Cornelius Vanderbilt was a steamship and railroad entrepreneur. He married Sophia Johnson and they had thirteen children.
Vanderbilt's vast fortune originated in 1810 when he began a modest freight and passenger business between Staten Island and New York City. From 1829, he also made a successful venture into the steamboat business. This led in 1850 to his founding a line of his own which ran through the San Juan River to Lake Nicaragua. During the 1860s he became a dominant figure in the railroad business, acquiring the controlling interest in the New York and Harlem Rail road, the New York Central Railroad and the Lake Shore & Michigan Southern Railway amongst many others. By his death in 1877 Vanderbilt was worth an estimated $105 million.
Who Was Who in America. Historical Volume, 1607-1896, Chicago, 1963.