America’s Oldest Family Companies

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Want to stay in business a long time? Take a lesson from these survivors.

How do you measure business success? By revenues? Profits? Impact on the community or the world?

These are important guideposts, to be sure—and they’re celebrated annually in this magazine’s “Largest family companies” lists and in the Family Business Pantheon. But size and power are ephemeral: Yesterday’s mighty Enron or Arthur Andersen is often tomorrow’s liquidation. No, when it comes to business prestige, no achievement dazzles the world like longevity.

When Family Business first identified America’s oldest family companies two years ago (Spring 2001), that feature received more feedback—letters, calls, visits to our website—than any article we’d ever published. And for good reason: Most companies of all types and sizes fail within 20 years of their birth. Even among family companies—a much hardier breed—less than 30% survive into the second generation, barely 10% make it to the third, and only about 4% to the fourth.

That means that the updated list that follows represents nothing less than an elite American business aristocracy: 102 companies that have remained owned and operated by the same family at least since 1865, and in some cases back as far as the early 17th century. All have operated for at least five generations, some for eight or nine or, in one case, 14 generations.

In this patricular honor roll, size and celebrity count for very little: The tiny Barker’s farm in Massachusetts (only one full-time employee) ranks fourth, while the world’s largest private company—$50 billion Cargill Inc. of Minnesota—ranks 95th. The obscure Shirley Plantation ranks higher on the list than household names like Levi Strauss, Anheuser-Busch and Bacardi.

Our latest research uncovered some 30 venerable firms that escaped our notice two years ago. Also, some 28 companies from our previous list failed to qualify this time—because they closed, passed out of family hands or simply were superseded by newly discovered older firms. Once again, we invite readers to alert us to candidates we may have missed, for inclusion on future lists.

Our band of hardy survivors includes 43 manufacturers, 21 farms, 25 services businesses (including 12 funeral homes) and ten retailers, plus a few that defied definition. They’re scattered across 36 states (and Puerto Rico) stretching from Maine to California (the most family-friendly: Pennsylvania, with 11, and Illinois and Massachusetts, with nine each).

But what characteristics do our survivors share in common? For those family firms that hope to join this list some day, we suggest these lessons:

1. Stay small. “The meek shall inherit the Earth” is more than a Biblical platitude; it may actually be sound long-range business advice. About half of our listed companies employ fewer than 15 people, and many have fewer than ten. Conversely, only seven of our “largest” family companies (Autumn 2002) also made this “oldest” list.

2. Don’t go public. Offering stock to the public is a tempting way to raise capital, but it’s also a temptation for takeover artists. Only three of our listed companies are publicly traded, and they’re near the bottom of the list (Corning ranks 65th, Anheuser-Busch 88th and R.R. Donnelley 94th).

3. Avoid big cities. Only 27 of our 102 oldest companies are based in metropolitan areas large enough to house major-league sports teams. Of our 50 oldest companies, only seven are located in major urban areas.

4. Keep it in the family. “Blood is thicker than water” is one cliché that still rings true. As a rule, families outlast nations, corporations and other organizations. So it’s no surprise that family firms, by and large, outlast non-family firms.



17th century

1. 1623
Zildjian Cymbal Co.
Zildjian family
Cymbals/Norwell, Mass.   
Founded 14 generations ago in Constantinople by an alchemist named Avedis I, who discovered an extremely musical metal alloy to create powerful, durable cymbals. The sultan named him “Zildjian,” Armenian for “cymbalsmith.” Family arrived in U.S. 1929, in time for Avedis Zildjian III to establish ties with hot new jazz drummers of the day. His son Armand (1921-2002) created modern factory. Today his daughters Craigie (CEO) and Debbie (VP/human resources) run company, first women chiefs in its long history.

2. 1635-38?
Tuttle Farm
Tuttle family
Agriculture/Dover, N.H.
Employees: 45 winter, 75 summer
Founder John Tuttle left England 1635, survived shipwreck off Maine coast, arrived in Dover with wife and four-year-old daughter. His 240-acre farm now in 12th generation under Tuttle family, grows vegetables and strawberries, also operates retail shop on site.
Future in doubt: Of those in the 12th generation, only 20-year-old Evan Tuttle has expressed interest. His cousins prefer computer science and acting to agriculture. “Eleven generations of Tuttles occupied the same position of dirt, but it doesn’t mean there has to be a 12th,” says Will Tuttle, 52. “It’s totally their decision.”

3. 1638
Shirley Plantation
Hill/Carter family
Historical site/Charles City, Va. 
Virginia’s oldest plantation, settled 1613 on James River between Richmond and Williamsburg by Sir Thomas West. Operated as tobacco and grain farm 1613-1952. Acquired 1638 by Edward Hill and managed by his descendants ever since. His great-granddaughter Elizabeth Hill married John Carter 1723; plantation owned since then by their descendants. Under tenth-generation owner Charles Hill Carter Jr. and wife, converted to tourist attraction 1952; since 1998, also hosts weddings and corporate events as well under Carters’ children, 11th-generation operators.

4. 1642
Barker Farm
Barker family
Dairy and apples/North Andover, Mass.
Revenues: $250,000 to $500,000
Employees: 1 full-time, 6 at peak
Family farm now run by 11th generation of Barkers. Visitors can pick produce.

5. 1684
Miller Farm
Miller family
Agriculture, timber/Frederica, Del.
Revenues: $50 to $60/acre
Farm has remained in Miller family’s hands through nine generations. Its tillable land is currently leased to a local farmer.

18th century

6. 1700?
Allandale Farm
Fruit, produce, flowers/Brookline, Mass.
Employees: 2-3 year-round, sometimes 10-20; most part-time.
Last working farm within Boston-Brookline limits; only one of six farms left within Route 128 Beltway. Also operates summer outdoor program for children.

7. 1720?
Cooke Farm
Cooke family
Farm/Wallingford, Conn.
Founded 1720 or earlier, once a thriving 550-acre dairy operation. Tenth-generation proprietor George Cooke stopped milking cows 1995, sold off most acreage, developed industrial park, now general contractor who leases remaining land to tenant farmer.

