William Larimer Mellon Sr.

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William Larimer Mellon Sr.
Wm. L. Mellon of Pittsburgh before the Borah Committee, 10-28-24 LCCN2016849634.jpg
Mellon before a congressional committee in 1924
Chairman of the Republican State Committee of Pennsylvania
In office
June 15, 1926[1] – May 12, 1928[2]
Preceded by Harry Baker
Succeeded by Edward Martin
Personal details
Born (1868-06-01)June 1, 1868
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Died October 9, 1949(1949-10-09) (aged 81)
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Political party Republican
Spouse(s) Mary Hill Taylor
Children Rachel Mellon Walton
Margaret Mellon Hitchcock
William Larimer Mellon, Jr.
Matthew Mellon
Profession Businessman

William Larimer Mellon Sr. (1 June 1868 – October 9, 1949),[3] sometimes referred to as W. L., was a founder of Gulf Oil.


Born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania on June 1, 1868, to James Ross Mellon, eldest son of Judge Thomas Mellon, and Rachel Larimer Mellon, daughter of railroad and land baron William Larimer Jr. He spent part of his childhood in the West with his uncle Andrew Mellon, who deeply influenced him. In the 1880s he developed an interest in the burgeoning petroleum industry in Pennsylvania, but his nascent oil company was bought out by John D. Rockefeller's Standard Oil in 1895.

When oil was discovered in Spindletop, Texas, in 1901, the Mellon family invested in the well. When the well began to decline in 1902, W.L. was dispatched to investigate, and took on a progressively larger role in management. In January 1907 he established the Gulf Oil Corporation, which proceeded to build a pipeline from Oklahoma to Port Arthur, Texas and was shipping Oklahoma crude oil to port by September. It expanded steadily thereafter, becoming one of the largest oil companies in the United States.

He later became active in Republican Party politics, and served as chairman of the Pennsylvania Republican Party from 1926 to 1928.

In 1949 Mellon established the graduate school of industrial administration at the Carnegie Institute of Technology in Pittsburgh, which is today the David A. Tepper School of Business at Carnegie Mellon University. He died in October of that year at the age of 81 and was interred in Homewood Cemetery.

Personal life[edit]

Mellon married Mary Hill Taylor, they had four children: Rachel Mellon Walton, Margaret Mellon Hitchcock, William Larimer Mellon Jr., and Matthew Mellon I.


  1. ^ "$596,405 for Vare Brings the Primary Total to $1,837,700". The New York Times. June 15, 1926. Retrieved January 9, 2012. 
  2. ^ Armstrong, Robert B. (May 12, 1928). "Mellon to Get Keystone Vote". The Los Angeles Times. Retrieved January 9, 2012. 
  3. ^ "W.L. Mellon, Last Of Family's Generation, Dies In Pittsburgh". The Sun. October 9, 1949. Retrieved January 9, 2012.