Chapter

Philadelphia's Finest

in The First Wall Street

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print December 2005 | ISBN: 9780226910260
Published online March 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226910291 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.7208/chicago/9780226910291.003.0009
Philadelphia's Finest

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This chapter shows that the lifeblood of Chestnut Street's financiers also ebbed away, by exploring in detail the life and death of one of Philadelphia's finest financiers: Michael Hillegas. The death of men such as Hillegas decreased Chestnut Street's initial advantage in human capital. He was not Philadelphia's most important financial innovator by any stretch of the imagination. In fact, Hillegas was just one of many important Philly financiers. The passing of a financier such as Hillegas marked a diminution of Philadelphia's human capital base and a step closer to the ascendance of Wall Street. During the Revolutionary War, Hillegas invested in at least one successful “Adventure to France” and repeatedly asked to be included to the tune of £400 or £500 in other ventures. He also continued to sell his musical wares when he could, a trade he seems to have practiced until his death, but it appears he concentrated his wartime business concerns in manufacturing and land speculation. Undoubtedly influenced by his ironware trade and his association with Stiegel, Hillegas joined the iron manufacturing business in early 1774.

Keywords: Chestnut Street; human capital; financier

Chapter.  7047 words. 

Subjects: History of the Americas

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