8. 1722
Nourse Family Farm
Nourse family
Agriculture/Westborough, Mass.
Farm established in 1722 by grandchildren of Rebecca Nurse, innocent victim hanged for witchcraft in Salem, Mass., 1692. Family fled Salem and in 1722 purchased land on the frontier in Westborough, where descendants have farmed 140-acre spread for more than 280 years. Jonathan Nourse, proprietor since 1971, recently expanded into prepared foods (jams, jellies, pies, etc.).

9. 1741
Lyman Orchards
Lyman family
Agriculture/Middlefield, Conn.
The 1,100-acre farm today offers ambitious variety of food products (cider, apple pies, etc.), events (golf tournaments, fund-raisers), tours. Founding family now in eighth generation of ownership.

10. 1742
John Whitley Farm
Whitley family
Agriculture/Williamston, N.C.
Oldest farm in North Carolina, now in eighth generation. Family mementos include original deed with wax seal of King of England, note from Theodore Roosevelt thanking Whitleys for lending him their binoculars. Land now leased for tobacco, corn, wheat, peanuts, soybeans.

11. 1750
Parlange Plantation
Farm/New Roads, La.
One of state’s oldest plantations; descendants of first owner Marquis Vincent de Ternant still live there. Originally grew indigo and cotton, now sugarcane, soybeans, corn and Brahmin cattle.
House, open for tours, contains original Louis XIV- and Louis XV-style furnishings and French objects handed down through generations. A basement museum displays antiques: blacksmith tools, cotton scales, sugar kettles (formerly used to boil indigo beans down to a dye), candle molds and an 1842 inventory of the estate, which lists livestock by name and ranks the value of each slave by age and ability.

12. 1769
Bachman Funeral Home
Bachman family
Funeral services
Strasburg, Pa.
Johannes Bachman, a Swiss Mennonite, began as cabinetmaker in Lancaster County, Pa., evolved into coffins and funerals. His original business ledger (in German), dated April 1769, has been passed to the present eighth generation. John D. Bachman is the current director.

13. 1774
Stuart Land Co. of Virginia
Stuart family
Cattle/Rosedale, Va.
Employees: 12
Beef cattle operation still functioning. Founder Daniel Smith’s great-granddaughter Eliza Carter married William Alexander Stuart, for whom company is named. His son Henry Carter Stuart was governor of Virginia, early 20th century. Currrent proprietor William (Zan) Stuart, eighth generation from founder, is 80; no children in business, but grandchildren may succeed him.

14. 1778
St. John Milling Co.
St. John/Dawson family
Milling, farm products/Watauga, Tenn.
Revenues: $750,000
Employees: 4
Stone mason Jeremiah Dungan built original foundation for mill and stone manor (still standing), ran mill with children Jeremiah and Mary D. Hendrix. Mill passed to son Jeremiah’s daughter Mary and her husband, John Houston (brother of frontier hero Sam Houston), and then to their sons John Jr. and William Houston. Succeeded 1866 by George W. St. John (1837-1904), great-nephew of Jeremiah Dungan. His son James St. John (1874-1956) inherited mill from his father, 1904. His son George St. John, electrical engineer, succeeded him, converted farm’s power source from water to electricity. Today mill is owned by George’s daughter and son-in-law, Elizabeth and Ron Dawson (sixth generation). Operation changed from general feed and milling to feed and seed store. Because of shifting boundaries, company has paid taxes in three different states: North Carolina, Tennessee and the short-lived “State of Franklin.”

15. 1780
Laird & Co.
Laird family
Brandy distiller/Scobeyville, N.J.
Revenues: $40 million
Employees: 50
America’s first large-scale distiller produces AppleJack brandy, vodka, gin, scotch, bourbon, tequila, rum, wines, etc. Laird family settled in New Jersey from Scotland 1698; one ancestor opened Colts Neck Inn 1717. Robert Laird, Revolutionary War soldier, first distilled AppleJack in 1780 to serve at inn, provided brandy to George Washington. Robert’s third son Samuel took over inn 1812; distillery flourished there until destroyed by fire, 1849. His son Robert moved distillery to present Scobeyville site 1851. Company survived Prohibition by producing sweet cider, applesauce, other apple products; since 1990 has imported wines from Europe. Company now headed by eighth-generation Larrie W. Laird and his children, Lisa Laird Dunn and John E. Laird III.

16. 1783
Juanita M. Joiner Farm/Southern Woodland Co.
Joiner family
Agriculture/Millen, Ga.
Nation’s oldest cotton farm; also nation’s oldest timberland company. Joiner family farm, on 1,200 acres between Augusta and Savannah, survived Sherman’s march; still grows cotton, soybeans, hay and timber after eight generations.
     Current owners Juanita and Gary Joiner, both in 80s, now assisted by son Robert, an Augusta accountant who moved back home. Ancestors include a cousin of one of Henry VIII’s wives, a Colonial governor, a governor of North Carolina and founder of the Georgia town of Swainsboro. Family’s Civil War-era mansion crumbled years ago.

17. 1785
Bixler family
Retail jeweler/Easton, Pa.
America’s oldest jeweler/silversmith founded 1785 by 22-year-old clockmaker Christian Bixler III, Revolutionary War vet. He built 465 clocks by 1812, died 1840. Company today has stores in Easton and Allentown. Now run by founder’s great-great-great-grandchildren, president Joyce Welken and brother Philip Bixler Mitman.

18. 1787
Hayes’ Coffees
Hayes family
Coffee roasters/Oak Park, Ill.
Process of coffee roasting began as secret family activity is response to British efforts to promote tea at expense of coffee. Hayes family now in seventh generation; makes tea as well.

19. 1789
George Ruhl & Sons
Ruhl family
Baking supplies/Hanover, Md.
Revenues: $25 million
Employees: 49
Conrad Ruhl founded flour and feed mill in Baltimore 1789. Firm survived Baltimore fire of 1904 by tossing flour barrels into harbor. Abandoned feed business 1915, evolved into sugar and baking supplies. Ruhl family currently is in sixth generation of management.

