Zildjian Cymbal Co.
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.
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.”
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.
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
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.
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
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.
Nourse Family Farm
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.).
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.
John Whitley Farm
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.
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.
Bachman Funeral Home
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.
Stuart Land Co. of Virginia
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.
St. John Milling Co.
St. John/Dawson family
Milling, farm products/Watauga, Tenn.
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.”
Laird & Co.
Brandy distiller/Scobeyville, N.J.
Revenues: $40 million
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.
Juanita M. Joiner Farm/Southern Woodland Co.
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
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.
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.
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.
George Ruhl & Sons
Baking supplies/Hanover, Md.
Revenues: $25 million
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.
Alan McIlvain Co.
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
Crane & Co.
Paper manufacturing/>Dalton, Mass.
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.
Sawyer Bentwood Co.
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.
Rogers Funeral Home
Funeral services/Frankfort, Ky.
Funeral home now in sixth generation under Rogers family.
Inn/Sugar Hill, N.H.
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
Bear Funeral Home
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.
Grain, feed, food processing/New York
Revenues: $3.3 billion
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).
Loane Bros. Inc.
Revenues: $3 million
British immigrant Joseph Loane arrived 1815, opened shop making canvas
sails. Sixth generation of Loanes now make and rent awnings and party
Taylor Chair Co.
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
Eaton Funeral Homes
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.
Farm now in sixth generation under Ratcliffe family.
• 31. 1822
Stuard Funeral Home
Funeral services/Ardmore, Pa.
Funeral home founded by Henry Stuard; now run by Wally Stuard III of
family’s sixth generation.
Ashaway Line and Twine Mfg. Co.
Line, twine manufacturing/Ashaway, R.I.
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.
M.A. Patout & Son
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.
Henry W.T. Mali & Company
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.
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.
Cornell Iron Works
Firm started as maker of iron rails, grates, stairs, vaults, etc. Now
major manufacturer of industrial doors. CEO Andrew Cornell is descendant
D.G. Yuengling & Son
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.
E.A. Clore Sons
Maker of handcrafted hardwood furniture and tables founded by Moses Clore.
Harland Family Farm
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.
Bevin Brothers Manufacturing Co.
Bells/East Hampton, Conn.
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.
C.F. Martin & Co.
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.
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.
Seat mfg./North Berwick, Maine
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.
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.
Bromberg & Co.
Retail jeweler. Current head Frederick Bromberg, Jr. represents sixth
generation of founding family.
Thompson Drug Company
Pharmacy/Spring Valley, Ill.
Family drug store now run by fifth-generation pharmacist Terry Thompson
and his brother George.
Agriculture/West Des Moines, Iowa
Shaff Family Farm
Family farm now in eighth generation under Shaff family.
Suter’s Handcrafted Furniture
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.
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.
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.”
Bells, chimes, carillons/Cincinnati
Revenues: $20 million
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.
Baumann Safe Co.
Safe mfg./St. Louis
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
Fletcher Family Farm
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.
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.
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.
Hancock Land Co.
Hancock Lumber Co.
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,
Teeters Furniture and Funeral Home
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.
Schneidereith & Sons
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
G. Krug & Sons
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.
Pool table manufcturing/St. Louis
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.”
Wilbert Funeral Home
Funeral services/Plaquemine, La.
Funeral home still operated by members of founding Wilbert family.
C.H. Guenther & Sons (Pioneer Flour Mills)
Food products/San Antonio, Texas
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.
Mager & Gougelman Inc.
Makes artificial eyes, limbs. Andrew, David and Henry Gougelman are
descendants of founder.
Revenues: $3.2 billion
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%.
Breitbach’s Country Dining
Famous restaurant in village north of Dubuque now in sixth generation of
family management under Mike Breitbach.
“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.
Levi Strauss & Co.
Revenues: $4.3 billion
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).
Luyties Pharmacal Co.
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
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
Wagner Printing Co.
Revenues: $7 million
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.
Holman’s Funeral Service
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.
Quinn Funeral Home
Funeral services/Warwick, R.I.
Noble & Cooley
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.
Davis Funeral Home
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.
N.P. Dodge Co.
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.
Penner Angus Ranch
Ranching/Mill Creek, Okla.
Ranch now in fourth generation under Penner family.
Schoedinger Funeral Home
Funeral services/Columbus, Ohio
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.
Hydraulic systems/Grand Rapids, Mich.
Revenues: $50 million
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
R.C. Perine & Son
Machine shop/Topeka, Kan.
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.
Laufersweiler Funeral Home
Funeral services/Fort Dodge, Iowa
Oldest funeral home in Iowa, now run by fifth-generation descendant Luke
Iwan Ries & Co.
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.
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.
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%.
Baird & Warner
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.
W.A. Bean & Son
Meat packers/Bangor, Maine
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.
Revenues: $12.91 billion
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).
John Boyle & Co.
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.
J.H. Horne & Sons Inc.
Revenues: $3 million to $5 million
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,
Revenues: $2.8 billion
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
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.
R.R. Donnelley & Sons*
Revenues: $5.3 billion
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
Revenues: $49.4 billion
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).
Milliken & Co.
Revenues: $3.9 billion
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).
Convenience stores/Wawa, Pa.
Revenues: $2 billion
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).
Russ Casson & Son Meats
Wholesale meats/Des Moines, Iowa
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.
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.
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
J. Henry Stuhr Inc.
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.
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.