Richest American Families with immigrant roots

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Du Pont family

1. Du Pont family

The Du Ponts trace their fortune to Eleuthère Irénée “E.I.” du Pont (1771-1834; pictured). A prisoner during the French Revolution, he fled to the U.S. in 1799. The gunpowder manufacturing company he founded in Delaware evolved into chemical giant DuPont. Some 3,500 descendants now share a $15 billion fortune. (Photo: Bettmann/Corbis/AP Images)Busch family

2. Busch family

German-born Adolphus Busch (1842-1913; pictured) started brewing Budweiser in 1876. His son August supposedly sent a beer crate to the White House when Franklin D. Roosevelt repealed Prohibition. The family’s $13-billion fortune comes mostly from selling off Anheuser-Busch stock and proceeds from the company’s merger with Belgian-Brazilian brewer InBev in 2008.Mellon family

3. Mellon family

Irish farmer Thomas Mellon (pictured) immigrated to Pennsylvania in 1818. He studied law and became a judge, later investing in real estate and starting a bank that grew into BNY Mellon, with $1.6 trillion in assets. His descendants grew the fortune to an estimated $12 billion through investments and diverse business ventures. (Photo: Bettmann/CORBIS)Meijer family

4. Meijer family

Frederik Meijer (1919-2011; pictured) is the son of Henrik Meijer, who founded the family’s supermarket chain in 1934 after emigrating from the Netherlands. Frederik’s sons, Hank and Doug, are now co-chairmen of the Meijer grocery chain, and the family is worth around $8.9 billion. (Photo: AP/Dale Atkins)Rudin family

5. Rudin family

Real estate investor and developer Lewis Rudin (1927-2001; pictured) was the grandson of Louis Rudinsky, an immigrant from Eastern Europe who bought the family’s first Manhattan property in 1902. Five generations later, the land is still part of the Rudin family’s portfolio of 34 office and apartment buildings. Rudinsky’s investment earned his descendents a fortune estimated at $4.4 billion. Lewis Rudin’s brother, Jack, now chairs Rudin Management Co., and his son Bill is CEO. (Photo: Newscom)

Chao family

6. Chao family

Ting Tsung “T.T.” Chao (1921-2008) fled China for Taiwan in 1946, then moved to the U.S. in the 1980s. There he founded plastics manufacturer Westlake Chemical Corp. The family still runs the publicly traded company and own more than a third of its shares. Their fortune is worth an estimated $4.3 billion.Coors family

7. Coors family

In 1873, 26-year-old Adolph Coors (1847-1929; pictured) founded a brewery in Colorado after stowing away on a ship from Prussia. Born in Germany, he’d trained in brewing since he was 14 and found a partner to invest $18,000 in the venture. An estimated 70 members of the Coors family now share $2.9 billion in beer wealth. (Photo: AP/Coors Brewing Co., HO)Epprecht family

8. Epprecht family

After immigrating to Ohio from Switzerland, Hans Epprecht began delivering blocks of cheese to neighborhood stores in 1958 thanks to a $5,000 loan on his life-insurance policy. Now, Great Lakes Cheese is sold nationwide and the Epprecht family has a fortune worth an estimated $2.1 billion. Hans’ daughter took over as chairman in 2011, and his sons, John and Kurt, are also executives.

Haseotes family

9. Haseotes family

Greek immigrants Vasillios and Aphrodite Haseotes founded Cumberland Farms in 1939. Today, the family-run company runs 600 convenience stores and 2,000 gas stations in the Northeast and Florida. Their daughter Lily Bentas now chairs the board, and grandson Ari Haseotes is president and CEO. The family is worth an estimated $2.1 billion.Elghanayan family

10. Elghanayan family

Henry Elghanayan (pictured) and his brothers run two real-estate firms with more than 20 million square feet of residential and commercial holdings in New York and Washington, D.C. Their fortune is worth an estimated $1.9 billion. It all started with their father, Nourollah Elghanayan, who bought land in Manhattan in the 1950s and 1960s after relocating his family from Iran. (Photo: Jin Lee/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

Schottenstein family

11. Schottenstein family

Ephraim Schottenstein opened the family’s first retail store in Columbus, Ohio, 1917 after emigrating from Lithuania. Eventually, it grew into a family-owned retail empire that includes American Eagle Outfitters, DSW and various private holdings. Their Schottensteins are now worth an estimated $1.7 billion. The founder’s grandchildren recently settled a sibling squabble over management of their trusts. (Photo: Bryan Smith/ZUMA Press/Newscom)Weyerhaeuser family

12. Weyerhaeuser family

After emigrating from Germany, Frederick Weyerhaeuser (1834-1914; pictured) became one of the richest Americans to have ever lived. At its peak, the timber baron’s fortune was worth $85 billion in today’s dollars. Now, about 250 descendants share a fortune worth an estimated $1.7 billion.Haas family

13. Haas family

The Haas family traces its roots to Levi Strauss, who invented the first pair of blue jeans in 1873 after emigrating to the U.S. from Bavaria. Nearly a century and a half later, San Francisco-based Levi Strauss & Co. is still owned mainly by his descendants. They share a fortune worth around $1.6 billion. (Photo: AP)Pulitzer family

14. Pulitzer family

Joseph Pulitzer (1847-1911) became a media magnate after moving to St. Louis from Hungary. He pioneered journalism that crusaded against corruption and used sensationalistic techniques. He endowed the Pulitzer Prizes for journalism and Columbia University’s journalism school. His heirs share a fortune worth around $1.5 billion.Unanue family

15. Unanue family

Prudencio Unanue Oritz, who was born in Spain, bought the rights to “Goya” for $1 from a Moroccan sardine-importer in 1936. The family-run food company now has $1.5 billion in sales, and the family fortune is estimated at $1.1 billion. Prudencio’s grandson, Bob Unanue (pictured at center), is CEO.

 

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