He was the son of Gilbert Aspinwall, one of the wealthiest merchants in New York during the early 1800s. He married Margaret Maxwell, daughter of Dr Robert Maxwell of Dumfries, Scotland. His mother-in-law Ann Maxwell, née Young, knew AMW's sister Eliza Winstanley from their youth in Scotland.
In 1830 Aspinwall went into the drug business with William L. Rushton as Rushton & Aspinwall. He figured in Moses Yale Beach, Wealthy Men of New York, New York, 1855, with a fortune of $100,000.
Collins, Aileen S. ed., Travels in Britain, 1794-1795, The Diary of John Aspinwall Great-grandfather of Franklin Delano Roosevelt, With a Brief History of His Aspinwall Forebears, Virginia Press, Virginia, 1994, p. 147; 'The Howlands and the Aspinwalls.' A Classification of American Wealth History and genealogy of the wealthy families of America. http://www.raken.com (accessed 2001).