Tag Archives: Andrew Carnegie

Many Great People Have Been Born on November 25

25 Nov

November 25 is a big day in the life of me. It is my birthday. I wonder who else was born on this date. Wait, I have an idea. I will look it up and write a post about it.Nov 25

1753 – Robert Townsend, one of George Washington’s spies during the American Revolution

1787 – Franz Xavier Gruber, organist who composed the music for “Silent Night”

1835 – Andrew Carnegie, industrialist who led the expansion of the steel industry

1844 – Karl Benz, inventor of the first automobile to have an internal combustion engine

1846 – Carrie Nation, anti-alcohol activist who was known for attacking taverns with a hatchet

1881 – Pope John XXIII, who obviously served as pope

1883 – Harvey Spencer Lewis, Imperator of the Ancient and Mystical Order Rosae Crucis

1914 – Joe DiMaggio, center fielder for the Yankees who hit safely in 56 straight games

1920 – Ricardo Montalban, actor known for playing Mr. Roarke and Khan Noonien Singh

1926 – Jeffrey Hunter, who starred alongside John Wayne in The Searchers 

1933 – Kathryn Crosby, actress and wife of Bing Crosby

1940 – Percy Sledge, singer of “When a Man Loves a Woman”

1944 – Ben Stein, speechwriter for Richard Nixon and later a game show host

1952 – Crescent Dragonwagon, writer who has an awesome pen name.

1960 – Amy Grant, former contemporary Christian singer who became a Country singer

1963 -Bernie Kosar, Cleveland Brown quarterback who could not get past John Elway

1968 – Jill Hennessy, actress known for roles on Law and Order and Crossing Jordan

I am stopping at that point. This list will not include anyone younger than me. It is my birthday, and that is my option.



Fortune Everlasting

24 Jun

The other day, I was sitting on the couch at parents’ house and picked up a copy of Fortune 500, the annual list of America’s largest businesses. Like most people, I look at the top companies, but I also look for other things. How many are based in Tennessee? How many are new additions? How many dropped out? There is a lot of interesting information once you start digging in.

This year, I noticed something else. It was not that long ago that the History Channel put out a program called The Men Who Built America about the big industrialists of the late 1800s. It covered Cornelius Vanderbilt, Andrew Carnegie, John D. Rockefeller, J.P. Morgan and Henry Ford. There were others, but those guys were the main characters.

As I thumbed through the Fortune 500, I thought back to those men and wondered how many of their companies are on the 2014 list. Obviously, Ford Motor Company is going to be on there. Heck, everyone has seen a Ford vehicle going up and down the road. But, what about those other guys?

Cornelius Vanderbilt was into ships and railroads. In the old days, his companies dominated, but I could not find any of them on the current list.

Andrew Carnegie made his fortune with Carnegie Steel. He sold out and spent the rest of his life giving money away. Carnegie could do that because he sold the company to J.P. Morgan, and this is where things get interesting.JP Morgan

Morgan learned investment banking from his father and took it to a new level. He bought Carnegie Steel and merged it with another mill to form U.S. Steel, which currently ranks 166th on the list. Morgan also owned General Electric, currently the 9th largest company in the United States. However, that is not all. He was also on the ground floor of American Telephone and Telegraph. We know it better as AT+T, and it ranks 11th.

This means that J.P. Morgan owned three corporations that currently rank in the Fortune 500. But, there is more. J.P. Morgan Chase and Company is the 18th largest business in the country.

Then, there is the story of John D. Rockefeller, who owns Standard Oil. He created a trust system, which allowed him to controlled the vast majority of the world’s oil supply. The United States government, fearful of an important resource being controlled by one person, busted the trust into smaller companies. Being a major stockholder in the new companies, Rockefeller became the richest man in the world. In other words, the federal government really showed him.John D Rockefeller

Anyway, a few of those smaller companies still exist. Exxon Mobil ranks 2nd. Chevron ranks 3rd. Marathon comes in 25th.

The History Channel called them The Men Who Built America. Others call them robber barons for their ruthless business techniques. Regardless of what one might think of them, there is no doubt that they played major roles in the American economy. What is more, they continue to play major roles many decades after their deaths.

Events of November 25 (My Birthday)

25 Nov

November 25 is my birthday, and, as a good historian, I like to know what happened on this very important date in history. Therefore, today’s post is a list of a few events.

1. 1783: The last British troops left New York City three months after the signing of the Treaty of Paris. (To get this straight, the American Revolution was over, and the British were still sticking around. The United States must have learned something from them. We tend to hang around after the occupied areas want us gone.)

2. 1876: In retaliation for the American defeat at the Battle of Little Big Horn, United States Army troops sack Chief Dull Knife’s sleeping Cheyenne village at the headwaters of the Powder River. (If anyone has a right to protest in the United States, then it is the Native Americans.)

3. 1947: The “Hollywood Ten” are blacklisted by Hollywood movie studios. (I am a staunch capitalist, but the Red Scare was a sad time in American history.)

4. 1963: President John F. Kennedy is buried at Arlington National Cemetery. (People often ask me about Kennedy’s presidency. Their opinions vary from his sainthood to his evilness. Honestly, I don’t think he was in office long enough for anyone to know how good he would have been. However, I think he, like most, was somewhere between the two extremes.)

Other people born today:

1835: Andrew Carnegie (He was slightly successful in the business world.)

1844: Karl Benz (He was slightly successful in the automotive world.)

1846: Carrie Nation (She wanted prohibition of alcohol in the United States. Can you imagine?)

1914: Joe DiMaggio (He owns baseball’s most unbreakable record and married Marilyn Monroe. What else can you say?)

1920: Ricardo Montalban (As Mr Roarke, he offered people the chance to live their deepest fantasies. The show would have been a lot better on Cinemax.)

1926: Jeffrey Hunter (He played Captain Pike in the pilot episode of “Star Trek”, but I like him better in the greatest western of all time, “The Searchers”.)

1941: Percy Sledge (He sang “When a Man Loves a Woman”.)

1960: John F. Kennedy, Jr. (That famous photograph of him saluting his father’s casket was made on his third birthday.)

1983: Joey Chestnut (He is the current world champion in various eating contests, including hot dogs.)

As Walter Cronkite used to say, “That’s the way it is – November 25, 2011.”