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 John Batterson Stetson

John Batterson Stetson

Birth
Orange, Essex County, New Jersey, USA
Death 18 Feb 1906 (aged 75)
Volusia, Volusia County, Florida, USA
Burial Bala Cynwyd, Montgomery County, Pennsylvania, USA
Plot Section: Ashland, Lot 57
Memorial ID 12902 · View Source
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Businessman. He learned the hat trade from his father. After his father's death he moved to St. Louis, Missouri, and worked for a brick manufacturer. When the factory and business were ruined by floods, Stetson headed west to Colorado to find his fortune in gold. His hat making skills proved useful as he used the felting process to make a superior, waterproof tent material for prospectors to use. Realizing that his fortune was not to be made in panning gold, he moved to Philadelphia in 1865 and returned to his hat making roots. His making hats in the traditional eastern style brought modest success, but the company flourished when Stetson used his practical experience in Colorado and the West in designing the "Boss of the Plains"—a cowboy hat that became the cornerstone of the J.B. Stetson Company. Stetson had found his niche in the hat business, and the name Stetson would become part of the history and imagination of the American West. He moved to successively larger sites, until in 1872 he opened the hat factory at 4th Street and Montgomery Avenue that would increase his fortune. At the time of his death, Stetson's company of 3,000 employees made two million hats annually. As Stetson profited, he established organizations to benefit his employees. The John B. Stetson Union was a YMCA-like organization for his employees. His employees also had the advantage of having a "medical department" on site. The company also had a building association which helped workers purchase their own homes. In 1903 Stetson devised and put into operation a profit-sharing plan for his employees. He issued $500,000 worth of company stock for distribution to employees according to merit and length of service. Stetson supported a variety of Baptist churches and organizations and was a director as well as a supporter of the Woman's Hospital in Kensington, Philadelphia. The Stetson family summered in Florida where the hat maker became the force behind expanding Deland University into what became and still is Stetson University of Deland, Florida. After his death, his widow continued his philanthropic work.

Bio by: rjschatz



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  • Maintained by: Find A Grave
  • Added: 11 Oct 2000
  • Find A Grave Memorial 12902
  • Find A Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for John Batterson Stetson (5 May 1830–18 Feb 1906), Find A Grave Memorial no. 12902, citing West Laurel Hill Cemetery, Bala Cynwyd, Montgomery County, Pennsylvania, USA ; Maintained by Find A Grave .