Cornelius Vanderbilt
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Cornelius Vanderbilt (1794 - 1877)

Cornelius Vanderbilt
Born in Port Richmond, Richmond, New York, United Statesmap
Ancestors ancestors
Husband of — married 19 Dec 1813 (to 17 Aug 1868) in New York, New Yorkmap
Husband of — married 21 Aug 1869 in London, Middlesex County, Ontario, Canadamap
Descendants descendants
Died in New York City, New York, United Statesmap
Profile manager: Eric Daly private message [send private message]
Profile last modified | Created 7 Oct 2009
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Cornelius Vanderbilt was a 19th Century American shipping and railroad tycoon. He was best known as the patriarch of the socially prominent Vanderbilt family of New York, and as the founder of the New York Central Railroad.

Cornelius was born and grew up in Staten Island, New York. He was the child of Cornelius van Derbilt and Phebe Hand van Derbilt, and had nine brothers and sisters.

His name translated from Dutch, literally means "From De Bilt" which is where his great-great-great grandfather, Jan Aertzoon, came from.

He quit school at age 11 to work on his father's ferry in New York Harbor; when he was age 16 he operated his own boat and transporting goods and passengers between Staten Island and Manhattan.

Cornelius worked as a Ship Transport entrepreneur, later after building his wealth he paid the expenses for the building of new rail lines and was considered a Rail Transport Magnate.

The one thing that people in modern day know most about him is his incredible wealth, which, he acquired with hard work throughout his life.

It was January 4, 1877 when Cornelius passed away from typhoid fever. He was buried in the family vault in the Moravian Cemetery at New Dorp on Staten Island.

More info to integrate above:

Wife:Sophia Johnson (cousin, had 13 kids)

Son: William Henry Vandebilt

Wife:Frank Armstrong Crawford (distant cousin)

Mistress: Tennessee Celeste Claflin Bartels Cook


See also:

  • Ontario Marriages, 1869-1927 index, FamilySearch, Cornelius Vanderbilt and Frank A Crawford, 21 Aug 1869; citing registration 1108, London, Middlesex, Ontario, Canada, Archives of Ontario, Toronto; FHL microfilm 1862473.
  • London Public Library Marriage of Cornelius Vanderbilt & Frank Armstrong (Crawford) Elliot. August 21, 1869. London, Ontario, Canada.
  • Find a Grave, database and images ( : accessed 17 December 2020), memorial page for Cornelius Vanderbilt (27 May 1794–4 Jan 1877), Find a Grave Memorial no. 1058, citing Vanderbilt Family Cemetery and Mausoleum, New Dorp, Richmond County (Staten Island), New York, USA ; Maintained by Find A Grave .

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Memories: 2
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"Cornelius Vanderbilt." All Biographies. 2005. Web. 28 Oct. 2009. <>.

"Cornelius Vanderbilt biography - Transportation tycoon." Financial Inspiration Cafe - Your companion on your journey to financial freedom. Web. 29 Oct. 2009. <>.

"Cornelius Vanderbilt." NNDB. 2009. Web. 28 Oct. 2009. <>.

Crandall, John. "Cornelius Vanderbilt:Commodor Vanderbilt." 20 July 2006. Web. 29 Oct. 2009. <>.

Davidson, James West, and Micheal B. Stoff. The American Nation: Civil War to the Present. New Jersey: Prentice Hall, 2003. Print.

posted 30 Oct 2009 by Cornelius Vanderbilt
Commodore Cornelius Vanderbilt was born in Staten Island, New York where he lived with his family on a small farm his father, Cornelius Van Derbilt, owned. His father sold his farm products in New York from Staten Island. At the age of 11 years, young Cornelius dropped out of school to help his dad ship items. At 16 years he had bought his own boat for 100 dollars with the money from his mother. Later on in life he stated "If I had learned education, I would not have had time to learn anything else."

He made a very successful ferry service that carted people and produce from Staten Island to New York. In 1812 he earned the name Commodore and a heavy profit by building forts around New York. Soon after in 1817 he got a job working on a steamboat with a man named Thomas Gibbons, Cornelius was the captain. He continued Ferrying people only he sold his schooners and sloops for the job and the route now moved from New York City and New Brunswick. He flattened his competitors with a lower price for fares, only charging $1 for a ride. Fulton and Livingston had issues with him charging such low wages, their rides were around $4. They took them to court where Gibbons and Cornelius won. Cornelius left Gibbons in 1829 and set up his own ferry service where he proved to be very successful. In 1863 after selling his boats in 1857 he became the president of the New York and Harlem railways. He sold his boats because he thought of railroads to be the way of the future. Later on he also acquired the Hudson River, New York Central, Lake shore and Michigan, and the Canada southern railways. He improved the quality of all the railways and combined a few of them together before dying. His strong ambition to be rich which drove his competitors out of business and made him the richest man in America. The other companies always saw him as a threat because his low prices sent them hurtling out of business some even paid him to stop using the same routes that they used. He always did what was necessary to put him on top. Cornelius Vanderbilt was a significant person because he made transportation available, more comfortable, and affordable. He was not known as the nicest man but he built a strong railway and enough money to support his family many times over.

posted 29 Oct 2009 by Cornelius Vanderbilt
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It may be possible to confirm family relationships with Cornelius by comparing test results with other carriers of his Y-chromosome or his mother's mitochondrial DNA. However, there are no known yDNA or mtDNA test-takers in his direct paternal or maternal line. It is likely that these autosomal DNA test-takers will share some percentage (beta) of DNA with Cornelius:

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Hi my name is Richard Hand,phebe hand who was married to cornelius vanderbilt ,phebe Hand might be a long lost relative,does anyone have time and resources to help me trace me to her Hand-1735 thats me and phebe hand Hand-784,says were Phebe and Richard are fourth cousins 6 times removed
posted by Richard Hand
Can you please confirm if Vanderbilt University was named after him. If so, could we identify this as such. Is there any category that his notability would be reflected in? Thanks.