Du Pont family

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Du Pont
Ethnicity French descent
Current region Delaware and Pennsylvania, United States
Place of origin France
Notable members Éleuthère Irénée Du Pont De Nemours, Samuel Francis Du Pont, John Éleuthère du Pont
Connected families Astor family, Rockefeller family, Roosevelt family, Vanderbilt family
Name origin and meaning "Of the bridge"

The Du Pont family is an American family descended from Pierre Samuel du Pont de Nemours (1739–1817). Since the 1800s the Du Pont family has been one of the richest families in America.[1]

In recent years, the family name has mostly been tied to well publicized criminal cases, such as heir John Eleuthère du Pont being convicted of murdering a wrestling coach in 1996 [2] and heir Robert Richards being convicted of raping his 3-year old daughter in 2014.[3]

The family fortune as of 2014 was $15 billion with over 3,500 living cousins, most of whom do not know one another.[4]

The family is depicted in the 2014 biographical film Foxcatcher with Steve Carell playing John Eleuthère du Pont, Vanessa Redgrave playing Jean du Pont, the wife of William du Pont, Jr. and Mark Ruffalo playing the murdered Dave Schultz.


Pierre Samuel du Pont de Nemours was the son of a Parisian watchmaker and a member of a Burgundian Huguenot family, and descendant of a minor noble family on his mother's side, he and his sons, Victor Marie du Pont and Éleuthère Irénée du Pont, emigrated to the United States in 1800 and used the resources of their Huguenot heritage to found one of the most prominent of American families, and one of its most successful corporations, E. I. du Pont de Nemours and Company, initially established by Éleuthère Irénée as a gunpowder manufacturer.

In 1802, Éleuthère Irénée du Pont established a gunpowder mill on the banks of the Brandywine Creek near Wilmington, Delaware. The location provided all the necessities to operate the mill: a water flow sufficient to power it, available timber (mainly willow trees) that could be turned into charcoal fine enough to use for gunpowder, close proximity to the Delaware River to allow for shipments of sulfur and saltpeter, the other ingredients used in the manufacture of gunpowder. There were also nearby stone quarries to provide needed building materials.[5]

Over time the Du Pont company grew into the largest black powder manufacturing firm in the world. Various members of the family managed the company well into the 20th century and family trusts still own a substantial amount of the company's stock. This and other companies run by the Du Pont family employ some 5 to 10 percent of Delaware's population.

The family played a large part in politics during the 18th and 19th centuries and assisted in negotiations for the Louisiana purchase. During the 19th century, the Du Pont family maintained their family wealth by carefully arranged marriages between cousins[6] which, at the time, was the norm for many families.

Beginning with William du Pont, Jr. and his sister, Marion duPont Scott, many members of the Du Pont family have been involved in the breeding and racing of thoroughbred racehorses, as well as establishing racehorse venues and training tracks.[7]

Spelling of the name[edit]

The usual spelling of the family name is du Pont when quoting an individual's full name and Du Pont when speaking of the family as a whole; some individual Du Ponts have chosen to spell it differently, perhaps most notably Samuel Francis Du Pont. However, the name of the chemical company founded by the family is commonly referred to as DuPont, or, in the long form, E. I. du Pont de Nemours and Company.

Below is an alphabetical listing of selected notable members of the family. It is followed by a listing of their families in order of descent. The listing is intended only to illustrate the relationships among the notable members of the family and is not a complete genealogy. The only family groupings and lines of descent shown are those necessary to illustrate relationships for notable members of the family. By 1942 there were believed to be 705 direct descendants of Pierre Samuel du Pont de Nemours and there are now well more than 2,000 living members of the family.

Alphabetical list of selected descendants of Pierre Samuel du Pont de Nemours[edit]

Partial list ordered by descent from Pierre Samuel du Pont de Nemours[edit]

The following list is not a complete genealogy, but is ordered by descent to show the familial relationships between members of the du Pont family throughout history.

See also[edit]



  • Gates, John D. (1979). The du Pont Family. New York: Doubleday & Company. ISBN 0-385-13043-0. 
  • Duke, Marc. (1976). The du Ponts, Portrait of a Dynasty. New York: Saturday Review Press, E.P. Dutton & Co. ISBN 0-8415-0429-6. 
  • Dutton, William S. (1942). Du Pont, One Hundred and Forty Years. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons. 
  • du Pont, Pierre S. (1942). Genealogy of the Du Pont Family 1739-1942. Wilmington: Hambleton Printing & Publishing. 

External links[edit]