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Archive for the ‘Catherine Hershey’ Category

HersheyArchives@30-11 “The Gift”

On November 13, 1918, Milton Hershey transferred his ownership of Hershey Chocolate Company to the Hershey Industrial School.

On November 13, 1918, Milton Hershey transferred his ownership of Hershey Chocolate Company to the Hershey Industrial School.

 

On November 15, 1909, Milton and Catherine Hershey signed a deed of trust establishing Hershey Industrial School (now Milton Hershey School).  Approximately 486 acres of land were transferred to the School together with all assets contained on the property.  All income, revenue, and rents derived from the property were to be used to support and maintain the School.

 

The previous day, November 14, 1909, Milton Hershey had signed a last will and testament directing the settlement of his estate.  The will provided for his wife Catherine, various friends and relatives, and also the School.   Under the terms of the will, the School would have acquired 3,000 shares of Hershey Chocolate Company stock and derived income from that investment.

 

Companies issue stock to raise money by selling a small part of the company to an investor, who is then referred to as a shareholder.  Hershey Chocolate Company and a few other Hershey area businesses acquired or established by Milton Hershey, such as Hershey Transit Company, were all privately held companies wherein a small number of private shareholders could trade or exchange stock privately. Other Hershey businesses, such as the Hershey Laundry, Hershey Park, and Hershey Store Company were funded by personal investments made by Milton Hershey.

 

Although Milton was the primary owner of the Hershey Chocolate Company and the other businesses created to manage the town, these businesses operated as separate entities. That all changed in 1918. On January 5, 1918, but retroactively effective as of January 1, 1918, Milton Hershey assigned his ownership in all of the disparate businesses to Hershey Chocolate Company.  Real estate, totaling approximately 7,695 acres, was also transferred to the chocolate company at the same time.

 

A list of the companies included in the transfer of Milton Hershey's assets to Hershey Chocolate Company.

A list of the companies included in the transfer of Milton Hershey’s assets to Hershey Chocolate Company.

 

With his investments and property consolidated under one organization, a company in which he was the primary shareholder, how Milton Hershey chose to divest his shares could impact not only the Hershey Chocolate Company, but the entire community.

 

Following the death of his beloved wife, Kitty, Milton decided to “execute” his will during his lifetime.  As it was Milton and Kitty’s desire that Hershey Industrial School operate in perpetuity, on November 13, 1918, Milton Hershey “executed” his will and quietly gifted the School his stock in Hershey Chocolate Company.  “I have no heirs—that is, no children.  So I decided to make the orphan boys of the United States my heirs.”  Hershey Industrial School became the majority shareholder in all the enterprises established by Milton Hershey and the majority landowner in Derry Township.

 

Milton Hershey with Hershey Industrial School students, seated on the steps of The Homestead.  1923

Milton Hershey with Hershey Industrial School students, seated on the steps of The Homestead. 1923

 

#HersheyArchives@30

HersheyArchives@30-10 “I Never Expected to Marry”

Catherine Hershey was interred at The West Laurel Cemetery Receiving Vault between 1915 and 1919

Catherine Hershey was interred at The West Laurel Cemetery Receiving Vault between 1915 and 1919

 

Catherine Sweeney Hershey died on March 25, 1915. Kitty, as she was affectionately known, and Milton Hershey shared a brief 18 years together before her death. A bachelor at the age of 40, Milton met the 26 year-old Kitty while on a sales call in Jamestown, New York. Something about Kitty must have instantly charmed him. They were married a year later on May 25, 1898.

 

Milton Hershey was a private individual who preferred to communicate via telegram and telephone. Receiving a telegram rather than a hand-written letter, frustrated Kitty, “You never saw anyone who disliked to write letters as he did.” By word-of-mouth accounts, Milton and Kitty had a happy marriage and the couple doted on one another; yet in the absence of passionate love letters, what evidence exists to document their adoration?

 

Kitty was known to have a lively spirit and a warm and outgoing personality. With her, Milton had a refuge from the demands of work and the opportunity to be lighthearted and playful. Kitty enjoyed traveling and especially enjoyed meeting new people. Traveling the world together they could both let down the guard they maintained while in Hershey. Those who worked beside a serious and determined Milton Hershey in the caramel factory or the experimental plant might not recognize the man posing in a bathing suit cut-out.

 

Milton and Catherine Hershey pose with friend Adeline Jackson (on left) at Coney Island. ca1910

Milton and Catherine Hershey pose with friend Adeline Jackson (on left) at Coney Island. ca1910

 

Milton provided for Kitty’s every need and wish. Not only did he buy her furs and Tiffany jewelry, but he brought her flowers every day. