Frank Rockefeller

Frank Rockefeller

Franklin "Frank" Rockefeller (8 August 1845, Moravia, New York - 15 April 1917, Cleveland, Ohio) was the youngest surviving son of William Avery Rockefeller. His two older brothers were John Davison and William Rockefeller of Standard Oil fame.

Rockefeller's early years were spent in Richford, New York. With his father, he removed to Cleveland, Ohio, which would be the home base of his business endeavors. He held various jobs in Cleveland and fought in the Civil War, eventually becoming involved in his brothers' Standard Oil Co. Frank became one of the principal promoters of the company, and later served as its Vice President. However Rockefeller fell out with his brothers, and left Standard Oil in 1898. The rift was caused by John D. not taking consideration of Frank's other interests in the Pioneer Oil Company, and quarrels with Frank's partner, James Corrigan, with whom he owned the Franklin Mine near Lake Superior. He moved with his family to a large ranch in Kansas, but he later returned to Ohio.

Frank was not as suited to business as were his brothers, John and William. He invested around $500,000 in mining ventures, which proved unsound, and also invested $250,000 in unfruitful commercial paper. Frank found stability when he invested in the Buckeye Steel Castings Company of Columbus in 1892. He became President of the company in 1905, and served in that capacity until 1908, when the Presidency was assumed by Samuel Prescott Bush, grandfather of President George Herbert Walker Bush. Frank Rockefeller continued as Vice President of the company.

Frank Rockefeller refused to speak to his brothers, John and William until his death, despite William attempting reconciliation in the summer of 1916. Frank said latter that year "There's not the slightest possibility of a reconciliation." Frank died the following year. His funeral was held on the 17th of April at the home of Mrs. Walter S. Bowler. The funeral was attended by his brothers, John and William, the former being described in the press as "looking tired and careworn."

Further reading

*Chernow, Ron. "Titan: The Life of John D. Rockefeller, Sr." London: Warner Books, 1998.


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