Joshua: A Man of the Finger Lakes Region


Joshua: A Man of the Finger Lakes Region


By Charles Brutcher

John D. Rockefeller is known the world over as a legendary industrialist and entrepreneur. But despite his immense celebrity, precious little is known about his humble origins, and even less about the man who gave him his name—William Rockefeller.

William “Big Bill” Rockefeller is a man whose personal and professional life were shrouded in mystery. What is known known for certain is less than savory, and his son, after achieving global recognition for his economic success, did all he could to suppress the truth about his father’s seedy—when not outright criminal—behavior. One of the few sources of information on Big Bill is this book. Written in 1927, it is a thinly veiled roman à clef detailing William Rockefeller’s exploits as a bigamist and snake-oil salesman who lied, cheated, and stole his way through life.

The tales Charles Brutcher sets forth in the pages of this book come to us by way of Melvin Rosekrans, whose father, Joshua, tangled with Big Bill in the 1840s. And though the wise reader will take the information presented here with a grain of salt (for it is almost certain that lore and hyperbole are woven between the facts), enough details line up with established historical sources to lend the stories in this book far more than the mere patina of authenticity. Furthermore, it is said that one of the reasons—perhaps the sole reason—that original editions of this book are so rare, is that the esteemed founder of Standard Oil himself actively suppressed its publication, perhaps fearing that the truth about his father would tarnish his reputation. 

A fascinating book made newly available to the public in this affordable 2015 edition, Joshua: A Man of the Finger Lakes Region is a gripping story that sheds light on the beginnings of one of America’s most indomitable titans of industry. 


Page Count: 156

ISBN: 978-1626541573 (Hardcover)

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