History of America’s One Percent – Episode #27

hogaf-logo-wip2In this podcast series we dive into the long and shadowy history of America’s ruling elite through the works of authors who were either silenced, suppressed, or forgotten, to discover the origins of the 1% and from where their power and wealth was, and still is, extracted. Each recording will be approx. 1 hour in length to allow for easy consumption of the material.  The narrator will only interrupt the reading to provide insight, spell names, read informative footnotes, or provide definitions for archaic words.

In this episode – Continued reading of History of Great American Fortunes by Gustavus Myers.  Includes Part III, Chapter VI:  The Entailing of the Vanderbilt Fortune.  Vanderbilt’s Parsimonious Habits. The Nature of His “Friends,” So-Called.  His Wife and Sons.  Why William H. Vanderbilt Spent Most of His Life as a Modest Farmer.  The Entailment of the Massive Fortune: $90 Millions to the Chief Heir.  The Rise of Standard Oil, America’s First Trust.  William Vanderbilt’s Prophetic Testimony to the Hepburn Committee.  The Great Strike of 1877.  The B&O Railroad and False Flags.  Congressional Investigations Are Designed to Obfuscate and Let Everybody Off the Hook.  Vanderbilt Divests Himself of Railroad Stock and Buys Gov’t Bonds.

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Click Here for a complete list of episodes in this podcast.
You can also stream the episodes from Archive.org For more information on the author of this book Click Here.

[1] These and similar anecdotes are to be found incidentally mentioned in a two-page biography, very laudatory on the whole, in the New York Times, issue of January 5, 1877.

[2] “The Vanderbilts”: 113.

[3] To Cornelius J. Vanderbilt, the Commodore’s “wayward” son, only the income derived from $200,000 was bequeathed, upon the condition that he should forfeit even this legacy if he contested the will. Nevertheless, he brought a contest suit. William H. Vanderbilt compromised the suit by giving to his brother the income on $1,000,000. On April 2, 1882, Cornelius J. Vanderbilt shot and killed himself. Croffut gives this highly enlightening account of the compromising of the suit:
“At least two of the sisters had sympathized with ‘Cornele’s’ suit, and had given him aid and comfort, neither of them liking the legatee, and one of them, not having been for years on speaking terms with him; but now, in addition to the bequests made to his sisters, William H. voluntarily [sic] added $500,000 to each from his own portion.
“He drove around one evening, and distributed this splendid largess from his carriage, he himself carrying the bonds into each house in his arms and delivering them to each sister in turn. The donation was accompanied by two interesting incidents. In one case the husband said, ‘William, I’ve made a quick calculation here, and I find these bonds don’t amount to quite $500,000. They’re $150 short, at the price quoted today.’ The donor smiled, and sat down and made out his check for the sum to balance.
“In another case, a husband, after counting and receipting for the $500,000, followed the generous visitor out of the door, and said, ‘By the way, if you conclude to give the other sisters any more you’ll see that we fare as well as any of them, won’t you?’ The donor jumped into his carriage and drove off without replying, only saying, with a laugh, to his companions, ‘Well, what do you think o’ that?'” — “The Vanderbilts”: 151-152.

[4] Postmaster General Vilas Annual Report for 1887: 56. In a debate in the United States Senate on February 11, 1905, Senator Pettigrew quoted Postmaster General Wanamaker as saying that “the railroad companies see to it that the representatives in Congress in both branches take care of the interests of the railway people, and that it is practically impossible to procure legislation in the way of reducing expenses.”

[5] “The Battles of Labor”: 122. In all, the railroad companies secured approximately $22,000,000 from the public treasury in Pennsylvania as indemnity for property destroyed during these “riots.” In a subsequent chapter, the corruption of the operation is described.


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