20. 1798
Alan McIlvain Co.
McIlvain family
Lumber/Marcus Hook, Pa.
McIlvain family has operated hardwood lumberyard in Philadelphia area since 1798. Present owner/managers Alan and Gordon are sixth generation of lumber McIlvains.

19th century

21. 1801
Crane & Co.
Crane family
Paper manufacturing/>Dalton, Mass.
Employees: 1,200
Company makes wedding invitations, engraved cards, letterheads, envelopes, business cards, announcements, etc. Zenas Crane, son of paper engraver, and two partners founded a one-vat paper mill 1801. Grandson W. Murray Crane won contract to make U.S. currency paper (1879), later served as governor of Massachusetts. Company pioneered pollution controls, profit-sharing. Only family CEOs until 1975; Lansing Crane of sixth generation took charge 1995. Eight Crane family members work there now.

22. 1801
Sawyer Bentwood Co.
Sawyer family
Wood products/Whitingham, Vt.
Sawyer family evolved from lumber and grain in 19th century to turnings and panels in 1920s and 1930s and to chairs, tables and case goods in 1940s. Since 1954 company has specialized in hardwood steam-bent bearings. Now in sixth generation.

23. 1802
Rogers Funeral Home
Rogers family
Funeral services/Frankfort, Ky.
Employees: 5
Funeral home now in sixth generation under Rogers family.

24. 1802
The Homestead
Hayward family
Inn/Sugar Hill, N.H.
Employees: 3
Inn founded by Moses and Sarah Aldrich has been passed down through seven generations. Original 1802 farmhouse expanded to present size 1898. Still exemplifies early American innkeeping. Founders’ family heirlooms (glass, china, silver, brass, copper, etc.) are available for use by guests.

25. 1812
Bear Funeral Home
Bear family
Funeral services/Churchville, Va.
Employees: 4 full-time, 6 part-time
Christian Bear, early settler from Pennsylvania, opened mill to power cabinetmaking, evolved into caskets and funerals. Fifth and sixth generation of family now in charge.

26. 1813
ContiGroup Cos.
Fribourg family
Grain, feed, food processing/New York
Revenues: $3.3 billion
Employees: 14,500
Major global agribusiness firm (formerly Continental Grain) founded in Belgium and still owned by founding Fribourg family. Has offices in ten countries. Longtime CEO Michel Fribourg stepped down in 1994 to make room for second-eldest son, Paul (founder’s great-great-great-grandson), now 48. Ranked 44th among largest U.S. family companies (FB, Autumn 2002), 130th on global list (Winter 2003).

27. 1815
Loane Bros. Inc.
Loane family
Awnings, tents/Baltimore
Revenues: $3 million
Employees: 60
British immigrant Joseph Loane arrived 1815, opened shop making canvas sails. Sixth generation of Loanes now make and rent awnings and party tents.

28. 1816
Taylor Chair Co.
Taylor/Meals family
Furniture/Bedford, Ohio
Furniture maker founded by Benjamin Fitch, a settler from Connecticut. His daughter married his apprentice, William O. Taylor; firm took Taylor’s name 1842. Seventh generation now makes desks, chairs, sofas with warehouses nationwide.

29. 1818
Eaton Funeral Homes
Eaton family
Funeral services/Needham, Mass.
Carpenter William Eaton opened shop at age 25, built coffin 1818, evolved into funerals as a sideline. Son George (d. 1943), an insurance man, also ran funerals part-time. His son Alger bought uncle’s livery business in 1890s, acquired hearse, got embalming license. Current director Laurence Eaton is sixth generation in charge.

30. 1821
Ratcliffe Farms
Ratcliffe family
Agriculture/Natchez, Miss.
Farm now in sixth generation under Ratcliffe family.

31. 1822
Stuard Funeral Home
Stuard family
Funeral services/Ardmore, Pa.
Employees: 5
Funeral home founded by Henry Stuard; now run by Wally Stuard III of family’s sixth generation.

32. 1824
Ashaway Line and Twine Mfg. Co.
Crandall family
Line, twine manufacturing/Ashaway, R.I.
Employees: 80
World leader in production of strings for racquet sports, surgical suture thread and custom braided products. Founded as producer of fishing line by Captain Lester Crandall. Produced first commercial nylon fishing lines 1939; got into tennis racquet strings 1954; introduced Kevlar strings 1977. Now in sixth generation under Crandall family; it’s the only U.S. maker of tennis racquet strings.

33. 1825
M.A. Patout & Son
Patout family
Sugar, syrup, etc./Jeanerette, La.
Oldest (and largest) continuously operating, family-owned sugar plantation in U.S. Founder Pierre Siméon Patout (1791-1847), son of French peasants with Bonapartist sympathies, came to Louisiana 1829, acquired slaves, began planting sugar cane. Widow, sons and descendants continued, despite major 1959 fire that destroyed mill and all records.

34. 1826
Henry W.T. Mali & Company
Mali family
Billiards/New York
Dutch-born Henri W.T. Mali worked in father’s cloth manufacturing firm, came to U.S. to launch office 1826, shortly joined by brother Charles. Today oldest and largest supplier of billiards fabrics in U.S., run by Fred Mali of fifth generation. Family members served as Belgian consuls in New York, 1831-1949. Relatives include abolitionist Lucretia Mott and John Taylor Johnston, founder of Metropolitan Museum of Art.

35. 1828
George Jerome & Co.
Jerome family
Engineering/Roseville, Mich.
Founder Edwin Jerome, originally from Batavia, N.Y., started lumber business, laid out lot lines with chain, evolved into surveying and engineering. Two members of Edwin’s survey crew were killed in an Indian raid. Current CEO George Jerome Jr., a civil engineer, is sixth generation at helm, possibly the last: He isn’t married.

36. 1828
Cornell Iron Works
Cornell family
Rolling doors
Mountaintop, Pa.
Employees: 200
Firm started as maker of iron rails, grates, stairs, vaults, etc. Now major manufacturer of industrial doors. CEO Andrew Cornell is descendant of founder.

