Aaron Burr opens earliest predecessor firm

In September 1799, the Manhattan Company opened its doors at 40 Wall Street. The Bank of The Manhattan Company was the second commercial bank established in New York City.

water pipesIn September 1799, The Bank of The Manhattan Company was established, becoming the second commercial bank formed in New York City.

The earliest predecessor of JPMorgan Chase, the Manhattan Company was founded by Aaron Burr in April of that year. Burr led a group of prominent New Yorkers, including Alexander Hamilton, in obtaining a charter from the New York State Legislature for a company to supply "pure and wholesome" water to the residents of New York City, whose inferior water was thought to be the cause of frequent epidemics of yellow fever.

The unusual charter included a clause allowing the company to employ its excess capital in any activity “not inconsistent with the Constitution and laws of the United States.” This provision enabled the company to engage in banking activities. The establishment of The Bank of The Manhattan Company represented the end of the Federalist's banking monopoly in New York City. Within a few years, The Bank of The Manhattan Company was well established as a vital New York financial institution.

 

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