Pierre Samuel du Pont

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Pierre Samuel du Pont

Birthplace: Nemours district, Paris, France
Death: August 07, 1817 (77)
Greenville, Delaware, United States
Immediate Family:

Son of Samuel du Pont and Anne Alexandrine de Montchanin
Husband of Marie-Anne-Pierrette Paulze; Nicole Charlotte Marie Louise Le Dée de Rencourt and Françoise Robin de Livet
Father of Eleuthère Irénée du Pont; Paul Francois Dupont and Victor Marie du Pont, Senator of Delaware

Occupation: watchmaker, economist, French economist, government official, and publicist
Managed by: Private User
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About Pierre Samuel du Pont

Pierre Samuel du Pont (de Nemours was later added to his name) was born in Paris in 1739, the only son of Samuel (a watchmaker) and Anne Alexandrine de Montchanin du Pont. At his mother’s insistence, he was well educated, but at age 14, his father forced him to learn the watchmaker’s trade, in which Pierre Samuel was not interested. When he was 23, he wrote an essay on economics which was well-received by certain influential people, and this led to his employment as the editor of a journal, a task more to his liking than watch making, and eventually led to other employment. [See Career, below]

Pierre Samuel was elected to the Estates General which met in 1789, but found life difficult under the new regime in France. He decided to move with his family to the United States. The du Ponts, father Pierre Samuel with his sons Eleuthère Irènée and Victor Marie, the sons’ wives, and their children, arrived on January 1, 1800. Also in the party were Pierre Samuel’s step-daughter Ile-de-France Pusy with her baby, Eleuthère’s brother-in-law Charles Dalmas, and several servants. They soon settled in Wilmington, where E.I. started a gunpowder manufactory and Victor Marie began a textile mill. Pierre Samuel stayed only a couple of years before returning to France, but he later came back to the United States, where he died in 1817. Both sons and their families, however, remained in Delaware, where they had established businesses.


In 1766, Pierre Samuel married Nicole Charlotte Marie Louise Le Dée de Rencourt. They had two sons: Victor Marie (born in 1767) and Eleuthère Irènée (born in 1771). Given the span between the two births, it is likely that there were other children who did not survive to adulthood. Marie Le Dée du Pont died in 1784.

Pierre Samuel married Françoise Robin in 1794. She was the daughter of Antoine Robin de Livet, a French aristocrat who lived in Lyon, and the widow of Pierre Poivre, the noted French administrator. There was at least one child from her first marriage, who emigrated with the du Pont family, to Delaware.

Children of Pierre Samuel du Pont and wife Nicole Charlotte Marie Louise le Dee:

  • Victor Marie du Pont was born in France in 1757 and died in Delaware. Married and had children. Opened a textile factory in Delaware.
  • Eleuthère Irènée du Pont was born in France in 1771 and died in 1834 in Delaware. He married Sophie Dalmas (1775–1828) in 1791, and they had eight children. He established a gunpowder factory in Delaware that was the foundation of the du Pont chemical empire.

Career of Pierre Samuel du Pont

  • c.1753 - Begins training as with father as watchmaker
  • c.1762 - Begins publishing treatises on economics
  • In 1768 he took over from Nicolas Baudeau, editor of Ephémérides du citoyen ou Bibliothèque raisonnée des sciences morales et politiques. He published 'Observations sur l'Esclavage des Negresin Volume 6.
  • In 1774 he was invited by King Stanisław August Poniatowski of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth to help organize that country’s educational system. The appointment to the Commission of National Education, with which he worked for several months, helped push his career forward, bringing him an appointment within the French government
  • c.1775 - He served as Inspector General of Commerce under Louis XVI. He helped negotiate the treaty of 1783, by which Great Britain formally recognized the independence of the United States, and arranged the terms of a commercial treaty signed by France and England in 1786.
  • In 1784 Pierre Samuel du Pont de Nemours was made noble by "lettres patentes" (letters patent) from the king Louis XVI (a process known as noblesse de lettres).
  • 1789 - served as president of the National Constituent Assembly. At this time, he added the name of the Nemours district south of Paris to his name to distinguish himself from other du Ponts in the Assembly.

Links to additional material:

Pierre Dupont de Nemours (1739 - 1817)

The Du Pont family is an American family descended from Pierre Samuel du Pont de Nemours (1739–1817). The son of a Paris watchmaker and a member of a Burgundian Huguenot family, and descendant of a minor noble family on his mother's side, he and his sons, Victor Marie du Pont and Eleuthère Irénée du Pont, emigrated to the United States in 1800 and used the resources of their Huguenot heritage to found one of the most prominent of American families, and one of its most successful corporations, E. I. du Pont de Nemours and Company, initially established by Eleuthère Irénée as a gunpowder manufacturer. Various members of the family managed the company well into the twentieth century and to this day family trusts constitute a substantial portion of the company's ownership. This and other companies run by the du Pont family employ some five to ten percent of Delaware's population. The family also played a very large part in politics during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries and assisted in negotiations for the Louisiana purchase. During the 19th century, the Du Pont family maintained their family wealth by carefully arranged marriages between cousins[1] which, at the time, was the norm for many families.

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Pierre Samuel du Pont's Timeline

December 14, 1739
Nemours district, Paris, France
October 1, 1767
Paris, Paris, Île-de-France, France
December 1769
June 24, 1771
Paris, Ile-de-France, France
August 7, 1817
Age 77
Greenville, Delaware, United States