The Massive Growth of the 20th Century
It is no secret that the first millionaires in America were ambitious, inventive, competitive, and somewhat scrupulous. They were born during an era when a faster means of transportation was needed in order to put away horses and carriages. It was an era when the income tax was non-existent, and it was possible that a little bit of imagination could make millionaires. And, that is what happened!
Look down. The Earth Gives Wealth.
Yet the visitors were the innovators of new ideas and inventions. Andrew Carnegie, John Pierpont Morgan, William Vanderbilt, and John D. Rockefeller. Innovators take natural elements from the earth and make something of them. Although recent history has depicted these fellows as having taken advantage of society, it was the simple elements of the earth that brought them wealth and notoriety. While Carnegie invested in some iron mills, he soon realized that steel would eventually replace iron for the manufacture of railroad rails, pipe, and structural forms. Andrew, the immigrant from Scotland, envisioned using the earth’s resources to move people and products across America.
John Pierpont Morgan was already the son of a millionaire from Connecticut. His ideas of loaning money for a profit with eventual control. I don’t think that he ever considered letting the control slip from his hands. Upon his father making him a partner in foreign exchange and banking, young Morgan was known to be abrupt, domineering, and morose.
During the Civil War, Morgan entered a scheme to finance the purchase of 5,000 defective weapons and re-sell them to the Union Army for which he was later reprimanded by the Secretary of War. During wartime, Morgan influenced the price of gold.
The Jekyll Island Club
In 1886, John Eugene DuBignon, the owner of the Island, sold it to a group of 100 millionaires including Rockefellers, Goulds, Vanderbilts, and their contemporaries. They wanted it mainly as an exclusive hunting lodge. It was known as the Jekyll Island Club.