He began a passenger ferry business in New York harbor with a single boat, then commenced his own steamship company, eventually commanding Hudson River traffic. He also supplied the primary train service between Nyc and Chicago. When he died in 1877, Vanderbilt had amassed the biggest bundle collected in the U.S. at that time. Vanderbilt is deemed one of America’s leading businessmen, and is credited for helping shape the present day United States.
Cornelius Vanderbilt was born on May 27, 1794, in Port Richmond, Staten Island, Ny. Following the departure of among his eight siblings, Vanderbilt, at age 11, dropped out of school to benefit his dad. His early days in a boat started an fascination with the ocean, which he pursued by examining all facets of the transportation company. When he was 16, Vanderbilt brought in $100 landscaping his dad’s property and used the funds to buy a sailboat. Known as a proficient sailor who regularly undercut his competitors, Vanderbilt’s company grew. Through the War of 1812, he was given a military contract to supply supplies to garrisons along the Hudson River.
The growth of steamboat journey was a danger to Vanderbilt, whose sailboats could not possibly supply the same degree of dependability and low-cost fares that customers were now demanding. In his mid-30s at this time, Vanderbilt went to the steamboat company for himself. Once more, customers flocked to his service, using its cutthroat rates and new boats. Vanderbilt’s power to steal away customers was so amazing that rivals paid him to leave the Hudson river. From the mid 1840s, Vanderbilt was running a fleet of over 100 steamboats. He parlayed his success into enterprises in Central America and, in 1855, started managing a transatlantic steamship company.
In the 1860s, rail travel started to grow in America and, once more, Vanderbilt seized the chance by buying railways in Nyc. Following the exact same business model he is used along with his previous ventures, he made his mark by enhancing service and offering customers low fares. After just five years in the railway company, Vanderbilt allegedly made $25 million.
Disaster hit in 1868, when Vanderbilt’s wife, Sophia, expired. A year after, Vanderbilt married a distant cousin, Frances Armstrong Crawford. The union was not without controversy: She was 34 years his junior. William Vanderbilt looked on the company through the final years of Cornelius’s life. In 1877, in the age of 83, the tycoon expired, leaving nearly all his estate to William, moderate amounts to every one of his other nine remaining children, and an indelible mark on American business.