Donald Trump Parents & GrandparentsMr. Trump’s parents and paternal and maternal grandparents come from wildly different worlds. On his paternal side, grandfather Frederick Trump (1869-1918, born Friederich Drumpf) was born in the wine-producing region of Kallstadt in Germany. The prospect of working in vineyards did not appeal to young Frederick, so in 1885, at the tender age of 16, he emigrated to the United States, taking the ocean liner Eider from the port of Hamburg to New York.
After spending six years in New York as a barber’s apprentice, Frederick obtained his citizenship and promptly traveled to Seattle. With the little savings he had, he leased a small restaurant in the infamous Lava Beds red-light district. He converted the ramshackle building into an inn, and renamed it The Poodle Dog. The bar and tiny private rooms of The Poodle Dog became a hit with prostitutes and their customers, and profits quickly started to pour in.
Most men would view this as a perfectly reasonable life, but Frederick was a man of great ambition, and aimed for more. So he bided his time, and kept his ears close to the ground. He sensed an opportunity in 1894 when he heard the news that the richest man in the world, John D. Rockefeller, was investing in mining operation in Monte Cristo, a small town on the Cascade Range in western Washington, just north of Seattle.
Once he arrived in Monte Cristo, he promptly filed a claim for piece of land. However, instead of mining, he built a hotel on the patch of land and offered lodging, food, liquor and of course, women, to the thousands of weary miners there. The hotel proved to be a hit, but as we’ve learned with Frederick, he had higher aspirations.
He immediately closed down the restaurant in 1897 after hearing of the Klondike Gold Rush, and traveled deep into the Canadian northwest to Bennett, British Columbia to open The Arctic Restaurant and Hotel. His hotel became a roaring success and was widely considered as the best in town, but it gained a notorious reputation. In her book, The Trumps: Three Generations of Builders and a Presidential Candidate
, author Gwenda Blair wrote:
As in Seattle, Frederick Trump's establishment included accommodations for prostitutes. Newspaper advertisements in the Bennett Sun touted the Arctic's kitchen as the "Best Equipped in Bennett," with "All Modern Improvements," "Every Delicacy in the Market,” and “Fresh Oysters in Every Style”. But the ads also noted that the Arctic was open twenty-four hours a day and had private boxes for ladies - facilities that here included not only a bed, but a scale for weighing the gold dust used to pay for services. Indeed, the Arctic owed its renown to its raunchiness as much as to its food. For single men the Arctic has excellent accommodations as well as the best restaurant in Bennett, but I would not advise respectable women to go there to sleep as they are liable to hear that which would be repugnant to their feelings – and uttered, too, by the depraved of their own sex.
In June 1900, Frederick opened a second hotel in Whitehorse, Yukon - the White Horse Restaurant and Inn. However, by the following year, the keen businessman felt that the gold rush fever was reaching its end. He sold off his interest and left town a wealthy man.
By then, his heart was calling him home, and he sailed for Germany in 1902 to see his widowed mother and neighbor Elisabeth Christ (1880-1966), whom he had kept in touch by mail over the years. Not long after arriving, Frederick married Elisabeth and they moved in to the Drumpf family home in Kallstadt. However, the law came-a-calling for Frederick, and the Bavarian State stripped him off his citizenship for avoiding military conscription when he left for United States sixteen years earlier. Left with no choice, Frederick and a pregnant Elisabeth set sail for New York in 1904. They set up home in Woodhavens, Queens, and Frederick started working as barber once again. A couple of years later, he left the barbershop to manage a friend’s restaurant.
Yet, he never stopped looking for opportunities, and he finally found one his chance in underdeveloped areas around Queens. He purchased land and properties, building a portfolio that could either be flipped or developed. However, he passed away in 1918 from pneumonia before he could see the fruits of his labor.
His eldest son, Fred Trump, picked up where he left off and started developing homes in Queens that sold for a princely sum of $3,990. Fred followed that up with large apartment projects aimed at the middle class market all over New York. By the middle of the 20th century, Fred Trump became arguably the most successful real estate developer in the state with thousands of sold, leased and rented properties. A recent allegation links Fred Trump with a Ku Klux Klan march in New York on May 30, 1927.
Fred met his wife, Mary Anne MacLeod (1912-2000) in 1930, and after an unusually long courtship, they were married in 1936. Mary Anne, who traveled to the United States in search of a better life, hails from Tong, a poor fishing village in the Isle of Lewis, located on Scotland’s west coast. She grew up with her parents, Malcolm MacLeod (1866-1954) and Mary Smith (1867-1963), in a harsh and cold environment, as did her ancestors for at least five generations.
Trump family tree