GIRARD, STEPHEN: This remarkable citizen and merchant was born near Bordeaux, France, on May 20, 1750, son of an officer of the French navy. At the age of fourteen years he became a seaman in the merchant trade. In 1774 he came to the port of New York, and two years later he visited Philadelphia, and, being impressed with the prosperity he saw here, he became a grocer and ship chandler. In 1777 he married Mary Lum, the daughter of a shipbuilder. They lived for a time at Mt. Holly, N. J. Mrs. Girard became demented after eight years of wedded life. She never recovered, and died insane about the year 1811. She bore no children, and after the death of his brother, who had been his partner, Girard was alone, and so devoted himself to business, as a consolation. He so far succeeded that when he died, on December 26, 1831, aged 81 years, he left a fortune of above $7,000,000. An ardent patriot, he aided the Government in the time of need, and especially during the War of 1812. He became a banker in 1811. While his business methods were exact, he was always just. His beneficences were constant, but he is best remembered as the founder of Girard College, completed and opened for the education of orphan boys in 1848.
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