37. 1829
D.G. Yuengling & Son
Yuengling family
Brewery/Pottsville, Pa.
America's oldest brewery makes about 800,000 barrels of beer and ale a year, sold in six states. Founded as Eagle Brewery by David Yuengling; destroyed by fire two years later and rebuilt; joined by son Frederick 1873, when current name adopted. During Prohibition, produced "near beer." Yuengling (pronounced "ying-ling") family has resisted buyout offers from brewery giants, recently built new plant near original site to triple capacity. Fifth-generation member Richard Yuengling Jr., CEO since 1985, is active Republican.

38. 1830
E.A. Clore Sons
Clore family
Furniture/Madison, Va.
Maker of handcrafted hardwood furniture and tables founded by Moses Clore.

39. 1830
Harland Family Farm
Harland family
Cattle farming/Lafayette, Ill.
Beef cattle farm (80 cows) first homesteaded by Jonathan Gibbs, now operated by his great-great-grandson Al Harland and his wife, Jeanne. Also corn, soybeans and hay. Family house dates from 1850s.

40. 1832
Bevin Brothers Manufacturing Co.
Bevin family
Bells/East Hampton, Conn.
Employees: 45
Only U.S. company that makes bells exclusively. Founded as sleigh-bell maker by four Bevin brothers. Second-generation chief Chauncey G. Bevin served 70 years, into 1940s. Current president, Stanley Bevin, is the fifth-generation descendant of founders. Firm today makes 200 different kinds of bells, including “Bells of Hope“ used during the Arlington National Cemetery ceremony for President Clinton’s first inauguration.

41. 1833
C.F. Martin & Co.
Martin family
Guitars/Nazareth, Pa.
Employees: 500
Well-known producer of Martin guitars and strings since its inception. German immigrant Christian Frederick Martin Sr., descendant of long line of guitar makers, apprenticed in Vienna, left Europe after dispute between guilds. Arrived in U.S. 1833, age 37, set up shop in New York City, moved to Nazareth, Pa., 1836. Family and company there ever since. Sixth-generation Christian Frederick Martin IV, 47, CEO since 1986, when he succeeded his grandfather.

42. 1834
Delaware Gazette
Thomson family
Daily newspaper/Delaware, Ohio
Oldest family-owned newspaper in U.S. Founded as weekly 1818. Abram Thomson worked at New York Tribune with Horace Greeley, became Gazette’s co-owner 1834, bought out his partner 1836, ran paper until 1897. Son Henry ran it for next 29 years, then Henry’s son W.D. for 42 years (1926-1968) and W.D.’s son Henry II for another 26 (1968-94). Henry II’s son W.D. “Tom” Thomson II, a fifth-generation family member, has been publisher since 1994.

43. 1835
Hussey Corp.
Hussey family
Seat mfg./North Berwick, Maine
Employees: 500
Family arrived in New England from Ireland 1632; moved to Maine in 1770s. Company founded as plow manufacturer by William Hussey (1800-1870). Survived fire 1895; got into seating 1930s. Now makes seats for auditoriums, sports arenas, etc. Four fifth-generation Husseys now in charge: president and CEO Timothy, chairman Philip Jr., executive VP Peter, human resources director Richard.

44. 1835
McLanahan Corp.
McLanahan family
Mining equipment/Hollidaysburg, Pa.
Nation’s oldest family-owned foundry originated as Bellorophon Foundry in Gaysport, Pa. James C. McLanahan purchased part interest 1848, brought 21-year-old son J. King McLanahan home from apprenticeship at Philadelphia’s Baldwin Automotive Works to run foundry, 1849.
     Foundry burned down (first of four major fires) 1850, rebuilt 1852. Founder’s son Samuel joined company at 14, served in Navy during Civil War, later ran company for almost half a century until his death, 1928. Firm took present name 1961; now makes iron and steel castings, fabrication and assembly, mineral processing equipment. Fifth-generation Michael McLanahan is current CEO; his son Sean McLanahan is division manager and secretary.

45. 1836
Bromberg & Co.
Bromberg family
Jewelry/Birmingham, Ala.
Retail jeweler. Current head Frederick Bromberg, Jr. represents sixth generation of founding family.

46. 1836
Thompson Drug Company
Thompson family
Pharmacy/Spring Valley, Ill.
Family drug store now run by fifth-generation pharmacist Terry Thompson and his brother George.

47. 1837
Garretson Farm
Agriculture/West Des Moines, Iowa

48. 1837
Shaff Family Farm
Shaff family
Agriculture/Camanche, Iowa
Family farm now in eighth generation under Shaff family.

49. 1839
Suter’s Handcrafted Furniture
Suter family
Furniture/Harrisonburg, Va.
Daniel Suter, Mennonite carpenter, settled in Harrisonburg and began making furniture. Today William Suter and daughter Carol (sixth generation) produce hand-crafted colonial reproduction furniture.

50. 1839
Southworth Co.
Southworth family
Paper/Agawam, Mass.
Employees: 150
Paper maker whose original paper mill still operates in nearby West Springfield. Current president Daniel Southworth is fifth-generation descendant of founder Wells Southworth (1799-1882). Stephen Douglas jotted notes on firm’s paper for Lincoln-Douglas debates of 1858. Company now owned by a consortium of cousins.

51. 1840
Antoine’s Restaurant
Alciatore/Guste family
Restaurant/New Orleans, La.
Legendary tourist spot opened 1840 as pension by 27-year-old French immigrant Antoine Alciatore, launching New Orleans as gourmet destination. Restaurant moved to current location 1868. Antoine died 1875, succeeded by wife and later son Jules, who apprenticed in France, returned 1887, invented Oysters Rockefeller. His son Roy, born 1902, ran restaurant for 40 years until his death in 1972. Roy’s nephews William Guste Jr. and Roy Guste became fourth generation in charge. William’s son Bernard “Randy” Guste, fifth-generation head of Antoine’s since 1984, says, “The greatest feast has yet to be served.”

