CHESHIRE — John Pierpont Morgan, better known as J.P. Morgan, was an American financier and banker who made his start in Connecticut, including Cheshire Academy.
The financier was instrumental in the industrial consolidation of the United States in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. He arranged the merger that led to General Electric and worked on the formations of the United States Steel Corporation and AT&T, as well as many others.
Morgan was born in April 1837, in his grandfather’s home on Asylum Street in Hartford. He attended West Middle School and Cheshire Academy before his family moved to Boston when he was 14 and eventually London, according to ConnecticutHistory.org.
He would continue his education in Europe and later return to work for a bank in New York City.
Morgan graduated Cheshire Academy in 1851, according to school records. He is among many fellow notable Cheshire Academy alumni, including artist Rockwell Kent, state superior court judge Angela Robinson, and actor James Van Der Beek.
Gen. Joseph “Fighting Joe” Wheeler, one of the youngest Confederate generals of the Civil War, was in Morgan’s graduating class.
Morgan followed in the footsteps of his father and grandfather to become a businessman. When he was 24 he opened his own company, J. Pierpont Morgan & Co. and quickly gained wealth and influence, eventually dominating American corporate finances.
Staying connected to his family in Hartford, Morgan supported Hartford Hospital and invested in the Hartford Carpet Co.
In 1889, Morgan persuaded his father to join him in offering the Wadsworth Museum financial support, which lead to the museum renovating and expanding in 1893. Today, the museum holds a collection of Morgan family acquisitions, including ancient bronzes, Renaissance majolica, and the Wallace Nutting collection of American “Pilgrim Century” furniture and art, according to the Wadsworth museum.
Morgan was adept at art collecting, purchasing object through agents all over Europe at a time when they were not popular. At the time of his death, his collection was valued at about $50 million and divvied between the Metropolitan Museum and Wadsworth, according to Record-Journal archives.