Cornelius Vanderbilt net worth: Cornelius Vanderbilt was a 19th century, American business owner, magnate as well as a philanthropist who had a net worth equal to $185 billion at the time of his death in 1877. He amassed his riches from railroads and shipping business. Vanderbilt is regarded as the patriarch of the Vanderbilt dynasty. He is credited for providing the first gift to establish Vanderbilt University which he built in honor of his late mother. Cornelius Vanderbilt grew up in Staten Island, New York and was raised by his parents Cornelius Derbilt and Phebe Hand. As a boy he started working on his father's ferry in New York Harbor. He quit school aged 11 and when he turned 16, he founded his own ferry service.
It is said that he got a $100 loan from his mother to buy a masted, shallow draft, but other accounts say that, the vessel known as Periauger belonged to his father who pocketed half the profit from the business every month. His business involved ferrying passengers and freight between Staten Island and Manhattan. He soon expanded into the railroad business where he amassed one of the largest fortunes in human history. Vanderbilt married his first cousin, Sophia Johnson in 1813 December and moved to Broad Street in Manhattan. They had 13 kids.