The first family of billionaires: 10 facts about the Rockefellers

John Davison Rockefeller


March 20, died, the oldest billionaire in the world, the grandson of the first Rockefeller-billionaire, David Rockefeller

  • The dynasty’s founder William Rockefeller (1810-1906) had a very scandalous reputation. He worked as a logger, and then began to travel and sell drugs of its own production, although had no medical education. In 1849 he was accused of raping a housekeeper.
  • Son of William John Davison Rockefeller (1839-1937) in 1870 founded the oil company, Standard oil. This business did Rockefeller world’s first dollar billionaire.

John Davison Rockefeller


  • In 1911, the U.S. Supreme court decided to disband the company because of the inconsistency with the Antimonopoly legislation. It was divided into 34 companies in which the Rockefellers have continued to play a significant role.
  • John Davison Rockefeller for the most part life has handed over a significant portion of their income to charity. Charity the Rockefeller Foundation still exists today and is one of the largest in the United States, but only for charity, according to various estimates, an American entrepreneur has spent more than half his fortune.
  • John Davison Rockefeller was the owner of the 16 railway and six steel companies, nine firms trading in real estate, six shipping companies, nine banks and three orange groves.
  • The heir to the dynasty of John Davison Rockefeller was his only son John Davison, Jr. (1874-1960), which increased the father’s fortune. This was facilitated by two world wars, which brought the family involved in the supply of fuel, a huge income.

John Davison Rockefeller, Jr.


  • In 1930-e years on money of the Rockefeller family in new York was built a large office block, dubbed Rockefeller center. In 1987, the complex received the status of national historical monument. He also is known for a traditional Christmas tree, which is installed at one of the buildings of the centre since 1933.

Christmas tree at Rockefeller center

Photo: Julie Jacobson / AP

  • John Davison Jr. left a huge fortune of six children — one daughter and five sons. One of his sons, Nelson, was Vice-President of the United States from 1974 to 1977 under Gerald Ford.
  • The last of the children of John Davison, Jr., David Rockefeller, died 20 March 2017 at the age of 101 years. David, like many of his ancestors were known including charity. In 2008, he donated more than $100 million to his Alma mater — Harvard University. The total amount of donations during life was estimated at $900 million.

David Rockefeller at the launch of his autobiography

Photo: Suzanne Plunkett / AP

  • In 2002 David Rockefeller published a book, thus becoming unique in the history of a member of the Rockefeller family, published his autobiography.