1826 – 1870
William Brough was born in 1826 in Kelso, Scotland. In his early childhood, the family moved first to Canada and then to Vermont. He began to study medicine but gave it up for business. He moved to New York in 1849 and then to Pennsylvania, where he was a pioneer in the development of the oil industry. He became the first president of the Oil Producer’s Association, and was involved in some important U.S.-Russian oil ventures.
He retired in 1885, devoting his time to the study of social and economic subjects and to the writing of two books on money. A chaired professorship at Williams College is named in his honor. In The Natural Law of Money, William Brough argues forcefully that privately-supplied money offers benefits not offered by government-supplied money. A chaired professorship at Williams College is named in his honor. William Brough is one of only a few writers from the late 1800s who correctly explained Gresham’s Law