Born in Waldorf, Germany, John Jacob Astor (1763-1848) immigrated to the United States in 1784 and became a successful fur trader and real estate dealer in New York City. In 1785, he married Sarah Todd, with whom he had five children. Astor established the American Fur Company in 1808, which exported furs from the Great Lakes and Canada to Europe. In the early 1800s, Astor began purchasing and developing land on Manhattan Island. At the time of his death in 1848, he was the wealthiest person in the United States.
Source: “John Jacob Astor Biography.” Encyclopedia of World Biography. Accessed August 2, 2011. http://www.notablebiographies.com/An-Ba/Astor-John-Jacob.html.
From the guide to the John Jacob Astor Collection 2011-203., 1798-1799, 1816, (Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, University of Texas at Austin)