Henry Clay Frick: King of coke
When J. Paul Getty said â€œthe meek shall inherit the earth, but not the mineral rights,â€? he must have been thinking about Henry Clay Frick. Although Frick was slight, with delicate features, he was tenacious, tough and anything but meek. He may not have inherited the Earth, but he picked up all the rights to one of its minerals--coal. Born December 19, 1849, in Pennsylvania, and descended from German-Swiss immigrants, Frick grew up on a farm. His parents were of modest circumstances, but his grandfather was a wealthy whisky distiller. Frick was frail and unhealthy as a child. He did not play any sports, and he had no friends. At age 13 he left school and spent a year as a bookkeeper in his grandfatherâ€™s distillery before apprenticing in a relativeâ€™s general store. According to historian Mathew Josephson, Frick was â€œwatched over and counseled by the whole strong, sanctimonious, grasping Pennsylvania-Dutch family.â€?