Friday, April 21, 2023

Stephen Girard


Stephen Girard


Molly Jebber

Amish Historical Romance Author

Stephen Girard was famous for being the first multi-millionaire at that time in history and for saving the United States from financial ruin during the war of 1812. He was born May 20, 1750. He was an American citizen, philanthropist, and banker of French origin. He didn't have any children, so he spent money on helping the education and welfare of orphans. He married Mary Lum in 1887, but she became mentally ill and hard to manage. She was committed to a mental institution, and he didn't marry again. His legacy and money still help orphans to date. 

Stephen was the son of a common sailor. He lost sight in his right eye at the age of eight. His education was scant.  

In 1760, he went to New York and worked as a cabin boy. He worked in the coastal trader system along the east coast and as far as the south of the Caribbean. In May of 1776, already a licensed captain, he sailed to Philadelphia were he opened and ran a grocery and liquor shop while he kept a hand in the coastal trading system. By 1790, he had a fleet of trading vessels and a net worth of six thousand dollars which was a lot back then. 

In 1791, his merchantmen were involved in salvaging goods from French planters during the Haitian revolution. He was left with ten thousand dollars of goods he was holding for the owners, when they were most likely killed during this revolution. When he couldn't find any of the owners left, he added the goods to his. 

Stephen also participated in the Old China Trade, financing voyages to Canton. He profited from legitimate goods as well as opium, which was smuggled into China. In 1824, this part of his business ended when there was an incident with one of his ships and China's authorities. 

In 1793, there was a breakout of Yellow Fever. Girard hired nurses and doctors to help, and also his home. He cared for patients himself.

In 1812, he opened a bank which many years later became Mellon Bank, and then Citizen's Federal Bank. December 26, 1831, Stephen died. He had been hit and ran over by a wagon and horse in the street years earlier, and he had never fully recovered.  

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  1. I have never heard of Stephen Girard. Always like learning about obscure people in history.

  2. Thank you for posting today. I'm wondering how you will use the information you learned about Mr. Girard!