Timothy Dexter

Timothy Dexter

American businessman
Date of Birth: 22.01.1748
Country: USA

Biography of Timothy Dexter

Timothy Dexter, an American businessman, was known for his luck and eccentricity. He was born in 1748 in Malden, Massachusetts. Despite receiving little formal education, Dexter started working on farms at the age of 8. Later, at the age of 16, he began an apprenticeship in a tannery.

In 1769, Dexter moved to Newburyport, Massachusetts, where his luck changed for the better. He married a wealthy widow named Elizabeth Frothingham, which brought stability to his life. However, he felt uneasy living off his wife's money and wanted to be seen as a successful and intelligent businessman. While he may not have been particularly smart, his luck was undeniable. For example, he would buy cheap stocks, and miraculously, they would increase in value.

Every time Dexter pursued a new venture, luck seemed to be on his side. His competitors purposely gave him foolish advice, and yet he would thrive. This was evident when he sent a large shipment of goods to the West Indies, including Bibles, woolen gloves, and frying pans. These items were completely unnecessary in the region. However, missionaries had just arrived in India, and his Bibles sold for a significant profit. The warm gloves were also bought and resold in Siberia. Despite his competitors' frustration, Dexter proved to be unstoppable.

One particularly famous incident involved Dexter taking a joke about "coals to Newcastle" literally. He invested a significant amount of money in shipping coal to England, even though it was common knowledge that Newcastle was a coal mining region. However, his ships arrived during a miner strike, allowing him to sell the coal at a high price. His competitors and critics could only shrug their shoulders and admit that fools always have good luck. Dexter, on the other hand, continued to boast about his successes, emphasizing his intelligence and talent as a businessman.

There were many other instances where Dexter managed to make money from seemingly unsuccessful projects. He continued to act foolishly, much to the annoyance of his wife, who wished to see him as a respected gentleman rather than a local fool. In response to constant criticism and arguments, Dexter pretended that his wife had died and her ghost had taken her place in their home. He told this story to anyone who would listen, further infuriating his living and healthy spouse.

When Dexter turned 50, he published a book about himself titled "A Pickle for the Knowing Ones or Plain Truth in a Homespun Dress." In this book, he criticized politicians, clergy, and his wife. Surprisingly, the book consisted of 8,847 words and 33,864 letters without a single punctuation mark. Unbelievably, this project also achieved commercial success, with thousands of copies sold and multiple reprints. The second edition even included additional pages with punctuation marks for readers to insert as they saw fit.

Even in his own death, Timothy Dexter managed to play a joke. He announced his own demise, and when 3,000 people attended his funeral, they were quite disappointed to find him alive. He passed away in October 1806, at the age of 58.

His house in Newburyport later became a hotel and was damaged in a storm. Dexter's main legacy, however, was his book. Timothy Dexter is unofficially considered the luckiest man in the world.