52. 1842
Verdin Co.
Verdin family
Bells, chimes, carillons/Cincinnati
Revenues: $20 million
Employees: 150 
World’s largest and oldest company in the bell and clock business, invented continuous winder for tower clocks, also first American electric bell-ringing device (1926). Verdin family arrived in U.S. from Alsace-Lorraine about 1835, settled in Yorkville, Ind. Founding brothers François and Michael Verdin moved from forging trade into repair and manufacture of tower clocks. François succeeded by Alois Verdin. Today run by fifth-generation Verdin cousins Robert Jr. (CEO), James (president), David (vice president). For millennium, company cast “World Peace Bell,” world’s largest bell (66,000 pounds, 12 feet in diameter), soon to be located at Peace Pavilion in Newport, Ky.

53. 1843
Baumann Safe Co.
Baumann/Billings family
Safe mfg./St. Louis
Employees: 12
German immigrant John Baumann opened store offering trunks and supplies for pioneers setting out on newly opened Oregon Trail, later added safes to protect travelers’ valuables. Store now offers video systems and home surveillance products as well. Sisters Christy Wilske, Linda King and Robyn Mikes, founder’s great-great-granddaughters, run store with nine employees.

54. 1843
Fletcher Family Farm
Fletcher family
Farm/Kendall County, Ill.
English-born Thomas Fletcher (1817-1889) purchased first parcel of farm 1843, invested earnings in additional acreage, left 80-acre farm to each of five children, later consolidated by son Thomas T. Fletcher (d. 1938). Now run by six cousins in fifth generation. Some hedgerows planted just after the Civil War still stand.

55. 1847
Flood Co.
Flood family
Painting contractor/Cleveland
Paint contracting company also known for custom wood finishing. Survived Great Depression of 1930s (when painting anything was a low priority) because Earl Flood persuaded idle ore ships docked in Cleveland to use coatings of Flood’s Penetrol oil to prevent them from rusting.

56. 1848
Richardson Industries
Richardson family
Furniture, building materials/Sheboygan, Wis.
Upstate New Yorker Joseph Richardson packed family into wagon 1841, moved to Illinois, then to Wisconsin 1845. With brother-in-law Egbert Burhans, built sawmill there 1848, later called Joseph Richardson Co. His four sons later took charge, renamed it Richardson Brothers 1876. Opened new factory to make chairs, 1882. Founder’s son Egbert Richardson died in logging accident, 1892. Third-generation descendant Egbert Richardson succeeded uncle Weill Richardson as president, 1910. Richardson Industries created 1973, joining furniture, lumber and truss units. Company now in sixth generation; six Richardsons are active in management.

57. 1848
Hancock Land Co.
Hancock Lumber Co.
Hancock family
Land, lumber/Casco, Maine
Small logging operation launched in 1848 by brothers Nathan and Spencer Decker. Nathan and stepson Sumner Hancock built company into major log dealer. Milton Hancock opened stationery mill 1930, brothers Kenneth, Sumner and Owen Hancock opened retail store 1954. Eventually holdings included sawmill, retail stores, 8,000 acres of timber. Sixth-generation brothers Matt and Kevin Hancock run land and lumber companies, respectively.

58. 1849
Teeters Furniture and Funeral Home
Teeter family
Furniture, funeral services/Hawley, Pa.
Cabinetmaker Richard Teeter moved to Hawley 1849, built two-story workshop and store, evolved into caskets and funerals by his death in 1896. Original shop destroyed by fire 1986; rebuilt and run today by fourth and fifth generations of Teeters.

59. 1849
Schneidereith & Sons
Schneidereith family
Employees: 50
Prussian journeyman printer Carl William Schneidereith emigrated to U.S. in 1848 after supporting failed German revolution. Acquired metal hand press 1849 (now on display at the Baltimore Museum of Industry) to crank out business cards, letterheads and bills, pamphlets, songbooks in English, German and Hebrew. Succeeded by three sons, advanced to steam press and linotype machine. Today produces high-quality books for museums and art galleries. Charles Schneidereith and son Scott are fifth and sixth-generation leaders.

60. 1850
G. Krug & Sons
Krug family
Employees: 15
Founding metalworker Gustave Krug worked under Andrew Merker beginning 1810, became owner 1850. Brothers Steve, Paul and Peter Krug, founder’s descendants, now in charge.

61. 1850
A.E. Schmidt
Schmidt family
Pool table manufcturing/St. Louis
Employees: 46
German immigrant Ernst Schmidt (1823-1895) arrived St. Louis 1849 with mother and two brothers. Opened business 1850 as turner in ivory, maker of billiard balls, tenpin balls, pipes. Son Oscar (1861-1950) joined business as child, succeeded father 1895. Incorporated as A.E. Schmidt 1920 (named for Oscar’s wife, Anna Elizabeth). Management now in fifth generation. Company never borrowed, even during Great Depression of 1930s. Said Oscar: “If you can’t pay for it, don’t buy it.”

62. 1850
Wilbert Funeral Home
Wilbert family
Funeral services/Plaquemine, La.
Funeral home still operated by members of founding Wilbert family.

63. 1851
C.H. Guenther & Sons (Pioneer Flour Mills)
Guenther family
Food products/San Antonio, Texas
Employees: 725
America’s oldest family-owned flour mill; also oldest family company in Texas. German immigrant Carl Hilmar Guenther (1826-1902) arrived in U.S. 1848, age 22, opened tiny flour mill 1851 in Fredericksburg, Texas, moved it to San Antonio 1858. Lived next door, raised seven children. Renamed Pioneer Flour Mills, 1891. Hilmar’s youngest son Erhard (1868-1945) became president 1902. Now in seventh generation. More than 700 employees in three plants: San Antonio; Dallas; Knoxville, Tenn. Founder’s house, built 1859 and occupied by descendants until 1940s, restored 1988 as restaurant, museum, gift shop and banquet facility. Still family-owned but run by non-family CEOs since 1982.

