Important Events in the Life of
John Davison Rockefeller
1839 John Davison Rockefeller was born on July 8 in Richford, New York.
1843 John's father moved the family to a farm in Moravia, New York. Big Bill organized the building of a one-room schoolhouse that John began attending when he was a little older.
1846 John cared for some wild turkeys until they were large enough to sell. He gave part of his earnings to the local Baptist church and saved the rest.
1853 John's family moved again to an area near Cleveland, Ohio. John attended Clinton Street School where his favorite subject was math.
1855 John got his first job on September 26 at Hewitt and Tuttle. He earned 50¢ a day. He referred to this date as "Job Day."
1859 John and a friend opened their own business in April. It was called Clark and Rockefeller.
1859 E.L. Drake drilled the first oil well in Titusville, Pennsylvania in August.
1863 John built his first oil refinery just outside of Cleveland, Ohio.
1864 John married Laura Celestia Spelman at her home in Cleveland, Ohio on September 8 at 2:00 p.m.
1865 John and a man named Samuel Andrews bought out John's other business partners and renamed their company Rockefeller and Andrews.
1870 The Standard Oil Company of Ohio was formed on January 10 with John as president.
1883 John and his family moved to New York City and lived in a brownstone on West Fifty-fourth Street right off 5th Avenue.
1884 At Laura's suggestion, John gave $5,000 to a school for black women in Atlanta, Georgia. It was later renamed Spelman College in honor of Laura's parents who were abolitionists.
1887 John D. Rockefeller gave $600,000 to a small school in Chicago, Illinois. John continued to give large amounts of money to what would become the University of Chicago.
1893 John bought land in Pocantico Hills, New York. He would later build Kykuit, the family home, there.
1895 John deeded nearly an acre of land by the Rock Cut in Pocantico for a school.
1901 John founded the Rockefeller Institute for Medical Research in New York City. Today it is known as Rockefeller University.
1902-1904 Ida Tarbell wrote a series of articles about John's company called "The History of the Standard Oil Company." Many people read them and got angry at the way John did business.
1909 John set up the Rockefeller Sanitation Commission. He sent a team of young doctors to the South to get rid of hookworm.
1909 John's autobiography, Random Reminiscences, was published.
1911 John retired from Standard Oil, but continued to keep a busy schedule.
1911 The United States Justice Department ordered the break-up of Standard Oil into 39 companies.
1913 The Rockefeller Foundation was created in New York State. It was created "to promote the well-being of mankind throughout the world." Its primary focus was on people who were poor and excluded.
1915 After a long illness, Laura Celestia Rockefeller died at Kykuit in Pocantico Hills, NY.
1937 John Davison Rockefeller died on May 23 at Ormond Beach, Florida just six weeks before his 98th birthday.