On April 17 in the year 1837, perhaps the most prominent financier in the history of America was born in Connecticut, USA. His name was John Pierpont Morgan Sr., the founder of J.P. Morgan & Co., the predecessor of present-day JPMorgan Chase.
John Pierpont Morgan was the son of a wealthy financier. He was sent to Europe to study French and German. When he returned to America, he joined his father’s bank and later briefly worked for the banking house of Duncan, Sherman & Company. In 1860, he went on his own, forming his own bank called J. Pierpont Morgan & Co. In 1871, he took Anthony Drexel as a partner to form Drexel, Morgan & Co. When Anthony died, he renamed his firm J.P. Morgan & Co.
John’s career as a banker and financier flowered in the 1890s when he acquired the bank of his father. He emerged as the foremost financier in the creation of many companies involved in different industries particularly in railroads and industrial concerns. One of his noted large scale financing activities involved the purchased of the New York Times in 1896 by Adolph Simon Ochs. At the beginning of the 20th century, he financed the formation of US Steel and became its largest stockholder. US Steel became the largest company in the world at that time through the consolidation of Carnegie Steel and several other steel and iron businesses including coal, mining and shipping firms.
In the financial crisis of 1907, John Pierpont Morgan was one of the bankers who played a central role in its resolution. Although he became a controversial figure, he was nevertheless instrumental in the enactment of laws of laws that somehow modernized the banking industry.
JP Morgan died in 1913 at the age of 75. At the time of his death, his net worth was estimated at $80 million or around $1.2 billion (2019 USD).