64. 1851
Mager & Gougelman Inc.
Gougelman family
Ocularists/New York
Makes artificial eyes, limbs. Andrew, David and Henry Gougelman are descendants of founder.

65. 1851
Houghton family
Materials/Corning, N.Y.
Revenues: $3.2 billion
Employees: 31,700
Amory Houghton started Houghton Glass in Massachusetts in 1851, moved it to Corning, N.Y. in 1868, renamed it Corning Glass Works. In 1880 it supplied glass for Thomas Edison’s first light bulb. Other early developments included red-yellow-green traffic light system and borosilicate glass (which can withstand sudden temperature changes) for Pyrex oven and laboratory ware. Today is world’s top maker of fiber-optic cable, which it invented more than 30 years ago. Five generations of Houghtons have run the firm; founder’s great-great-grandson Jamie Houghton, 66, retired 1996, returned as CEO last fall. Family’s stock ownership is down to about 5%.

66. 1852
Breitbach’s Country Dining
Breitbach family
Restaurant/Balltown, Iowa
Famous restaurant in village north of Dubuque now in sixth generation of family management under Mike Breitbach.

67. 1853
King Ranch
Kleberg family
Diversified/Kingsville, Texas
“Buy land and never sell” was motto of Richard King (1824-1885), New York-born riverboat captain who in 1853 started buying southern Texas land from Spanish families driven away during Mexican War. By 1925, on the death of his widow, Henrietta, King’s descendants had 1.2 million acres (bigger than Rhode Island). Founder’s son-in-law Robert Kleberg Sr. (1853-1932) inherited one-third, formed King Ranch Corp., subsequently augmented to 900,000 acres and still owned and operated by his descendants. Company also owns cattle lands in Brazil, Argentina, Venezuela, etc. Kleberg’s son Bob Jr. (1896-1974) developed Santa Gertrudis breed: first pure-bred cattle in Western hemisphere. Oil discovered there in 1930s, too. Recent generations marked by inheritance squabbles; first non-family CEO appointed 1988.

68. 1853
Levi Strauss & Co.
Haas family
Apparel/San Francisco
Revenues: $4.3 billion
Employees: 16,700
Bavarian immigrant Levi Strauss (1829-1902) set up San Francisco dry goods house 1853; with tailor Jacob Davis, invented blue jeans in 1873. Levi Strauss & Co. is now one of world’s largest jeans makers. Bachelor Strauss left business to four Stern nephews, who ran it until 1928. Team of Stern son-in-law Walter Haas Sr. and his brother-in-law Daniel Koshland ran firm next; their descendants still in control, with most family shares held in a 15-year voting trust. Family LBO’d the company 1996 in $4.3 billion deal orchestrated by Strauss’s great-great-grandnephew Robert Haas, now 59. Ranked 42 in FB list of largest U.S. family companies (Autumn 2002); #106 among global family companies (Winter 2003).

69. 1853
Lonsdale Farm
Farming/Stuart, Iowa

70. 1853
Luyties Pharmacal Co.
Luyties family
Pharmaceuticals/St. Louis
St Louis doctor Herman Luyties opened pharmacy making homeopathic kits and supplies for doctors heading West, formulated tablets for specific ailments for patients far from doctors. Son August built current factory 1910.

71. 1853
Hicks Nurseries
Hicks family
Plants/Westbury, N.Y.
Hicks family farmed on Long Island beginning late 17th century. Isaac Hicks began selling trees to neighbors 1853. Son Edward patented equipment for moving big trees for Long Island’s new estate owners. His son Henry, president until death in 1954, was college-trained botanist. Fourth generation built greenhouses, developed retail operation offering pre-dug plants to suburbanites. Siblings Karen and Stephen Hicks are sixth-generation managers.

72. 1853
Wagner Printing Co.
Wagner family
Revenues: $7 million
Employees: 66
German immigrant Wilhelm Wagner set up German newspaper and print shop in Freeport, Ill.; covered Lincoln-Douglas debates there in 1858. Son William added printing plant 1902 (still in operation). Three divisions now offer commercial printing and graphic design in Chicago and Freeport under three brothers in sixth generation.

73. 1854
Holman’s Funeral Service
Holmes family
Funeral services/Portland, Ore.
Family-operated funeral home, now in fourth generation. Its historic 1901 Hawthorne mansion, designed by Whidden & Lewis, is listed on the National Registry of Historic Places.

74. 1854
Quinn Funeral Home
Quinn family
Funeral services/Warwick, R.I.

75. 1854
Noble & Cooley
Cooley/Jones family
Drum manufacturer/Granville, Mass.
Founder James P. Cooley produced marching snares for Union Army during Civil War and an eight-foot-diameter bass drum for U.S. Grant’s first presidential campaign (1868). Now makes toy drums and snare drums under sixth-generation head Jay Jones. He may be last of line: His two college-age sons say they’re not interested.

76. 1855
Davis Funeral Home
Moulden family
Funeral services/Leavenworth, Kan.
Founder James B. Davis arrived in Leavenworth 1855 among group of 300 free-staters moving to Kansas from Kentucky to support anti-slavery cause there. He and son Thaddeus began making furniture, coffins, burial cases and sewing machines, gravitated into funeral services. Thaddeus’s son James opened formal funeral home 1909, served as Leavenworth’s mayor in 1920s. Succeeded by daughter Margaret Moulden and her husband, C.E. “Pete” Moulden. Their son Davis Moulden now in charge.

77. 1855
N.P. Dodge Co.
Dodge family
Real estate/Omaha, Neb.
Employees: 500, plus 400 agents
Full-service real estate company offers sales, property management, insurance brokerage, relocation operation from more than 15 offices in Omaha area. Headed by four successive generations of men named N.P. Dodge; current president goes by N.P. Dodge Jr.; his son N.P. III also active.

78. 1855
Penner Angus Ranch
Penner family
Ranching/Mill Creek, Okla.
Ranch now in fourth generation under Penner family.

