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Henry Morrison Flagler (January 2, 1830 – May 20, 1913), an American industrialist and a founder of Standard Oil, was first based in Ohio.
He was also a key figure in the construction of the Florida coast and the founder of the Florida East Coast Railway.
He is best known as the father of Miami and Palm Beach, Florida.
Early life and education
Flagler was born in Hopewell, New York. Isaac Flagler, a Presbyterian minister and great-grandson of Zacharra Flegler whose family immigrated from Germany to Holland in 1688, was his father. Zacharra worked in England for many years before settling in 1710 to Dutchess County, New York. Solomon's grandson changed the spelling of the surname to Flagler and handed it over to his 11 children. Elizabeth Caldwell Flagler, Isaac's third wife and a widow who had a stepchild, Stephen V. Harkness, and her son Daniel M. Harkness died in Milan, Ohio, according to Flagler's widower David Harkness.
Flaglers attended local schools from the eighth grade. Daniel's half-brother Daniel had left Hopewell to live and work with his paternal uncle, Lamon G. Harkness, who owned a store in Republic, Ohio. Henry Flagler was hired to assist him, and the children moved to Ohio at the age of 14 for extra beds and board, starting in 1844 at a wage of US$5 a month. Flagler was promoted to the sales force by 1849 at a salary of $40 per month. In Bellevue, Ohio, he joined Daniel in a grain business started with his uncle Lamon.
Flagler and York Salt Company, a salt mining and production company in Saginaw, Michigan, was founded by Flagler and his brother-in-law Barney Hamlin York (1833–1884) in 1862. He found that salt mining required more technological expertise than he had, and he had to fail in the industry during the Civil War. As the war reduced commercial demand for salt, the company collapsed. Flagler returned to Bellevue after losing his initial $50,000 investment and borrowing more from his father-in-law and Daniel. Flagler believed he had learned a valuable lesson: invest in a company only after an extensive inquiry.