First American Millionaire, Billionaire

Historically, who would be consider the first American Millionaire, Billionaire? Any help would be appreciated.

I’m pretty sure Henry Ford qualifies as the first billionaire. More to follow.

Nah, the first billionaire was John D. Rockefeller. And here’s a dime for yourself.

Millionaire is a little tougher. THAT probably goes back a ways. You mean first American-born, or post-1776?

The first American born Millionaire???

Yeah, Uke’s probably right. I see that Johnny Rock gave away a bil to charity, so obviously he must have had it to give it away. Ford did die a billionaire, which may have been unprecedented.

I think Uke is hinting at a problem that I foresee too. I would not be surprised that there were a few millionaires already around in colonial times – landed gentry and such.


The first person BORN ON THE NORTH AMERICAN CONTINENT to earn a million of something. Or the first person possessing one million drachmas or whatever after the creation of the United States of America.

Yes, exactly. I’m thinking Charleston rice plantations, for some reason.

You might want to check out this book published by American Heritage (1996): “The Wealthy 100: From Benjamin Franklin to Bill Gates – A Ranking of the Richest Americans, Past And Present.”

I (obviously) don’t have it, but it should not be too hard to find.

I remember seeing the answers to these questions in a book I read as a child, and if I recall correcetly, John Jacob Astor was the first millionaire and John D. Rockefeller was the first billionaire in the U.S.

There are many men in the Astor family named John Jacob. It’s the first famous one (b. 1763, d. 1848) who was the first millionaire. At his death he was worth $20 million. He was not born in America, however.

I found several websites saying Ford was the first billionaire. However, this site says John D. Rockefeller became the first billionaire in 1916. Rockefeller was already worth $900 million in 1901, according to this site. Ford’s first venture, Detroit Automobile Company, was just going bankrupt around 1901.