79. 1855
Schoedinger Funeral Home
Schoedinger family
Funeral services/Columbus, Ohio
Employees: 50
German immigrant cabinet-maker Philip Schoedinger opened his first funeral parlor in Columbus, 1855. Descendants today operate 11 funeral chapels in central Ohio, two crematories and a cemetery. Founder’s great-grandsons Robert and John Schoedinger still active; operations run by John’s sons David and Jay. Two sixth-generation members also involved.

80. 1856
Monarch Hydraulics
Jackoboice family
Hydraulic systems/Grand Rapids, Mich.
Revenues: $50 million
Employees: 190
Joseph Jackoboice founded precision sawmill and woodworking machinery business; product line transitioned to road scrapers and plows in 1930s, then hydraulic pumps and valves in 1940s. Fourth-generation brothers John and Tom Jackoboice run company now; two members of fifth generation also active.

81. 1856
R.C. Perine & Son
Perine family
Machine shop/Topeka, Kan.
Employees: 2
Aaron B. Perine opened blacksmith shop, passed it to his two sons; R.C. Perine bought out brother after quarrel. Today it’s a small welding machine shop; Mike Perine is fifth-generation proprietor.

82. 1856
Laufersweiler Funeral Home
Laufersweiler family
Funeral services/Fort Dodge, Iowa
Oldest funeral home in Iowa, now run by fifth-generation descendant Luke Laufersweiler.

83. 1857
Iwan Ries & Co.
Levi family
Retail tobacco/Chicago
Employees: 12
Oldest continuously family-owned business in Chicago; also second-oldest cigar company in U.S. Also sells pipes, tobacco, lighters. Run by same family since inception, now in fifth generation.

84. 1857
Klein Tools
Klein family
Tool manufacturer/Chicago
Employees: 1,000
German immigrant Mathias Klein opened forge in Chicago, making pliers for telegraph linemen; today firm makes hand tools and accessories sold worldwide to construction, electronics, electrical and telecommunications firms, with plants in Arkansas, Iowa, Kansas and Michigan; also Mexican subsidiary. Fifth and sixth generations of Kleins now own and run company.

85. 1858
Gundlach-Bundschu Winery
Bundschu family
Wines/Sonoma, Calif.
Employees: 45
German immigrant Jacob Gundlach produced first wine grape harvest 1858 in Sonoma Valley. His daughter Francesca married Charles Bundschu, who joined business 1864. By mid-1870s operation produced 155,000 cases a year. Suffered heavy losses in 1906 San Francisco earthquake. Survived Prohibition (1919-33) by producing grapes under Charles’ son Walter Bundschu, also legal sacramental wines Inglenook and Almaden under Walter’s brother Carl. After Prohibition Walter’s son Towle and wife Mary diversified into pears and cattle. Then back to the future: Towle’s son Jim Bundschu persuaded father to replant entire ranch with wine grapes, 1967; winery reopened 1973. With more than 300 acres, “Gundy Bundy” still a leading California wine maker under Jim’s son Jeff, 35. Bundschu family still owns 100%.

86. 1860
Baird & Warner
Baird family
Real estate broker/Chicago
Nation’s oldest real estate broker and one of largest independents, with 30 offices in Chicago area. New Hampshire native Lyman Baird (1829-1908) moved to Chicago 1857, joined two-year-old firm of L.D. Olmsted & Co. Made partner 1860; changed firm name to Baird & Bradley 1864; Bairds have owned and run ever since. (Current name dates from 1893.) Played major role in helping homeowners get mortgages after Chicago fire, 1871; residential conversions in Chicago Loop, 1990s. Lyman’s grandson Warner Baird died 1984, age 98; his son John W. Baird, 87, now chairman; his son Stephen W. Baird is CEO.

87. 1860
W.A. Bean & Son
Bean family
Meat packers/Bangor, Maine
Employees: 15
Albert Bean started wholesale fresh meat concern 1860; since 1918 firm also makes processed meats (hot dogs, etc.). Four fifth-generation Bean family members now in charge.

88. 1860
Anheuser-Busch Cos.*
Busch family
Beer/St. Louis
Revenues: $12.91 billion
Employees: 23,432
Eberhard Anheuser took over struggling St. Louis brewery 1860. His daughter Lily married Bavarian immigrant Adolphus Busch (1861), who joined brewery 1864 and made it successful. Busch’s grandson August Jr. (d. 1989), president 1946-75, began Budweiser’s “King of Beers” ad campaign, making it nation’s biggest brewer (currently about 45% of U.S. beer market). August III, now 65, unseated his father 1975. Son August IV, 38, is now VP/marketing but not sure bet as successor. Family still controls 6% of stock. Company ranked 14th on FB list of largest U.S. family companies (Autumn 2002); 36th on global list (Winter 2003).

89. 1860
John Boyle & Co.
Bell family
Textiles/Statesville, N.C.
English sail maker John Boyle arrived New York 1853, opened shop there 1860. Supplied tents, mailbags, etc. for Union troops in Civil War, added striped awning fabrics at turn of 20th century, died 1905. Now company makes pool covers, signs, floor and spa covers, etc. Moved to Statesville 1982. John Boyle Bell Jr., CEO since 1968, is founder’s great-grandson.

90. 1860
J.H. Horne & Sons Inc.
Cleveland family
Machinery/Lawrence, Mass.
Revenues: $3 million to $5 million
Employees: 35-50
Founder John Henry Horne opened foundry and machine shop to build dam networks and sluice gates that powered Lawrence-Lowell wool and shoe mills. Evolved into making paper mill machinery late 19th century; one of only three U.S. companies still doing it. Founder’s granddaughter Martha Horne married Walter Cleveland. Current president Byron Cleveland Jr. represents sixth generation; son and VP Byron III, heir apparent, represents seventh.

