Johns Hopkins was an American entrepreneur, investor, and philanthropist. Born on a plantation, he left his home to start a career at the age of 17, and settled in Baltimore, Maryland where he remained for most of his life. Prudent early 19th-century investments in the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad, and a rise to the position of president at Baltimore's Merchants' National Bank allowed Hopkins to retire at an early age. Hopkins was a staunch supporter of Abraham Lincoln and the Union, often using his Maryland residence as a gathering place for Union strategists. He was a Quaker and supporter of the abolitionist cause, though he may have had slaves at an earlier stage of his life. Hopkins was a philanthropist his whole life, but the trait became very evident after the Civil War.