Some anecdotes concerning the Vanderbilt family inspired by a visit to some of their homes on the Hudson.

Cornelius couldn't read or write but was able to hold his own in court with complicated monopoly cases and hired Daniel Webster to defend him. A pastor came to him for money and he gave him instead a one way ticket to the West Indies.

He sold all his steam boat interests at the age of 67 and moved entirely into railroads.

He had a secret partnership with Uncle Drew and was able to buy up all the Erie and Harlem stocks at the lows and squeeze all the shorts.

He liked to sit the Woodhull girls on his knees and swing them as he talked about his railroad interests.

He knew all the tides and obstacles of the Staten Island to Manhattan route when he was 11.

He borrowed $100 from his mother to go into the ferry business and paid her back 1000 the next year.

He believed in spiritualism and mediums especially when the mediums were 21 year old beauties he could see without the wife.

He married a woman 45 years younger than him like the Palindrome when over 75 he left 85% of his money to his son William H and a length court battle ensued with Billy settling for about 1% of his fortune.

The Gambling Son Chris killed himself the day after he received his settlement apparently having lost it in gambling.

Billy had 200 million the equivalent of 150 billion today but noted that he hadn't been in the office on a Thursday and deducted 0.40 cents from the janitors bill for lunch from the 0.40 a day he paid him.

Billy signed and audited every check that the NyCentral paid, and regularly inspected all cars and track.

The books The Vanderbilts, The First Tycoon, and Fortune's Children are all worth reading for more information about these great business men.


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