The New Student's Reference Work/Astor, John Jacob

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The New Student's Reference Work (1914)
Astor, John Jacob
See also John Jacob Astor on Wikipedia, and the disclaimer.


Astor, John Jacob, millionaire, the founder of the American Fur Company, was born in Germany, near Heidelberg, in 1763. A peasant's son, he went to London in his sixteenth year, and worked with his brother, a maker of musical instruments. In 1783 he sailed to America, and invested his small capital in furs, and after six years, by economy and industry, he had acquired a fortune of $250,000. He now sent out two expeditions to the Oregon territory, one by land and one by sea, to open a regular trade with the natives, and in 1811 established the fur-trading station of Astoria. From this time Astor's ships were found in every sea. He died in New York in 1848, leaving property estimated at $20,000,000, and a bequest of $450,000 in all to found the Astor library in New York. His great grandson, John Jacob Astor, perished in the Titanic disaster (q. v.).