Inbred to the DuPont family after cousins were encouraged to marry for “honesty of soul and purity of blood”.
THE DuPonts are one of America’s wealthiest families, with net worth estimated in the billions.
But it seems there’s a chilling backstory behind the iconic Delaware name, often associated with chemicals and science.
Patriarch Pierre-Samuel DuPont emigrated from France to the United States in the early 19th century.
He was an economist and served under Louis XVI before the French Revolution.
According to Discover Magazine, however, he believed in crossbreeds.
Pierre-Samuel apparently told his family, “The marriages I would prefer for our colony would be between cousins and cousins.”
He believed this would guarantee “honesty of soul” and “purity of blood”.
The aristocrat thought marriages between cousins would help preserve the family’s wealth.
At family reunions, women had the same voting rights as men.
Pierre Samuel’s son Éleuthère was the mastermind behind the gunpowder business EI du Pont de Nemours and Company, founded in 1802.
The first factory was built on the banks of the Brandywine River.
The founding of the company sent the family fortune skyrocketing to billions of dollars, the New York Times reported.
Éleuthère hired workers to build powder mills and business boomed, especially during the War of 1812.
Alfred I DuPont – Pierre Samuel’s great-great-grandson – had two younger sisters and two younger brothers.
His mother died when he was 13 and he was orphaned when his father Eleuthere II died of tuberculosis.
Tuberculosis was in the 19thth Century and was caused when bacteria spread through the air.
Alfred married his cousin Bessie Gardner in 1887 and she was the mother of his first four children.
However, their marriage lasted less than a decade when the couple divorced in 1906.
And Alfred cut ties with all but one of his children before evicting them from the family home in Swamp Hall, Delaware Online reported.
It is believed that he gave Bessie a week’s notice to pack her things.
Alfred then had an affair with his cousin Alicia Heyward Bradford before they tied the knot.
Bradford died in 1920 and Alfred married Jessie Dew Ball the following year.
The age difference between Alfred and Jessie was about 20 years.
It is reported that they first met when she was 14 and he was 34.
But the businessman kept in regular touch with Jessie – who was known for making profits in the stock market.
Author James Crooks revealed that Alfred left Delaware and moved to Florida to escape the family feuds that ensued.
But he thought economic growth could hit the Sunshine State.
In the 1920s, a devastating hurricane swept through the southern part of the state.
And the post-Civil War recovery was slow in northwestern Florida.
Alfred and Jessie remained married until his death in 1935.
The DuPont name became recognizable as it expanded beyond gunpowder into other businesses.
The company worked with chemist Wallace Carothers, who is credited with inventing nylon.
And DuPont developed materials like Teflon and Kevlar.
Kevlar is used in the manufacture of gloves and bulletproof vests.
The DuPont family was the focus of the company until 1940, before the corporate structure changed.
Walter S. Carpenter, who served from 1940 to 1948, was the company’s first non-family president.
And Lammot du Pont Copeland was the last family member to be president of the company.
He held the post from 1962 to 1967.
Forbes reported that there were more than 3,500 living relatives and the company has a net worth of more than $16 billion.
The US Sun has reached out to DuPont for comment.
https://www.the-sun.com/news/7232766/dupont-family-inbreeding-legacy-cousins-marriage/ Inbred to the DuPont family after cousins were encouraged to marry for “honesty of soul and purity of blood”.