91. 1861
Haworth Farm
Farming/Franklin, Idaho

92. 1862
Bacardi family
Rum/Puerto Rico
Revenues: $2.8 billion
Employees: 7,000
Famous rum maker founded as Cuban family company; still largely family-owned but exiled from Cuba. Founder Don Facundo Bacardi Massó (1814-1887) emigrated to Santiago de Cuba from Spanish Catalonia, experimented with distilling rum. Eldest son, Emilio, imprisoned for resisting Spanish occupation of Cuba; after independence (1898), appointed mayor of Santiago, expanded company to Spain, died 1922. Brother Facundo (1848-1926) inherited father’s secret rum formula, memorized it, passed down to next generation. His daughter married Frenchman Henri Schueg (d. 1950), who succeeded Emilio as company’s third president, built Bacardi building in Havana, diversified into beer.
     Company lost assets (worth $76 million) with Castro’s takeover of Cuba, 1960. Pepin Bosch, Bacardi’s fourth president, shifted Bacardi trademarks to Bahamas, reconstituted company around distilleries in Mexico, Puerto Rico and Brazil. Now a company without a headquarters; U.S. headquarters in Miami. Family now in sixth generation.

93. 1862
Daynes Music
Daynes family
Retail pianos/Midvale, Utah
Founder John Daynes lugged 600-pound organ in handcart from Illinois, opened Utah’s first music store. Now it’s a retailer of pianos (Steinway, Weber, digital) and sheet music. Oldest music store in West, second oldest in U.S. (after Steinert’s of Boston). President Skip Daynes is fourth generation; fifth generation also involved.

94. 1864
R.R. Donnelley & Sons*
Donnelley family
Publishing, advertising/Chicago
Revenues: $5.3 billion
Employees: 33,000
Founder Richard R. Donnelley (1838-1899), Canadian saddlemaker’s apprentice, opened Chicago print shop 1864. Sons Reuben (1864-1929) and Thomas (1867-1955) established publishing house. Eventually printed Bibles, Sears Roebuck catalog, Yellow Pages, major magazines, etc. Founder’s grandson James Donnelley, 66, last family member in senior management, has retired but remains on board; two younger relatives have minor jobs. Family still owns about 15% of stock. Ranked 34th on FB list of largest U.S. family companies (Autumn 2002), 90th globally (Winter 2003).

95. 1865
Cargill Inc.
Cargill/MacMillan family
Commodities trader/Minneapolis
Revenues: $49.4 billion
Employees: 97,000
World’s largest privately held company buys and sells grain, poultry, beef, steel, seeds, salt and other commodities on six continents. Founder William Cargill and brothers provided grain elevators to store wheat after Civil War. His Cargill and MacMillan descendants, now in fourth and fifth generations, have run firm ever since (with occasional non-family CEOs) from a 63-room French-style country mansion. Created one of first management training programs, 1930s. Massive but secretive operation now embraces more than 800 locations in 59 countries. Whitney MacMillan retired 1995 after 18 years as CEO. Family members own about two-thirds, key employees the rest. Ranked third on FB list of largest U.S. family companies (Autumn 2002), eighth globally (Winter 2003).

96. 1865
Milliken & Co.
Milliken family
Textiles/Spartanburg, S.C.
Revenues: $3.9 billion
Employees: 16,000
Deering Milliken, small woolen fabrics firm in Portland, Maine, started by William Deerfield and Seth Milliken, who later bought out his partner. Company moved to New York 1868, to South Carolina 1884. Company has about 200 shareholders (most from the Milliken family), but brothers Roger and Gerrish Milliken control. Ranked 47th on FB list of largest U.S. family companies (Autumn 2002), 114th globally (Winter 2003).

97. 1865
Wood family
Convenience stores/Wawa, Pa.
Revenues: $2 billion
Employees: 13,000
George Wood (d. 1926) launched textile maker Millville Manufacturing Co., later added small dairy in town of Wawa, 1902. Grandson Grahame Wood closed mill in 1960s, opened first convenience store 1964. Under current CEO, founder’s great-grandson Richard Wood, 65, the company now has 500 stores in five states. Ranked 113th on FB list of largest U.S. family companies (Autumn 2000), 187th globally (Winter 2003).

98. 1865
Russ Casson & Son Meats
Casson family
Wholesale meats/Des Moines, Iowa
Employees: 6
Will Casson started as hog and cattle butcher, evolved into sausage maker. Founder’s grandson Russ Casson got into wholesaling. Company now provides meat, pork and chicken to restaurants, under fifth-generation proprietor Julie Casson.

99. 1865
Destilería Serrallés
Serrallés family
Rum/Mercedita, Puerto Rico
Revenues: $100 million+
Maker of well-known Don Q rum first produced by Don Juan Serrallés, son of a Spaniard who had settled on sugar plantation near Ponce, P.R. Grew into industrial/marketing enterprise with more than 80 products. Company run today by founder’s great-grandson, Félix Juan Serrallés Jr.

100. 1865
Langlois Pianos
Langlois family
Pianos/Silverdale, Wash.
Pascal L’Anglais left family farm in Wisconsin in 1865, attended piano tuning school in Chicago and became master tuner there; also tuned at New York’s Carnegie Hall. Son Pascal Jr. took over 1898; he and brother built 300 pianos bearing L’Anglais nameplate. His six sons all went into the business; one of them, Ira, changed family name to Langlois 1962, moved company to Washington state 1965. Current head Ira III, of fifth generation, opened new store 1989. Daughter Felicia Langlois-Maui is heir apparent.

101. 1865
J. Henry Stuhr Inc.
Stuhr family
Funeral services/Mount Pleasant, S.C.
Henry D. Stuhr, newly arrived in Charleston from Germany, co-founded cabinetmaking and undertaking partnership of Stuhr and Bruning, bought out partner 1894, died 1899. Succeeded by sons J. Henry and Albert; took current name 1923 after J. Henry’s death. Fourth generation now operates five funeral homes in Charleston vicinity.

102. 1865
Newman Galleries
Newman family
Employees: 15
George Newman opened photography studio in Philadelphia 1865, joined shortly by brother Adolf. Evolved into art gallery. Today specializes in antique works, also some contemporary artists; operates frame shop and restoration studio. Proprietor Walter Newman and sons Andrew and Terry represent fourth and fifth generations.

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