Jerome M. Smucker
Jerome Monroe Smucker founded the J.M. Smucker Company, which produces a wide array of jams, jellies, and other food items.
Smucker was born on December 5, 1858, in Orrville, Ohio. He was descended from Swiss immigrants, and his parents were Mennonites. Originally, the Smucker family spelled its last name as Schmucker but eventually shortened it to Smoker. After approximately two generations, the family adopted Smucker as its surname, principally due to Mennonites' opposition to tobacco use.
Smucker spent much of his life as a farmer in Orrville. He also taught penmanship in the evenings. In 1897, Smucker constructed a cider mill in Orrville. Besides producing apple cider, Smucker also made apple butter. In 1900, Smucker and his son, Willard, began to travel across northeastern Ohio, selling their products. In 1921, the J.M. Smucker Company officially formed and, in 1923, began to produce additional jams and jellies besides just apple butter.
By 1935, the J.M. Smucker Company's products were in great demand across the Midwest. Hoping to increase his market, that same year, Smucker expanded his operations, including opening a fruit-processing facility in the state of Washington. In 1942, the J.M. Smucker Company began to ship its products nationwide. During World War II, the firm even provided apple butter to American soldiers serving overseas.
Smucker died on March 19, 1948, in Orrville. His company continued to grow, becoming one of the largest and most popular producers of jams and jellies in the world.