Prepare to get some serious wealth envy, because we’re about to check out who the richest families in America are. Whether they’re oil barons, an industrial dynasty, or dot com billionaires, we’re going to find out just how much they’re worth. Buckle up for a gold-plated list. The Land of Endless Possibilities just got a whole new meaning.
The Gallo Family – Net Worth $10.7 Billion
The Gallo family are instantly recognizable for pioneering Californian wine. The business, set up in the 1930s by brothers Julio and Ernest, has gone from strength to strength over the last 80 years. Julio was the brains of the business, and Ernest was the muscle. He famously made very tough deals with distributors. Their estate now resides with their children and grandchildren.
The Rockefeller Family – Net Worth $11 Billion
The Rockefellers are synonymous with fabulous wealth. The Rockefeller oil business was at one point in time the dominant force in oil refining in the United States. John D. Rockefeller’s empire was so large that he became the first Billionaire in the country. The Rockefeller legacy is one of philanthropy, donating vast amounts of their personal wealth to charity and good causes.
The Butt Family – Net Worth $11 Billion
Faced with a family income crisis, housewife Florence Butt set up a grocery store to keep afloat. This grocery store would eventually become the H.E.B chain and has remained family owned and run since Florence passed the business down to her son Howard, who later handed it down to his son Charles. Charles has run the business since 1971 and has no intention of slowing down.
The Mellon Family – Net Worth $11.5 Billion
It all began in the early 1800s when Irish immigrant Thomas Mellon came to the United States. By the time he was an adult, Mellon had become a judge, and later an investor in banking and real estate. Loathing the philanthropy of his peers, Mellon left his money to his children with the expectation that they would follow in his footsteps. Unsurprisingly, they did.
The Marshall Family – Net Worth $12 Billion
Trying to explain the Marshall family’s current wealth is kind of a convoluted task. Oilman J. Howard Marshall’s incredible wealth came through shares in Koch Industries (you’ll be hearing about the Kochs later in this list), which have grown hugely since they were acquired in the 60s. Long story short, disputes over the inheritance of Marshall’s estate have left it in uncertain hands.
The Brown Family – Net Worth $12.3 Billion
George Garvin Brown was a pharmaceutical salesman until he decided to sell the greatest medicine of all, alcohol. Okay, that’s likely not how it happened. The Brown-Forman Corp. is now synonymous with alcohol, through owning the Jack Daniel’s brand, alongside many other alcoholic beverage companies. The Brown family still owns a majority stake in the business.
The Sackler Family – Net Worth $13 Billion
Together with two other doctors, Raymond Sackler formed a pharmaceutical company that is now responsible for the painkilling drug OxyContin. The Sackler family have not been without controversy, with OxyContin being a more dangerous and addictive drug than advertised. This lead to a near Billion dollar lawsuit, though that’s unlikely to make a dent in the family fortune.
The Busch Family – Net Worth $13.4 Billion
It all began with a humble Brewer, Adolphus Busch. The inventor of the most American beer in the world, Budweiser, is German. Though, I expect you could probably tell by the name. The business has weathered many uncertain economic situations, including prohibition, but in 2008, the descendants of Adolphus Busch decided to call last orders and sell the business off.
The Goldman Family – Net Worth $13.7 Billion
The Goldman family own New York, literally. The real estate group owned by the family are very discreet in their operations, possibly to avoid shocking people with how one family can own vast swathes of one of the most expensive cities in the world. Sol Goldman began the business buying foreclosed property, which have now been developed until multi-million dollar developments.
The Hunt Family – Net Worth $13.7 Billion
The Hunt family are synonymous with oil, with oil baron H.L. Hunt being the inspiration for J.R. Ewing on Dallas. H.L was a busy man, as evidenced by his fourteen children who split his estate and reinvested their stake into other businesses. It’s hard to say how much of H.L Hunt’s operation is still owned by the family, but they certainly aren’t absent from proceedings.
The Du Pont Family – Net Worth $14.3 Billion
The Du Ponts are old money. Very, very old money. French Chemist E.I. Du Pont fled revolutionary France for America and began his own company. Dealing in gunpowder and dynamite, the Du Pont business then moved into plastics, dyes, and other materials with domestic applications. While the family doesn’t own the business anymore, it certainly isn’t hurting for cash.
The Ziff Family – Net Worth $14.4 Billion
Although the remaining Ziff family (brothers Daniel, Dirk, and Robert) appeared to have scattered to the winds on other ventures, they were able to do so thanks to their father building up the publishing and media business, before selling it for an enormous amount of money. The Ziff brothers took their stake and invested it smartly to grow their wealth ten times over.
