Friedrich Trump amassed ‘substantial nest-egg’ from Yukon hotel before heading to New York
The Canadian Press – Canadians amused by the improbable presidential run of Donald Trump might be surprised to learn the role their own country played in shaping his story.
Trump’s grandfather started the family fortune in an adventure that involved the Klondike gold rush, the Mounties, prostitution and twists of fate that pushed him to New York City.
Friedrich Trump had been in North America a few years when he set out for the Yukon, says an author who’s just completed a new edition of her multi-generational family biography.
That Canadian chapter proved pivotal for the entrepreneurial German immigrant, says Gwenda Blair, author of The Trumps: Three Generations That Built An Empire.
“It allowed him to get together the nest egg he’d come to the United States for,” the author and Columbia University journalism professor said in an interview.
“Whether he could’ve accumulated that much money somewhere else, in that short a period of time, as a young man with no connections, and initially not even English, is certainly … unlikely.”
He’d left Europe in 1885 at age 16, a barber’s apprentice whose father died young.
Trump wanted a life outside the barber shop, far from the family-owned vineyards his ancestors had been working since they’d settled in Germany’s Kallstadt region in the 1600s carrying the soon-altered surname Drumpf.
He sailed in steerage to join his sister in New York.
Within five years he’d anglicized his name to Frederick; moved to the young timber town of Seattle; and amassed enough cash to buy tables and chairs for a restaurant.
His next big move was heralded by the front page of the Seattle Post-Intelligencer of July 17, 1897, and its exclamatory headline: “Gold! Gold! Gold!”
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