Timothy Dexter: Story of the luckiest fool

Timothy Dexter: Story of the luckiest fool

This is a true story of how an illiterate farmer’s kid became a very wealthy man while simultaneously dodging the jealous eyes and well-wishers of a large number of people due to his naivete and simple nature. Timothy Dexter was the his name. He was born in 1748 in small farming family in Massachusetts.

Timothy left the school bench at a young age to help the family with responsibilities. And when he was a little older, his parents sent him to Charleston to learn cutting-edge leatherworking techniques.

Timothy Dexter

Timothy Dexter immediately lost interest in learning a real business due to the mentor’s strictness, and he soon left to pursue independence. Additionally, he had to earn money by doing odd tasks like loading coal or working in private stores because he had so little expertise and experience.

This happened for several years before fate took him to the town of Newburyport at the age of 22. He made the decision to try his luck with love affairs despite being neatly dressed and seemingly appealing but having no money in his wallet. And soon he was able to lure Elizabeth Frotingham, the affluent widow of the town’s glass factory owner. The couple quickly decided to be married in spite of the widow’s four children and their 10-year age difference.

Even before the wedding, Timothy Dexter started distributing the widow’s sizable money without giving it a second thought. He first purchased a plot of land in the city’s center, close to its most respected citizens, on which to construct a home. Of course, the latter were not especially pleased with such a neighborhood and saw Dexter as just another upstart who had the good fortune to woo a wealthy widow.

Timothy Dexter's house in Newburyport
Timothy Dexter’s house in Newburyport

But Timothy didn’t give a damn. Furthermore, he honestly thought that he was revered as his own and did not even realise that they were making fun of him. He persisted in looking for a good career in city administration in order to correspond to their status and become even more popular with the local wealthy.

There, too, no one took the illiterate redneck seriously, and to make him fall behind, they gave him the specifically constructed post of deer population controller in the nearby forests. This position was another joke and sinecure because deer haven’t been spotted there in decades.

Sinecure was a completely administrative position in the Catholic Church in mediaeval Europe, unrelated to parishioner care. The term sinecure now refers to any job that pays well but has no significant responsibilities.

Timothy made the decision to use his wife’s substantial money, which was made up solely of silver and gold coins, after relocating and envisioning himself as a successful businessman. And like many businesspeople, he made the decision to participate in the stock market, where people were delighted to trade his real money for shares.

1775 Continental Dollar Bond
1775 Continental Dollar Bond

The US Continental Council issued small-scale bonds in 1775, prior to the start of the Revolutionary War. These bonds suffered catastrophic depreciation at the onset of hostilities and by 1779 were worth 25 times less than their original value. However, Timothy was not embarrassed by this; on the contrary, he was drawn to it by its low cost and spent practically all of his money on these papers.

His envious’s joy knew no bounds. They were confident Dexter would default on these documents since, at the time, nobody in the nation had even considered investing in at least one such bond. But the war quickly came to an end, and these securities started to increase.

As a result, Timothy saw a 15-fold rise in his wealth, proving to the sour critics that their delight was in vain. In a similar manner, he kept purchasing other shares that were less expensive than the others, yet, for some reason, they then started to appreciate in value, making Timothy even wealthier.

He acquired himself several commercial ships after becoming extremely wealthy in order to engage in international trade. He frequently asked more seasoned trading figures for assistance because to his infantile naiveté and gullibility, but they all shared the same goal of ruining him.

They gave Timothy advice that no rational person would take after observing his foolishness in trading-related problems. Timothy, however, strongly trusted in his “friends” and felt no catch.

"I am the first in the East, the first in the West and the greatest philosopher of the Western world" - Timothy Dexter said to himself

Local businessmen so advised Timothy to send some gloves, Bibles, and special frying pans (used as heating pads in the USA) to the West Indies. Timothy had no idea that the West Indies had a tropical environment, that no one in the area knew anything about Christianity, and that nobody required all of these things, even if they were offered to them for free. Timothy filled his ships with these commodities after purchasing hundreds of them, and he departed with them.

The term “West Indies” originally referred to the Caribbean islands, including the Caribbean, the Bahamas, and the islands in the Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic Ocean. The nations of South and Southeast Asia are contrasted with the East Indies.

Rich people in the city once again celebrated Timothy’s coming failure, but once again they would soon be ashamed of themselves. The course of events can only be described as miraculous.

When Timothy arrived in the West Indies, he discovered that no one there required his wares and that the entire business could bankrupt him. But afterwards, Russian trade ships with people who preferred the American warm mittens arrived in the West Indies. In order to send the complete batch of mittens to Russia, a treble price was paid for them.

The colonizers of the West Indies needed Bibles since they were actively engaged in missionary work and preaching Christianity there at the same time. They did not hesitate to purchase all of the Bibles that were discovered to be kept in the warehouse, further enhancing Timothy.

A copper pan that was used as heating pads in the US
A copper pan that was used as heating pads in the North America

The pans were the main focus. The owners of sugar plantations and farmers eventually realized for themselves that these skillets, which resembled skimmers, were great tools for moving fish between tanks or producing molasses. Consequently, the entire batch of frying pans was redeemed. So after a vacation to the West Indies, Dexter’s wealth multiplied several times over.

Even more envious, Timothy soon had another incredibly strange occurrence. Another sarcastic critic then gave him the suggestion to send coal-filled ships to Newcastle, England.

Naturally, Timothy was unaware that Newcastle was the English coal industry’s hub at that time. Timothy once more relied on his intuition and “excellent” recommendations to load coal into ships and send them to England. Having driven the stupid to certain destruction, the powerful once more rejoiced.

However, a wave of miners’ strikes that demanded improved working conditions broke out across England as the ships were making their way to Newcastle. Warehouses for coal became empty as a result, and its price increased dramatically. As a result, the entire supply of coal from Timothy’s ships was purchased for twice the price when they arrived at Newcastle before they could enter the port, making him even wealthy.

timothy dexter's book
Timothy’s autobiography

Timothy desired to pen his autobiography, which would describe his life and philosophical considerations. However, he accomplished it in his customarily absurd style, the book contained 8847 words, all of which were united in a single phrase and devoid of any punctuation. Nevertheless, a lot of copies of the book were sold out. Then Timothy made the decision to write a second edition of the book, adding 13 pages and adding punctuation to them. They can be arranged however the reader pleases.

Even though Timothy was quite quirky, he is also remembered for his kind and kind activities in aiding common people. Timothy planned his own funeral just before he passed away because he sincerely wanted to know how much he was loved. He was overjoyed when almost 3,000 people attended the memorial service. He “came to life” in the middle of the memorial service, which astounded the entire crowd.

Tim Dexter survived for a few more years until passing away in 1806, leaving behind a lasting memory of himself.

ankita mehra

About the Author

Ankita is a German scholar and loves to write. Users can follow Ankita on Instagram ankita mehra instagram

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