Billy was born in New Brunswick, New Jersey in 1821. He inherited nearly $100 million from his father, railroad mogul Cornelius Vanderbilt in 1877. The fortune was increased to almost $194 million when he died in 1885.
His father Cornelius frequently berated and criticized him, calling his oldest son a "blockhead" and a "blatherskite". Billy longed to show his father that he was not, in fact, a blatherskite (a person who talks nonsense), but never dared stand up to his father. A major turning point in their relationship occurred on the family trip to Europe on the steamship Vanderbilt in 1860, after which, the two became very close and Billy was given a greater role in business matters.
In 1841, Billy married Maria Louisa Kissam (1821–1896), daughter of Reverend Samuel Kissam and Margaret Hamilton Adams. They had eight children.
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William is 18 degrees from Sacajawea Charbonneau, 22 degrees from Barangaroo Cammeraygal, 22 degrees from Sadie Canning, 15 degrees from Hohepine Cooper, 23 degrees from Mateo Cariño, 21 degrees from Angel Decora, 17 degrees from Emma Naea, 17 degrees from Vi Hilbert, 19 degrees from Doreen Wanganeen, 17 degrees from Louis Riel, 17 degrees from Maria Tall Chief and 15 degrees from Teddy Odum on our single family tree. Login to find your connection.