Oliver Burr Jennings

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Oliver Burr Jennings (June 3, 1825 — February 12, 1893) was an American businessman and one of the original stockholders in Standard Oil.

Early life and family[edit]

Jennings was born in 1825 in Fairfield, Connecticut, to Abraham Gold Jennings and Anna Burr.[1] At a young age he came to New York to learn the dry goods business.[2] In 1849 he headed West to seek his fortune in the California Gold Rush. He set up a general mercantile store in San Francisco with Benjamin Brewster and amassed a considerable fortune by outfitting prospecting camps along the coast and around Sacramento.[3]

On December 13, 1854, he married Esther Judson Goodsell (1828–1908) in Fairfield. Her sister Almira Geraldine Goodsell (1844–1920) was the wife of Standard Oil co-founder William Avery Rockefeller, Jr. (1841–1922).[4] They had five children:[1]

Standard Oil[edit]

In 1862 he returned to New York with the intention of retiring from all business activities. However, as a consequence of his relation by marriage to William Avery Rockefeller, Jr. he became interested in the affairs of the Standard Oil Company.[2] In 1871, when Standard Oil was incorporated in Ohio, Jennings was one of the original stockholders. Of the initial 10,000 shares, John D. Rockefeller received 2,667; William Rockefeller, Henry Flagler, and Samuel Andrews received 1,333 each; Stephen V. Harkness received 1,334; Jennings received 1,000; and the firm of Rockefeller, Andrews & Flagler received 1,000.[5]

Jennings served as a director of Standard Oil of Ohio and then as a trustee of the Standard Oil Trust that resulted from the company's reorganization in 1882.[4]


Jennings died in 1893 at his residence in New York City.[2] His estate amounted to $10 million, which he left entirely to his family.[6]


  1. ^ a b Ward, George Kemp (1910). Andrew Warde and His Descendants, 1597-1910. A.T. De La Mare. pp. 117, 189. 
  2. ^ a b c "Oliver Burr Jennings". The New York Times. 1893-02-13. p. 4. Retrieved 2008-12-10. 
  3. ^ Men of Progress. New England Magazine. 1898. pp. 402–3. 
  4. ^ a b McCash, June Hall (1998). The Jekyll Island Cottage Colony. University of Georgia Press. p. 220. ISBN 978-0-8203-1928-5. 
  5. ^ Dies, Edward (1969). Behind the Wall Street Curtain. Ayer. p. 76. 
  6. ^ "All in the Family; Provisions of the Will of Oliver Burr Jennings of this City". The New York Times. 1893-02-26. p. 4. Retrieved 2008-12-10.