By Geoffrey C. Ward
Ferdinand Ward used to be the best swindler of the Gilded Age. via his unapologetic villainy, he bankrupted Ulysses S. supply and ran roughshod over the total global of finance. Now, his compelling, behind-the-scenes tale is told—told by means of his great-grandson, award-winning historian Geoffrey C. Ward.
Ward used to be the Bernie Madoff of his day, a intended genius at making immense funds quickly on Wall road who became out to were working a tremendous pyramid scheme—one that eventually collapsed in a single of the best monetary scandals in American historical past. The son of a Protestant missionary and small-town pastor with secrets and techniques of his personal to maintain, Ward got here to ny at twenty-one and in below a decade, armed with appeal, strength, and a complete loss of sense of right and wrong, made himself the enterprise accomplice of the previous president of the us and was once generally hailed because the “Young Napoleon of Finance.” honestly, he grew to become out to be an entire fraud, his whole lifestyles marked through dishonesty, cowardice, and contempt for whatever yet his personal interests.
Drawing from hundreds of thousands of family members files by no means ahead of tested, Geoffrey C. Ward strains his great-grandfather’s fast upward thrust to riches and reputation and his much more dizzying fall from grace. There are mistresses and mansions alongside the best way; speedy horses and crooked bankers and corrupt long island officers; court confrontations and 6 years in Sing Sing; and Ferdinand’s determined scheme to kidnap his personal son to get his arms at the property his past due spouse had left the boy. here's a nice tale a few vintage American con artist, instructed with boundless allure and dry wit by means of one among our best historians.
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Additional info for A Disposition to Be Rich: How a Small-Town Pastor's Son Ruined an American President, Brought on a Wall Street Crash, and Made Himself the Best-Hated Man in the United States
His mom feared for his sanity. Then he appeared to brighten back. while Sarah, now the mummy of 3 youngsters, together with three-year-old twins Ward and Jasper Brinton, requested him in July what kind of younger ladies he was once assembly in Brooklyn, he eagerly replied. I get pleasure from, pricey sister, the curiosity you're taking within the younger girl friends I make and that i shall revenue by means of adventure and take a look at to pick one suited for all while the time comes. i've got develop into accustomed to a omit eco-friendly, who's a captivating younger woman, of excellent kinfolk and a Christian woman. we've seen a great deal of one another and that i stumbled on nice excitement in being in her society. She has long past to East Haddam for the summer time they usually have kindly invited me to go to them which I shall do. … She is wealthy in her personal identify and in this account i need to be a bit guarded for we're being gossiped approximately already. 14 Ella Champion eco-friendly was once quiet, beautiful, dark-eyed, empathetic, a instructor within the similar Sunday institution Ferdinand served as treasurer. just like the Wards, the vegetables took extravagant satisfaction of their ancestry; not just had not less than one collateral member of the extended family arrived in the USA aboard the Mayflower, yet, an enthusiastic kinfolk historian claimed, 3 direct forebears had signed the Magna Carta. Ella’s department of the family members was once based via Captain James eco-friendly, a service provider and shipbuilder whose huge wood-and-stone condominium, excessive above the Connecticut River, ruled the village of East Haddam. Its reduce flooring housed the town’s first financial institution. The captain had 11 little ones, six of whom have been additionally prolific, in order that through the 1830s vegetables and their family via marriage crammed such a lot of neighborhood workplaces that one after the other, all six of his grandsons needed to sail downriver to hunt their fortunes. † Ella’s father, Sidney eco-friendly, began as a cotton dealer ahead of the Civil battle. by means of 1875, he used to be a director of the Union and Marine nationwide Banks, a trustee of the Church of the Pilgrims, and a pillar of Brooklyn Heights society. Ella and her 3 siblings lived with their mom and dad in a sublime three-story brownstone at 37 Monroe position; its darkish rooms have been crowded with dear furnishings, its plaster ceilings handpainted with floral garlands, its tables and mantelpieces thickly forested with statuary. ‡ It used to be every thing for which Ferdinand yearned. but for all its beauty, the golf green domestic was once no longer a cheerful position. there has been whatever introverted, pinched, remoted in regards to the relations. Sidney eco-friendly was once sixty-four and failing by the point Ferdinand first met him. His spouse, Mary Gleason eco-friendly, used to be 4 years more youthful than he yet already exhibiting indicators of dementia. All however the youngest in their kids have been of their twenties; none was once married or engaged. Mary, the oldest, was once moon-faced, snappish, and reclusive; she could by no means wed, and until eventually her dying on the sunrise of the flapper period, insisted on donning the frilly hairdos, inflexible remains, and rustling floor-length skirts of her girlhood. Fred used to be frightened, slim, and severe minded, a junior clerk in a Wall road enterprise with little flair or enthusiasm for company; his proudest boast in later years was once that as a schoolboy he and his more youthful brother, Sidney, had as soon as crossed the East River at the swaying catwalk of the incomplete Brooklyn Bridge.