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Andrew Mellon

Scotís Descendants Become One of Nationís Richest Families

Andrew Mellon is perhaps the most notable of the wealthy Mellon clan, but riches are a family affair. The family fortune held by 90 descendants of Thomas Mellon is estimated or guessed at $5 billion. The Mellons arrived with the great surge of Ulster Scots before 1800. Thomas was the dour Scot who started the family fortune by investing in real estate and going on to become a banker. By the time Andrew came along, the family fortune was pretty well established and all he had to do was distinguish himself by giving away millions and becoming a dedicated public servant-Secretary of the Treasury and Ambassador to the United Kingdom. Andrew Mellon was born March 24, 1855, in Pittsburgh. He was educated at the University of Pittsburgh and was soon involved in family wealth management. He proved his mettle by adding more money to the family coffers and then decided to give away much of what they made in coal, oil and aluminum. As U.S. Secretary of the Treasury he pushed tax and spending reforms that cut the national debt from $24 billion to $17.6 billion. Mellon's achievements have not been equaled. When a National Gallery of Art in the nation's capital was being considered, Mellon donated $15 million, then added an art collection with an additional $25 million. Although Mellon had little or no responsibility for the Great Depression that descended on the economics of America and the world in the 1930s, many liberals blamed his restrictive fiscal policies. However, Mellon was always highly respected in financial circles. After serving two years at the Court of St. James he returned to Pittsburgh. He died in Southampton, New York, on August 26, 1937.

Wayne Rethford, President Emeritus
Illinois Saint Andrew Society
Scottish-American History Club
2800 Des Plaines Avenue
North Riverside, IL 60546