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The Rockefeller family is considered to be one of the most philanthropic families in the world, helping humanity globally in issues like economics, religion, education and environmental affairs. Yet the Rockefeller family tree is filled with many skeletons.

William Avery Rockefeller, "Big Bill," was a con man, womanizer and a thief of a traveling salesman. He advertised himself as a "Celebrated Cancer Specialist" and hawked "herbal remedies" and other bottled medicine charging $25 a bottle, a sum the equivalent to two month's wages. He often posed as "deaf and dumb" as he scammed others. He fled from a number of indictments for horse stealing, eventually living under an assumed name. He married Eliza Davison in 1837, and shortly thereafter brought Nancy Brown home, as a "housekeeper" who became an alternate lover and who also bore his children.

As the saying goes, the apple didn't fall far from the tree. His son, John D. Rockefeller (1839-1937) was proclaimed to be the "most ruthless American" selling bootleg liquor to Federal troops at a high profit, which gained him the initial capital to embark into oil. In 1870 he and others incorporated their petroleum holdings into the Standard Oil Company (Ohio) and then either bought out his competitors or drove them out of business. By 1881, he had a near monopoly of the petroleum industry in the United States. By 1897, he had turned his interests toward philanthropy, funding the Baptist Church, the YMCA, and founding and endowing the University of Chicago with more than $80 million. He endowed major philanthropic institutions, and finally established the Rockefeller Foundation (1913), to promote public health and to further the medical, natural, and social sciences.

Maybe there are skeletons in your closet, too: embarrassing family members with a checkered past who have missed the mark in God's eyes. The story of the Rockefellers remind us that everyone has skeletons in their closets. But while some may have fallen short of God's will for their lives, no one is beyond redemption.

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