The Dorrance Family – Net Worth $17.1 Billion
In the 1800s, John T. Dorrance created the company that we now know for Campbell’s canned soup. This food revolution took the world by storm, with Campbell’s still being one of the premiere food brands. Why is it called Campbell’s if the family name is Dorrance? No clue. The family retains a 50% stake in the business for the meanwhile, but this could eventually change.
The Lauder Family – Net Worth $17.9 Billion
From small business to a cosmetics giant, it all began with Estee Lauder selling home-concocted skin creams in salons. The Lauder family owns an almost 90% stake in the business, meaning they have an almost total stranglehold over its operation. The top positions in the firm are rife with Lauder family members, to help keep it firmly under their control for the immediate future.
The Newhouse Family – Net Worth $18.5 Billion
Family patriarch Sam Newhouse was a would-be media mogul who was one of the most powerful publishers in the United States, but it wasn’t until the business passed to his sons Donald and Si that it became such a prolific force in American media. The brothers previously ruled the business together, though Si has stepped down, with Donald’s son Simon looking to take the throne.
The Duncan Family – Net Worth $21.5 Billion
It seems fitting than Texan Dan Duncan managed to make a tremendous fortune out of oil and gas pipelines. Although he may have died in 2010, his estate is now split between his four children. His eldest daughter Randa now chairs the family business, Enterprise Products Partners, while the other siblings appear to have gone on to invest their inheritance.
The Hearst Family – Net Worth $28 Billion
The media giant Hearst Corp can be traced back to its founder, William Randolph Hearst. Having purchased The San Francisco Examiner in 1887 through the earnings of his mining operation, his media empire ballooned as many did during the great information boom of radio and television. Now chaired by William’s grandson, the family’s worth is spread among a huge 67 members.
The (Edward) Johnson Family – Net Worth $28.5 Billion
While not the richest or most notable Billionaire family called Johnson (you’ll be reading about them later), they’ve certainly got plenty of money to spare. Edward Johnson set up an investment company in the mid-40s in Boston, which became mutual fund Fidelity. With over a Trillion in assets, the company is still ruled by the Johnson family, Edward’s granddaughter Abigail.
The Pritzker Family – Net Worth $29 Billion
The family name might not ring a bell, but they’re behind the hotel chain, Hyatt. The family has largely abandoned the hotel chain after a brutal legal battle over blind trusts related to it, though many still have existing investments in Hyatt. Those in the Pritzker family not still involved with Hyatt have diversified into being film producers, investors, and hoteliers with a different chain.
The Johnson Family – Net Worth $30 Billion
You may have already guessed it, but the Johnson family owns the S.C Johnson Company, named after its founder Samuel Curtis Johnson. Johnson started the business as a company that made floor wax, though clearly, the scope of the business diversified as it grew. The company is still owned and ran by the family, with S.C Johnson’s great, great grandson as its CEO.
The Cox Family – Net Worth $41 Billion
Founded at the tail end of the 1800s, patriarch James Cox purchased the Dayton Evening News and used it as a springboard for an unprecedented media empire. The business spread and grew exponentially, moving into television and radio as these technologies began to appear. This mantra of investing in new technology remains, as they were early expanders into the Internet.
The Cargill-MacMillan Family – Net Worth $49 Billion
The Cargill-MacMillan family have the title of the most Billionaires in a single family, with a stunning 14 of them having a personal wealth of over a Billion. The family are giants in agriculture and come from old money, dating back to 1865. Their company was tightly controlled by the family until they reached an agreement to reduce the number of family members on their Board of Directors.
The Mars Family – Net Worth $78 Billion
Got a sweet tooth? The Mars family will thank you for it. The Mars Company is perhaps the biggest powerhouse in confection, only competing with the likes of Nestle and perhaps Kraft. The Mars family have no direct role in the company that bears their name, but they sure get to enjoy the benefits, while some of the younger members of the family have figurehead positions.
The Koch Family – Net Worth $82 Billion
Oh boy. The Kochs are a highly controversial family with many fingers in many, many pies. It is almost impossible to escape from their influence. Even if you make a conscious decision never to put a penny in their pocket again, they’re likely still earning money from you without you even noticing. With that much money between a family of four, they’re looking at $20 Billion each.
The Walton Family – Net Worth $130 Billion
Between the seven of them, you can bet that $130 Billion could their extended families for generations and generations. The Waltons gained their fortune through the Wal-Mart retail empire, and although they certainly have some questionable business practices, you can’t deny that it made them all enough money to buy a couple small European countries if they wanted to.