11th: James Knox Polk
> Est. peak net worth: $11.3 million
> In office: 1845-1849
Like his wife, Sarah Childress, James Polk’s father was a wealthy plantation owner and speculator. Polk’s salaries as speaker of the house and governor of Tennessee contributed to his wealth. He owned over 900 acres in Mississippi. He also owned dozens of slaves.
12th: Zachary Taylor
> Est. peak net worth: $7.2 million
> In office: 1849-1850
Zachary Taylor grew up on a plantation and would go on to own significant amounts of land, including property in Mississippi, Kentucky, and Louisiana. His successful land speculation deals also added to his wealth.
13th: Millard Fillmore
> Est. peak net worth: $4.1 million
> In office: 1850-1853
Neither Millard Fillmore nor his wife had significant inheritances. Fillmore founded a college that is the currently the State University of New York at Buffalo, and his primary holding was a house in nearby East Aurora, New York.
14th: Franklin Pierce
> Est. peak net worth: $2.0 million
> In office: 1853-1857
Franklin Pierce’s father was a politician, and his wife’s father was the former president of Bowdoin College, Pierce’s alma mater. He had a background in law and held property in Concord, New Hampshire.
15th: James Buchanan
> Est. peak net worth: less than $1 million
> In office: 1857-1861
Born in a log cabin in Pennsylvania, James Buchanan was one of 11 children. He was the only president never to marry. He worked as an attorney before ascending through the ranks of politics as a state representative, U.S. congressman, senator, foreign minister, and secretary of state before becoming president. With most of life in public service and not coming for a wealthy family, Buchanan never accumulated much wealth.