Virtual Museum of Art | Virtual Museum of History | Virtual Public Library | Virtual Science Center | Virtual Museum of Natural History | Virtual War Museum
   You are in: Museum of History >> Hall of North and South Americans >> Stephen Girard




The Forgotten First Amendment - Please Ratify Now!

For more information go to Article the First

 

Sign the Petition - Click Here

Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James Grant Wilson, John Fiske and Stanley L. Klos. Six volumes, New York: D. Appleton and Company, 1887-1889 and 1999. Virtualology.com warns that these 19th Century biographies contain errors and bias. We rely on volunteers to edit the historic biographies on a continual basis. If you would like to edit this biography please submit a rewritten biography in text form . If acceptable, the new biography will be published above the 19th Century Appleton's Cyclopedia Biography citing the volunteer editor



Virtual American Biographies

Over 30,000 personalities with thousands of 19th Century illustrations, signatures, and exceptional life stories. Virtualology.com welcomes editing and additions to the biographies. To become this site's editor or a contributor Click Here or e-mail Virtualology here.



A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

 





Click on an image to view full-sized

Stephen Girard

GIRARD, Stephen, philanthropist, born near Bordeaux, France, 24 May, 1750; died in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 26 December 1831. He was the son of a sea-captain, and at an early age, with limited education, sailed as a cabin-boy to the West Indies, and thence to New York. Having gained his employer's confidence, he became mate, and then captain, of a small vessel, made several voyages to New Orleans, and was soon part owner of the ship. In 1769 he had established himself in trade in Philadelphia, and was alternately shipmaster and merchant till the Revolutionary war put a stop to his enterprises. He then opened a small grocery-store and eider-bottling establishment, and in 1777-'9 gained some money by selling liquor to the soldiers of the continental army. He returned to the West India trade in 1780, and in 1782 laid the foundation of his fortune by taking a lease of a range of stores, which he underlet at a large profit. Shortly afterward, during the servile insurrection in Hayti, several planters deposited their treasures on two of his vessels for safe keeping, and were subsequently massacred by the Negroes with their entire families, leaving Mr. Girard in possession of about $50,000. He invested largely in the shares of the old Bank of the United States in 1810, and in 1812 purchased its building and began operations in his own name, retaining the officers of the old institution, and succeeding to much of its business. During the war with Great Britain, Mr. Girard was the financial mainstay of the government, he continued to make it large advances, down to the establishment, in 1816, of the second United States bank, of which he became a director, and whose policy he influenced greatly. In 1814, when the government could obtain only $20,000 instead of the $5,000,000 that it wished, he promptly furnished the entire amount, and in the same year, when the interest on the public debt could not be paid, he wrote to the secretary of the treasury, offering to wait for his money, or to receive it in treasury notes. At his death his property amounted to about $9,000,000, the bulk of which he bequeathed for charitable purposes. The character of Girard has been regarded as an enigma. The disfigurement of his face by the loss of an eye in early childhood, shortly before he was thrown on the world for his support, seems to have soured his disposition, and throughout his life he was crabbed and unapproachable to most people, though he had several warm friends. In small matters he was a miser, ready to take advantage of a legal technicality to avoid paying a just claim, rigidly frugal in his personal habits, and never giving aid to any that applied for it at his door. He gave those in his employ nothing but their just wages, and exacted from them the utmost promptitude and fidelity. His life was one of constant labor; the smallest details of his business received his personal attention, and even his leisure was spent in working on his farm near Philadelphia, where he drove daily in a shabby carriage drawn by one horse. He was inhospitable, and his appearance was forbidding. He spoke English indifferently, was partially deaf after 1812, and in 1830 lost