Ferdinand Ward

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Ferdinand De Wilton Ward, Jr. (1851–1925), known first as the "Young Napoleon of Finance,"[1] and subsequently as "the Best-Hated Man in the United States," was an American swindler. Ward caused the financial ruin of former U.S. President Ulysses S. Grant.

Background[edit]

Ward was born in Geneseo, New York to the former Jane Shaw and her husband Reverend Ferdinand De Wilton Ward, who had been missionaries in India.

As a young man Ward moved to New York City and in 1880 established the banking and brokerage firm Grant & Ward with investments from Ulysses S. "Buck" Grant, Jr., the son of the President, and from the President himself. Ward ran the company as a Ponzi scheme. The scheme collapsed in 1884, bankrupting Ulysses S. Grant.

Ward served over six years in New York State's Sing Sing Prison for fraud.

Bibliography[edit]

  • Ward, Geoffrey C. 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. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2012. ISBN 978-0-679-44530-2.

External links[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Son's Gems Claimed By Ferdinand Ward". New York Times. 6 April 1909.