When we think of wealth and fortune, we tend to think of well-known big business CEOs and Hollywood stars, but the truth is that some of the wealthiest people in the world actually tend to go under the radar for much of their lives, totally unknown to the public but living lives of luxury after amassing incredible fortunes. The following five people have gone down in history as some of the wealthiest individuals America ever saw.
Stephen Van Rensselaer
Born in 1764, Stephen Van Rensselaer lived at a time before the age of celebrity CEOs and super-rich pop singers. He made his money in the real estate industry, first heading to Harvard and then taking over ownership of his family’s private estate, Rensselaerswyck.
He decided to develop the land by opening it up to tenants, charging them moderate lease fees to live on his property and then start their own farms and businesses, effectively creating an entire community. At the time of his death, his net worth was about $3.1 billion, but in today’s money, he’d be worth over $100 billion.