the use of his remaining eye by an accident. His personal appearance was that of a rough old sailor. He was a disbeliever in Christianity, and named his ships after noted French free-thinkers. Yet in public matters no one could be more open-handed. His timely aid to the government has already been mentioned. He gave thousands to the City of Philadelphia for public improvements, subscribed freely to charities, and even to Christian Churches. During the yellow-fever epidemic of 1798 he nursed many of the sufferers, was one of a committee that organized a hospital on Bush Hill, and when no one could be hired to take immediate charge of it, volunteered, with Peter Helm, for the work, and soon established cleanliness and order. He continued in active labor at the hospital for sixty days, and also contributed liberally to the families of the victims of the fever. His will. which would occupy nearly nine pages of this work, contains minute directions as to the disposal of his property. To the Pennsylvania hospital he bequeathed $30,000; to the Pennsylvania institution for the deaf and dumb. $20,000: to the Orphan asylum of Philadelphia, $10,000; to the Philadelphia public schools, $10,000; to the City of Philadelphia, for the distribution of fuel to the poor every winter, $10,000; to the Society for the relief of distressed masters of ships, $10,000; to the masonic loan, $20,000; to the City of New Orleans, a large amount of real estate; to the City of Philadelphia, for improvement of its Streets, buildings, etc., $500,000; for the improvement of canal navigation in Pennsylvania, $300,000. His principal bequest was $2,000,000, besides the residue of a certain portion of his estate out of which some legalities were to be paid, together with a plot of ground in Philadelphia, for the erection and support of a College for orphans. About one third of the will is taken up with prescribing the details of its construction and management, and Girard even goes so far as to dictate the thickness of the marble slabs on the roof, the exact dimensions of the building and its rooms, and the style of the gates leading to the grounds. His object seems to have been to make it certain that a fire-proof, substantial edifice should be built, in his own words, "avoiding needless ornament, and attending chiefly to the strength, convenience, and neatness of the whole." The principal building' of the College, which was begun in July, 1833, and opened 1 January 1848, is a magnificent specimen of Greek architecture, in the form of a temple, surrounded by thirty-four elaborate Corinthian columns, and costing, with the accompanying buildings, very nearly $2,000,000. It has been doubted whether Mr. Girard intended that any such structure should be erected. It is in many respects not well adapted to its uses, though the minute directions of the founder, who was not a practical architect, are, in some cases, responsible for these defects. As many poor white male orphans as the endowment can support are admitted between the ages of six and ten years, fed, clothed, and educated, and between the ages of fourteen and eighteen are bound out to mechanical, agricultural, or commercial occupations, The officers consist of a president, secretary, two professors, five rome and five female teachers, a physician, a matron, a steward, and a superintendent of manual labor; and there are about 500 beneficiaries. By a provision of the will of the founder no ecclesiastic, missionary, or minister of any sect whatever, is to hold any connection with the College, or be admitted to the premises even as a visitor. The object of this, in Girard's words, is "to keep the tender minds of the orphans who are to derive advantage from this bequest free from the excitement which clashing doctrines and sectarian controversy are so apt to produce," leaving them free to choose on their entrance into active life "such religious tenets as their matured reason may enable them to prefer." See "Life of Stephen Girard," by Stephen Simpson (Philadelphia, 1832), and "Girard College and its Founder," by Henry W. Arey (1860).

Edited Appletons Encyclopedia, Copyright © 2001 VirtualologyTM

Start your search on Stephen Girard.


 

 

 



Unauthorized Site: This site and its contents are not affiliated, connected, associated with or authorized by the individual, family, friends, or trademarked entities utilizing any part or the subject's entire name. Any official or affiliated sites that are related to this subject will be hyper linked below upon submission and Evisum, Inc. review.

