Trenholm, George Alfred
- Paul D. Escott
Trenholm, George Alfred (25 February 1807–09 December 1876), businessman and Confederate secretary of the treasury, was born in Charleston, South Carolina, the son of William Trenholm, a shipper, and Irene (maiden name unknown), the daughter of the comte de Greffin, a French landowner in Santo Domingo. When his father died, Trenholm left school to work for John Fraser & Company, a Charleston firm that bought, sold, and shipped extensive amounts of sea-island cotton. Possessing great commercial ability, Trenholm rose rapidly in the firm. He became a partner, served on the boards of other firms such as the Bank of Charleston and the South Carolina Railroad, and in 1853 became senior partner and principal owner of John Fraser & Company, which grew to have branches in New York (Trenholm Brothers) and in Liverpool, England (Fraser, Trenholm & Company). Acquiring enormous wealth, Trenholm controlled numerous warehouses, wharves, ships, hotels, cotton presses, and other property, including plantations and slaves. He advocated railroad development in South Carolina and served in the state legislature from 1852 to 1856. He married Anna Helen Holmes in 1828; they had thirteen children. One son, William Lee Trenholm, worked closely with his father in business and later became a civil service commissioner and comptroller of the currency under President ...