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date: 05 May 2021

Yerkes, Charles Tysonlocked

(25 June 1837–29 December 1905)
  • Stephen Salsbury


Yerkes, Charles Tyson (25 June 1837–29 December 1905), investment banker and traction entrepreneur, was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the son of Charles Tyson Yerkes, a bank president, and Elizabeth Link Broom. Yerkes, of Quaker descent, graduated from Philadelphia Central High School and began his career as a clerk in a commission broking house, James P. Perot Brothers. In 1859 Yerkes married Susanna Gutteridge Gamble; they had six children. In 1862 Yerkes started his own investment bank. He specialized in high-risk deals, and in 1866 he gained a reputation as a financial wizard by selling a new issue of Philadelphia Municipal Bonds at par while the city’s other debt was selling at 65 percent of issued value. In 1871 the Chicago Fire caused panic on the Philadelphia Stock Exchange. Yerkes was overcommitted and unable to pay to the city monies he had been paid for municipal bonds. He was indicted for embezzlement, tried, convicted, and received a jail sentence of two years and nine months, of which he served seven months before obtaining a pardon....

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