Copyright© 2000 by Evisum Inc.TM. All rights reserved.
Evisum Inc.TM Privacy Policy

Search:

About Us

 

 

Image Use

In this powerful, historic work, Stanley Yavneh Klos unfolds the complex 15-year U.S. Founding period revealing, for the first time, four distinctly different United American Republics.  This is history on a splendid scale -- a book about the not quite unified American Colonies and States that would eventually form a fourth republic, with only 11 states, the United States of America: We The People Click Here

 

Childhood & Family

Click Here

 

Historic Documents

Articles of Association

Articles of Confederation 1775

Articles of Confederation

Article the First

Coin Act

Declaration of Independence

Declaration of Independence

Emancipation Proclamation

Gettysburg Address

Monroe Doctrine

Northwest Ordinance

No Taxation Without Representation

Thanksgiving Proclamations

Mayflower Compact

Treaty of Paris 1763

Treaty of Paris 1783

Treaty of Versailles

United Nations Charter

United States In Congress Assembled

US Bill of Rights

United States Constitution

US Continental Congress

US Constitution of 1777

US Constitution of 1787

Virginia Declaration of Rights

 

Historic Events

Battle of New Orleans

Battle of Yorktown

Cabinet Room

Civil Rights Movement

Federalist Papers

Fort Duquesne

Fort Necessity

Fort Pitt

French and Indian War

Jumonville Glen

Manhattan Project

Stamp Act Congress

Underground Railroad

US Hospitality

US Presidency

Vietnam War

War of 1812

West Virginia Statehood

Woman Suffrage

World War I

World War II

 

Is it Real?



Declaration of
Independence

Digital Authentication
Click Here

 

America’s Four Republics
The More or Less United States

 
Continental Congress
U.C. Presidents

Peyton Randolph

Henry Middleton

Peyton Randolph

John Hancock

  

Continental Congress
U.S. Presidents

John Hancock

Henry Laurens

John Jay

Samuel Huntington

  

Constitution of 1777
U.S. Presidents

Samuel Huntington

Samuel Johnston
Elected but declined the office

Thomas McKean

John Hanson

Elias Boudinot

Thomas Mifflin

Richard Henry Lee

John Hancock
[
Chairman David Ramsay]

Nathaniel Gorham

Arthur St. Clair

Cyrus Griffin

  

Constitution of 1787
U.S. Presidents

George Washington 

John Adams
Federalist Party


Thomas Jefferson
Republican* Party

James Madison 
Republican* Party

James Monroe
Republican* Party

John Quincy Adams
Republican* Party
Whig Party

Andrew Jackson
Republican* Party
Democratic Party


Martin Van Buren
Democratic Party

William H. Harrison
Whig Party

John Tyler
Whig Party

James K. Polk
Democratic Party

David Atchison**
Democratic Party

Zachary Taylor
Whig Party

Millard Fillmore
Whig Party

Franklin Pierce
Democratic Party

James Buchanan
Democratic Party


Abraham Lincoln 
Republican Party

Jefferson Davis***
Democratic Party

Andrew Johnson
Republican Party

Ulysses S. Grant 
Republican Party

Rutherford B. Hayes
Republican Party

James A. Garfield
Republican Party

Chester Arthur 
Republican Party

Grover Cleveland
Democratic Party

Benjamin Harrison
Republican Party

Grover Cleveland 
Democratic Party

William McKinley
Republican Party

Theodore Roosevelt
Republican Party

William H. Taft 
Republican Party

Woodrow Wilson
Democratic Party

Warren G. Harding 
Republican Party

Calvin Coolidge
Republican Party

Herbert C. Hoover
Republican Party

Franklin D. Roosevelt
Democratic Party

Harry S. Truman
Democratic Party

Dwight D. Eisenhower
Republican Party

John F. Kennedy
Democratic Party

Lyndon B. Johnson 
Democratic Party 

Richard M. Nixon 
Republican Party

Gerald R. Ford 
Republican Party

James Earl Carter, Jr. 
Democratic Party

Ronald Wilson Reagan 
Republican Party

George H. W. Bush
Republican Party 

William Jefferson Clinton
Democratic Party

George W. Bush 
Republican Party

Barack H. Obama
Democratic Party

Please Visit

Forgotten Founders
Norwich, CT

Annapolis Continental
Congress Society


U.S. Presidency
& Hospitality

© Stan Klos

 

 

 

 


Virtual Museum of Art | Virtual Museum of History | Virtual Public Library | Virtual Science Center | Virtual Museum of Natural History | Virtual War Museum