Robert Reed Church was born in Holly Springs, Mississippi back in 1839 to Charles and Emmeline. His mother died when he was 12, so his father a Steamboat Captain took on along on adventures along the rivers leading to New Orleans. During this time, he worked as a steward and mess hall.
He saved up enough money to buy a bar in Memphis which eventually he traded for a saloon and billiard room. By 1878-79 he had acquired considerable wealth, he moved his family outside of the city. Seizing on the opportunity he acquired commercial building, residential housing and bars as well as undeveloped land. In 1906, Robert and two other partners established the Solvent Savings Bank serving as founding president. He served as an adviser to the Republican presidents in the 1920’s.
What you may not know about Robert is that he was the first African-American to become a millionaire in the South. However, historians say that his wealth was actually around $700,000.00, regardless an outstanding achievement in those times.
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