Du Pont family

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Du Pont
Current region Delaware and Pennsylvania, United States
Place of origin France

Éleuthère Irénée Du Pont De Nemours, Samuel Francis Du Pont, John Eleuthère du Pont

Pierre S. du Pont IV
Connected families Astor family, Rockefeller family, Roosevelt family, Vanderbilt family
Name origin and meaning de Nemours, "Of the bridge"

The Du Pont family is an American family descended from Pierre Samuel du Pont de Nemours (1739–1817). Since the 19th century the Du Pont family has been one of the richest families in America.[1]

Many former Du Pont family estates have been opened to the public as museums, gardens, or parks, such as Nemours Mansion and Gardens, Longwood Gardens, and Winterthur Museum, Garden and Library. The family's first American estate, located at Hagley Museum and Library, has been designated a National Historic Landmark. In recent years, the family has continued to be known for its association with political and business ventures, as well as philanthropic efforts on behalf of various organizations such as The Jockey Club,[2] the Philadelphia Orchestra,[3] the Delaware Art Museum, and the Grand Opera House.[4] Other members of the family have been tied to well publicized criminal cases, such as heir John Eleuthère du Pont being convicted of murdering wrestling coach Dave Schultz in 1996 [5] and heir Robert H. Richards IV being convicted of raping his 3-year old daughter in 2014.[6]

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

The family fortune as of 2014 was $15 billion with over 3,500 living cousins around the world, most of whom do not know one another.[7]


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 from France in 1800 to the United States 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 River 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.[8]

Over time the Du Pont company grew into the largest black powder manufacturing firm in the world. The family remained in control of the company up through the 1960s[9] and family trusts still own a substantial amount of the company's stock. This and other companies run by the Du Pont family employed up to 10 percent of Delaware's population at its peak.[10] During the 19th century, the Du Pont family maintained their family wealth by carefully arranged marriages between cousins[11] which, at the time, was the norm for many families.

The family played a large part in politics during the 18th and 19th centuries and assisted in negotiations for the Treaty of Paris and the Louisiana purchase. Both T. Coleman and Henry A. du Pont served as U.S. senators, and Pierre S. du Pont, IV served as Governor of Delaware.

The family has also played an important role in historic preservation and land conservation, including helping to found the National Trust for Historic Preservation, preserving President James Madison's home Montpelier, and establishing numerous museums such as Winterthur and the Delaware Museum of Natural History. The Brandywine Conservancy founded by family member George Alexis Weymouth owns around 2,350 acres of land in Pennsylvania and Delaware, and owns permanent conservation easements on an additional 37,000 acres.[12][13] In 2013, Lammot du Pont Copeland's Mt. Cuba Center contributed over $20 million to purchase land for donation to the federal government to form the First State National Historical Park.[14]

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.[15]

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]


  1. ^ http://www.forbes.com/profile/du-pont/
  2. ^ "Lunger Estate Makes Major Contribution to Equine Research". The Jockey Club. Retrieved 18 April 2015. 
  3. ^ Duvoisin, Marc (28 January 1996). "Family's Reach Influenced Business, Politics And Arts The Du Pont Family Can Take Some Credit For The Creation Of Longwood Gardens, The Atomic Bomb And Nylon Hosiery.". The Philadelphia Inquirer. Retrieved 18 April 2015. 
  4. ^ Nagengast, Larry. "The Past, Present and Future of DuPont". Delaware Today. Retrieved 18 April 2015. 
  5. ^ http://www.nytimes.com/2010/12/10/sports/olympics/10dupont.html?src=twrhp&_r=0
  6. ^ http://www.cnn.com/2014/04/02/justice/delaware-du-pont-rape-case/
  7. ^ http://www.forbes.com/profile/du-pont/
  8. ^ Happy Trails
  9. ^ "DuPont Co.'s 19 leaders since 1802". Wilmington News Journal. Retrieved 27 October 2015. 
  10. ^ Gross, Scott. "Delaware's dilemma: A fading DuPont". Wilmington News Journal. Retrieved 27 October 2015. 
  11. ^ Go Ahead, Kiss Your Cousin by Richard Conniff, From the August 2003 issue, published online August 1, 2003
  12. ^ Bauers, Sandy (25 July 2002). "Conservancy gains easement Winterthur's pastoral beauty is now protected". The Philadelphia Inquirer. Retrieved 27 October 2015. 
  13. ^ Montgomery, Jeff. "The Brandywine Conservancy: Preserving Nature, Art, and History" (PDF). Wilmington News Journal. Retrieved 27 October 2015. 
  14. ^ "Delaware's First State National Monument". Retrieved 6 November 2014. 
  15. ^ Marion duPont Scott Equine Medical Center


  • 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]