10 Facts About The Richest American Ever Who Surprisingly Paid Tithes

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The name John D Rockfeller might strike a bell in your ears; well it has every right to. Thanks to the impact he made in America. His wealth is an estimated 340 billion dollars which is about four times the worth of Jeff Bezos the current richest man in the world. Rockefeller distinguished himself as a dedicated churchman who took church serious. Well as we know, Nigerians are still grappling with whether Christians should pay tithes or not; and we are not here to convince you’ However, Factboyz brings to you 10 facts about John Rockefeller the richest American who paid tithes.

1. A dedicated Christian

When most people think of Rockefeller, they think of him as a wealthy businessman and the co-founder of Standard Oil, which dominated the oil industry during the late 1800s. What most people might not realize is that he was a faithful Baptist and generous one too.

Krusen writes that Rockefeller was a faithful tither and went above and beyond the 10 percent threshold, giving money to churches and also gave money to help buy the freedom of slaves.

But even before Rockefeller became one of the wealthiest men of his era, he gave what little money he had back to the church.

Krusen writes that his mother, a very devout woman, taught Rockefeller the importance of tithing when she encouraged a young John D. to put 15 cents into the offering plate at church after he earned his first $1.50 doing a week’s worth of work for his neighbor.

Having retired at an early age, Krusen states that it allowed Rockefeller to focus on more important things in life.

“To the very end of his life, he was a regular churchgoer and a huge supporter of Christian causes and colleges,” Krusen told Christian Post. “He gave heavily to education as well.”

2. His father was a con artist and a bigamist.

The tycoon’s father, William Avery Rockefeller, was a traveling snake-oil salesman who posed as a deaf-mute peddler and hawked miracle drugs and herbal remedies. The smooth-talking huckster dubbed “Devil Bill” alternately fathered children, including the future industrialist, with his wife and mistress, the couple’s live-in housekeeper. The itinerant William Rockefeller also lived a double life posing as an eye-and-ear specialist named Dr. William Levingston, and in 1855 he secretly married another woman.

3. He hired substitute soldiers to avoid Civil War combat:

Although he was a fervent abolitionist, Rockefeller did not take up arms when the Civil War broke out in 1861. While his youngest brother was wounded at Chancellorsville and Cedar Mountain, Rockefeller received an exemption for being the primary means of supporting his family and hired substitute soldiers in his stead, a common practice during the war. “I wanted to go in the army and do my part,” he said. “But it was simply out of the question. There was no one to take my place. We were in a new business, and if I had not stayed it must have stopped—and with so many dependent on it.” Rockefeller’s commodity business profited handsomely from the Civil War and provided the necessary capital for his entrance into the oil business.

4. Rockefeller donated more than $500 million to various philanthropic causes:

Raised by a pious mother, Rockefeller tithed 10 percent of his earnings to his church from his very first paycheck. After retiring from Standard Oil in 1897, he stepped up his philanthropy and donated more than half a billion dollars to educational, religious and scientific causes. In 1913, America’s first billionaire endowed the Rockefeller Foundation, which had the ambitious goal “to promote the well-being of mankind throughout the world.” The foundation contributed to achievements such as development of a yellow fever vaccine and the successful eradication of hookworm disease in the United States.

5. John D. Rockefeller Is The Wealthiest Person In History:

As mentioned earlier, John D. Rockefeller was the first person in history to amass a personal fortunate of $1 billion. He didn’t stop there though; he continued to build on his already staggering wealth until it peaked at $1.5 billion after his retirement. When he died, in 1937, his net worth was estimated at around $1.4 billion, with the majority of the cash tied up in family trust funds.

To put these figures into perspective for the time, when his fortunes peaked at $1.5 billion, the United States national gross domestic product (GDP) was an estimated $92 billion. This means that Rockefeller held 1.6% of the money of the entire United States!

Various methods have been used to adjust Rockefeller’s wealth to account for inflation over time, in order to see how much he would be worth today. The highest of these estimates put his personal fortune at an estimated $663 billion, the lowest at $336 billion. Let’s compare this to the richest man alive, Bill Gates. Gates’ net worth stands at around $77 billion at the time of writing, his wealth peaked at $101 billion. This means that the lowest estimate for Rockefeller’s adjusted net worth is over three times the amount of the richest man on Earth! This makes him far and away the richest man in recorded history. No wonder he was giving money away to strangers on the streets, but more on that later.

6. Winston Churchill would have written Rockefeller’s biography—if his price hadn’t been so high:

In addition to being a gifted orator, Churchill was a masterful writer who penned 42 books and earned the 1953 Nobel Prize for Literature. During the 1930s, the Rockefeller family approached the future British prime minister to write an authorized biography of their patriarch, but Churchill’s proposed advance of $250,000 was too rich even for the deep-pocketed Rockefellers, who instead turned to Columbia University historian Allan Nevins.

7. Rockefeller lived so long that his life insurance company had to pay him $5 million:

Although he didn’t celebrate birthdays with the same gusto as “job days,” Rockefeller certainly experienced many of them. His life spanned from the presidency of Martin Van Buren to that of Franklin D. Roosevelt before his death at age 97 on May 23, 1937. When Rockefeller turned 96, his insurance company was required to pay him the $5 million face value of his policy.

8. The court-ordered breakup of Standard Oil made Rockefeller hundreds of millions of dollars:

After years of litigation, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in 1911 that Standard Oil must be dismantled because it violated federal anti-trust laws. The monopoly was broken up into 34 separate entities that included companies that would become ExxonMobil, Conoco, Chevron and Amoco. The court order turned out to be a financial windfall for Rockefeller, who still held a quarter of Standard Oil’s stock after his retirement. The individual pieces of the company were worth more than the whole, and as shares of the individual companies doubled and tripled in value in their early years, Rockefeller became the country’s first billionaire with a fortune worth nearly 2 percent of the entire American economy.

9. John .D Rockefeller Once Earned $50 In Three Months:

John D. Rockefeller wasn’t always a businessman; he got his first job aged 16 as an assistant bookkeeper. This job was for Hewitt & Tuttle, a small produce commission company in New York. He worked very long hours for the princely sum of $0.50 per day, so after three months of work he had earned his first $50. Due to his deeply religious and charitable nature, he promptly gave $5 of it to his church.

During his stint at Hewitt & Tuttle, Rockefeller worked very long hours, but enjoyed life in the office. He became skilled at calculating transport expenses and helped to streamline the company’s expenditure in this area. These transport cost skills were the building blocks for Standard Oil’s monopoly in the oil industry, so his time in the offices of Hewitt & Tuttle paid off well. His insights into the workings of Hewitt & Tuttle also inspired his first business venture, which was a produce commission business.

It is said that, during his time as an assistant bookkeeper, Rockefeller came up with two personal goals for his life: To make $100,000 and to live to 100 years old. He died aged 97 with a fortune of $1,400,000,000. I would say he did a pretty good job.

10. Spelman College bears the maiden name of Rockefeller’s wife:

In addition to giving millions to help found the University of Chicago and Rockefeller University, the industrialist in 1882 began to donate money to the Atlanta Baptist Female Seminary. Two years later, the African-American women’s school changed its name to Spelman Seminary in honor of his wife, Laura, and her parents, Harvey Buel and Lucy Henry Spelman, who were longtime abolitionists. In 1924, the institution was renamed Spelman College.

About Jayamma Abanobi

Jayamma Abanobi is a youth blogger passionate about writing. He can be reached via email abanobijay@gmail.com

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Jayamma Abanobi

Nice one


Do you have any pointers for composing short articles?

That’s where I constantly struggle and I simply wind up staring vacant screen for very long