Stephen Girard (1750-1831)
Stephen (Étienne) Girard, of "Gentilhommerie" Philadelphia
He was born at Bordeaux and followed in his French father's footsteps becoming a ship's captain. He traded between France and the Caribbean and soon expanded his voyages to include New Orleans etc. He was driven into Philadelphia by a British fleet and settled there in 1776 where he established "Girard's Bank" which came to the rescue of the U.S. government during the War of 1812 and saved the country from collapse. Girard is recognized as one of the wealthiest Americans of all time, leaving $7.5 million at his death in 1831, which was then 1/150th of the U.S. GNP. Girard was a close friend of Joseph-Napoleon Bonaparte, the deposed King of Spain, and spent much time at his chateau in New Jersey, Point Breeze. He died without children.
Contributed by Mark Meredith on 13/08/2019 and last updated on 31/01/2021.