Stephen V. Harkness

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Stephen V. Harkness was born to a working-class family. He spent most of his life in Ohio. At the age of fifteen years, Harkness became an apprentice to a harness maker. By the late 1860s, he had become involved in the oil industry within Ohio, and in 1870, Harkness became one of the founders of the Standard Oil Company. John D. Rockefeller headed the company, with Harkness simply providing some of the capital to launch the firm.

In 1888, Harkness died. He left his wife, Anna Harkness, and three children with more than 150 million dollars. Mrs. Harkness utilized her husband's wealth to establish charities. She was responsible for founding the Commonwealth Fund, which has distributed millions of dollars to various causes.

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