By Geoffrey C. Ward
Ferdinand Ward used to be the best swindler of the Gilded Age. via his unapologetic villainy, he bankrupted Ulysses S. provide and ran roughshod over the complete global of finance. Now, his compelling, behind-the-scenes tale is told—told by way of his great-grandson, award-winning historian Geoffrey C. Ward.
Ward used to be the Bernie Madoff of his day, a meant genius at making mammoth cash quickly on Wall highway who became out to were working a huge 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 manhattan at twenty-one and in under a decade, armed with allure, power, and a complete loss of sense of right and wrong, made himself the enterprise companion of the previous president of the U.S. and was once generally hailed because the “Young Napoleon of Finance.” honestly, he became out to be an entire fraud, his complete lifestyles marked by way of dishonesty, cowardice, and contempt for something yet his personal interests.
Drawing from millions of relatives files by no means sooner than tested, Geoffrey C. Ward lines his great-grandfather’s fast upward thrust to riches and repute 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 fingers at the property his past due spouse had left the boy. here's a nice tale a few vintage American con artist, advised with boundless allure and dry wit through certainly one of our most interesting historians.
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Extra resources 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
The gang of interest seekers that now crammed the road fell silent and parted in order that he can make his method within. Newspapermen had already stationed themselves within the corridor and reception room of furnish & Ward. a tender monetary reporter named Alexander Noyes by no means forgot seeing the final arrive: The outer door slammed open. It admitted basic supply, by means of his Negro servant. relocating swiftly around the room on crutches … the overall regarded neither to correct or left. He made for his partner’s deepest place of work, unaware that [he wasn’t] there. … As he moved around the room … he held tightly clutched among his lips a cigar that had long past out. no one him, or spoke to him yet every person within the cynical “hard-boiled” workforce took off his hat. It used to be no longer loads a tribute of recognize to a former leader Justice of the Peace as spontaneous attractiveness of the colossal own tragedy which used to be enacting itself prior to our eyes. 31 dollar used to be watching for him at the back of Ferd’s place of work door. “Well, dollar, how is it? ” he requested. Swallowing not easy, dollar spoke back: “Grant & Ward has failed, and Ward has fled. You’d greater pass domestic, Father. ”32 with no note, the overall grew to become and slowly stumped his long ago out of the place of work, prior the silent journalists, into the elevator that carried him upstairs to his workplace on the Mexican Southern Railroad. He stayed there, on their own, until eventually 5 o’clock, while he known as for George Spencer, supply & Ward’s clerk. Spencer chanced on him slumped in the back of his table. “Spencer,” he murmured, “how is it that guy has deceived us all during this means? ” The clerk had no solution. “I have made it the guideline of my existence to belief a guy lengthy after other folks gave him up,” the overall persevered. “But I don’t see how i will be able to ever belief any man or woman back. ”33 He buried his face in his palms. while supply left domestic that morning he had believed himself a millionaire. whilst he obtained domestic within the night he had $80 in his pocket. His spouse had one other $130. there has been not anything else. § Ulysses S. supply may by no means get back to Wall highway. Ferd had fled, simply as dollar provide informed his father he had, yet he hadn’t long past a ways. After slipping out of his apartment to prevent assembly James Fish early that morning he had crossed the East River and brought the educate to Stamford. He “felt there will be hassle with the Marine Bank,” he remembered, “and i wished to prevent the thrill. ”34 in reality, he used to be paralyzed with worry. He spent lots of the day holed up in his large condominium on Strawberry Hill street. “It looked as if it would me that i used to be dreaming,” he recalled later, “and occasionally, whilst i glance again at the various transactions, that i used to be out of my head. ”35 within the past due afternoon, he pulled himself jointly and boarded a educate again to town. throughout him, passengers have been studying the afternoon papers. The Marine Bank’s cave in and the failure of provide & Ward ruled front pages. Ferd feared he may someway be famous. because the teach slowed within the long island railyards, he jumped off, made his method around the tracks to moment street, rode the increased railroad to Twenty-third highway, ducked right into a livery good, and ordered a closed carriage to take him around the newly accomplished Brooklyn Bridge and residential to Brooklyn.