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Frederick Trump

Frederick Trump and family
Frederick Trump with his family, 1915. Fred Trump on the left.
Frederick Trump and family
Frederick Trump with his family, 1915. Fred Trump on the left.
Donald Trump's grandfather was a German immigrant who made his money in the Canadian gold rush.

Frederick Trump didn't dig for gold. He had the better idea of providing food, drink and girls for the miners. This made him rich, and he was clever enough to keep his money.

Back in Germany, Frederick Trump's family owned a small vineyard. But Frederick did not want to spend his life picking grapes. Neither did he want to do military service.

When he was 16, he left home to make a new life in America. In New York, he worked as a barber for six years, and when he had saved a few hundred dollars, he headed west to seek his fortune.

When he reached the boom town of Seattle, he opened a restaurant in the red-light district. Two years later he had enough money to buy his first piece of land.

Then news arrived that gold had been discovered in Canada. It was the start of the Klondike gold rush. Thirty thousand miners came from all over the world to dig for gold.

Frederick took a huge gamble, sold everything and set out for the goldfields.

It was a dangerous 2,000-kilometer journey, first by ship to Alaska and from there south to Canada across the notorious White pass, where temperatures dropped to minus forty degrees and horses died in thousands.

He reached the mining camp in May 1898 and set up The Arctic Hotel and Restaurant. It featured a bar that was open 24 hours a day, offered the best food and drink, and 'rooms for ladies'. The hotel was an immediate success and in ten years he was rich.

But trouble was on the way. Frederick heard that the government was planning to ban gambling and prostitution. He didn't want to risk losing his money so he sold his business and left. In ten years, he'd made half a million dollars in present day money.

He returned briefly to Germany and married a girl from his hometown. However, he couldn't stay because he hadn't done his military service so he took his bride back to New York and there he started to buy property.

But his luck ran out. In May 1918, he caught flu and died suddenly. He was one of the first to die in the great flu epidemic. He was only 49.

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1  Comprehension quiz: Frederick Trump

2  Vocabulary quiz - Frederick Trump