after a six-year apprenticeship he set up his own cotton brokerage firm and vowed never to be someone else’s employee. In 1903 he married Lillie Cranz; they had five children....

Article

Jones, Samuel Milton (08 August 1846–12 July 1904), manufacturer, mayor, reformer, nicknamed "Golden Rule", manufacturer, mayor, reformer, nicknamed “Golden Rule,” was born near Beddgelert, Caernarvonshire, Wales, the son of Hugh Samuel Jones, a stone mason and tenant farmer, and Margaret Williams. In 1849 the family immigrated to the United States, settling near Collinsville, New York. During his childhood the young Jones attended school for a total of only thirty months, never studying grammar nor advancing beyond fractions in arithmetic. At the age of fourteen he took a job in a sawmill, and soon after secured a position as wiper and greaser on a steamboat. In 1865 Jones moved to the Pennsylvania oilfields, where he remained for most of the next twenty-one years. Working as a driller, pumper, tool dresser, and pipe liner, he saved enough money to go into the oil business for himself. In 1875 the young oilman married Alma Bernice Curtiss of Pleasantville, Pennsylvania, and during the next ten years three children were born to the couple. In 1881 Jones’s infant daughter died, and his wife’s death followed four years later. Jones characterized these losses as “the greatest trial and severest shock” of his life....

Article

Pew, John Howard (27 January 1882–27 November 1971), businessman, was born in Bradford, Pennsylvania, the son of Joseph Newton Pew, the founder of Sun Oil Company, and Mary Catherine Anderson. He attended Grove City College from 1896 to 1900 and then took graduate courses at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Pew joined the Sun Oil Company in 1901, fifteen years after its founding, and was initially named development engineer at the Marcus Hook, Pennsylvania, refinery. He was quickly promoted to assistant supervisor and then to supervisor of the engineering section....

Article

Pratt, Charles (02 October 1830–04 May 1891), businessman and philanthropist, was born in Watertown, Massachusetts, the son of Asa Pratt, a cabinet maker, and Elizabeth Stone. Because of his mother’s poor health, when he was still a child Pratt was forced to work to support the family and help care for his ten siblings. At age ten he worked on a nearby farm while attending school. When he was thirteen he took a job in a grocery store in Boston. A year later he worked as a machinist’s apprentice in Newton, Massachusetts. He used his savings from these jobs to enroll at Wesleyan Academy in Wilbraham, Massachusetts, and he studied there for three years. In 1849 Pratt began work as a clerk in a paint and oil store in Boston....

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John D. Rockefeller Photograph by Arnold Genthe, 1918. Courtesy of the Library of Congress (LC-G4085- 0398 P&P).

Article

Rockefeller, John D. (08 July 1839–23 May 1937), industrialist and philanthropist, was born John Davison Rockefeller in Richford, New York, the son of William Avery Rockefeller and Eliza Davison. The family moved several times during his youth: to Moravia in 1843, to Owego in 1850, and to Ohio in 1853, settling in Strongsville, then in Parma in 1855, and finally in Cleveland. His father, an itinerant businessman, dealt in horses, lumber, salt, patent medicines, and herbal remedies and often lent money at profitable rates of interest. He gave his son practical training in business, but the father’s frequent, long absences burdened young Rockefeller with larger responsibilities within the family and helped foster a close relationship with his mother, a devout Baptist whose emphasis on proper moral conduct, discipline, thrift, and hard work would remain with her son....