Cornelius Vanderbilt is known as a Gilded Age tycoon. He was born in Staten Island, New York in 1794. His rise to tycoon was a result of his astute business acumen and power with the railroad and later, shipping industries. He is the patriarch of one of the wealthiest families in the USA. In the early 1600s, much of the state of New York was settled by the Dutch. Staten Island, Vanderbilt’s home was heavily populated by Dutch immigrants. Cornelius Vanderbilt began his first business, a ferry service, at sixteen years old. Living in Staten Island, Vanderbilt’s ferrying individuals to the neighboring state of New Jersey seemed a natural way to earn money. His penchant for turning business into wealth led him to become a steamboat entrepreneur with his own steamboat, the C. Vanderbilt, sailing along the Hudson River. He held a steamboat monopoly by the late 1830s.