James Stillman

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James Stillman
Portrait of James Stillman.jpg
Born James Jewett Stillman
(1850-06-09)June 9, 1850
Brownsville, Texas
Died March 15, 1918(1918-03-15) (aged 67)
Manhattan, New York
Nationality American
Occupation Banker
Net worth USD $77 million at the time of his death (approximately 1/989th of US GNP)[1]
Spouse(s) Sarah Elizabeth Rumrill
Children Sarah "Elsie" Elizabeth, James Alexander, Isabel Goodrich, Charles Chauncey, Ernest Goodrich

James Jewett Stillman (June 9, 1850 – March 15, 1918) was an American businessman who invested in land, banking, and railroads in New York, Texas, and Mexico. He was chairman of the board of directors of the National City Bank.[2]


He was born on June 9, 1850 to Elizabeth Pamela Goodrich and Charles Stillman in Brownsville, Texas.

Charles Stillman had significant business interests which James acquired in 1872. He expanded those to control of sixteen Texas banks and a significant land holdings in the Rio Grande Valley, particularly Corpus Christi and Kerrville, Texas.

Along with W. Averell Harriman, Jacob Henry Schiff and William Rockefeller he controlled the most important Texas railroads (including the Texas and Pacific Railway, the Southern Pacific Railroad, the International-Great Northern Railroad, the Union Pacific Southern Railway, the St. Louis, Brownsville and Mexico Railway, and the Mexican National Railroad).

In 1876 Stillman supported Porfirio Díaz's overthrow of the government of Mexico by the Revolution of Tuxtepec.

He was chairman of the board of directors of the National City Bank and retired in 1908.[2]

He died on March 15, 1918 at his home on 9 East 72nd Street in Manhattan, New York.[2] His funeral was at St. Bartholomew's Episcopal Church, New York.[3]


Stillman is considered to have been one of the 100 wealthiest Americans, having left an enormous fortune.[1]

His oldest son, James A. Stillman, also served as president of National City Bank of New York. Stillman was related to even greater wealth by marriage: his two daughters, Sarah Elizabeth Stillman(called "Elsie") and Isabel Goodrich Stillman, married the sons (William Goodsell Rockefeller and Percy Avery Rockefeller respectively) of business associate and friend, and senior executive of Standard Oil, William Rockefeller. His grandson, James Stillman Rockefeller, served as president of National City from 1952 to 1959 and chairman from 1959 to 1967.

In 1928 what was then the largest oil tanker in the World was completed and named C.O. Stillman in James Stillman's memory.[4]

His great-grandson is director Whit Stillman.[5]


  1. ^ a b Klepper, Michael; Gunther, Michael (1996), The Wealthy 100: From Benjamin Franklin to Bill Gates—A Ranking of the Richest Americans, Past and Present, Secaucus, New Jersey: Carol Publishing Group, p. xi, ISBN 978-0-8065-1800-8, OCLC 33818143 
  2. ^ a b c "James Stillman, Head Of City Bank, Dies Suddenly". New York Times. Mar 16, 1918. Retrieved 2012-09-16. James Stillman, Chairman of the Board of Directors of the National City Bank, the Presidency of which he resigned in 1908, when he was succeeded by Frank A. Vanderlip, died suddenly yesterday afternoon at 5:30 O'clock at his home, 9 East Seventy-second Street. ... 
  3. ^ "F. A. Vanderlip May Succeed Stillman. Slated for Chairman of City Bank and One of the Executive Managers as President. W. A. Simonson Spoken Of. James Stillman's Loss Felt Keenly by the French, Whom He Had Helped Liberally. Guess as to Possible Changes. Presidency in Doubt. Gave Liberally to the French. Great Growth Under Stillman". New York Times. Retrieved 2012-09-16. Funeral services for James Stillman, Chairman of the Board of Directors of the National City Bank, who died at his home, 9 East Seventy-second Street, on Friday, will be held tomorrow morning at 10 o'clock at St. Bartholomew's Church, Madison Avenue and Fortyfourth Street. 
  4. ^ Visser, Auke. "C. O. Stillman - (1937-1942)". Auke Visser's International Esso Tankers site. Retrieved 29 April 2013. 
  5. ^ http://www.nytimes.com/1998/05/31/style/the-whit-stillman-rat-pack.html

Further reading[edit]

  • John K. Winkler, The First Billion: The Stillmans and the National City Bank (New York: Vanguard, 1934).
  • John Mason Hart, "STILLMAN, JAMES," Handbook of Texas Online (http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/fstbp), accessed January 10, 2012. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

External links[edit]

Business positions
Preceded by
Percy Pyne
President/Chairman of National City Bank
1891–1909 (President)
1909–1918 (Chairman)
Succeeded by
Frank A. Vanderlip