John Thomas Lupton

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John Thomas Lupton
Born 1862
Winchester, Virginia
Died 1933
Chattanooga, Tennessee
Occupation Lawyer, industrialist and philanthropist

John Thomas Lupton (1862–1933) was an American lawyer, industrialist and philanthropist who along with Benjamin Thomas and Joseph Whitehead, obtained exclusive rights from Asa Candler to bottle and sell Coca-Cola.[1]

Early life[edit]

Lupton was born near Winchester, Virginia and received a degree in law from the University of Virginia. After a visit to the home of a fellow student, he settled in Chattanooga, Tennessee in 1887.[2]

Lupton soon met Elizabeth Patten, daughter of Chattanooga Medicine Company founder Zeboim Cartter Patten, and they married on November 14, 1889. They had a son named Cartter Lupton, to whom they left the bulk of their combined wealth.[3]


After his marriage, Lupton took a job as legal counsel to the Chattanooga Medicine Company (now Chattem), eventually becoming company vice president and treasurer.[2]

Lupton, Whitehead and Thomas were the primary investors in the Dixie Coca-Cola Bottling Company, the first Coca-Cola bottling plant in the United States. Following the business' rapid success, the partners divided the country into territories and gave various family members responsibility over them and began selling bottling franchises. By 1909, nearly 400 bottling operations had been opened.[4] Lupton's grandson, John T. Lupton II, sold the family's bottling operations back to Coca Cola in 1986 for $1.4 billion in cash.[5]


Lupton was a significant contributor to a number of southern schools, colleges and universities; Baylor School in Chattanooga, Oglethorpe University and the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga all have named buildings on their campuses in his honor.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Dean Arnold (2006). "The Spirit of the Fathers" (PDF). Old Money, New South. Chattanooga Historical Foundation. 
  2. ^ a b Ned L. Irwin (1998). "John Thomas Lupton". The Tennessee Encyclopedia of History and Culture. 
  3. ^ John Wilson (1986). "Elizabeth Patten And John Thomas Lupton". The Patten Chronicle. Chattanooga News Free Press. 
  4. ^ John Wilson (1986). "Elizabeth Patten and John Thomas Lupton". The Patten Chronicle. Chattanooga News Free Press. 
  5. ^ Peter S. Goodman (May 19, 2010). "John T. Lupton, Creator of a Coca-Cola Bottling Empire, Dies at 83". The New York Times.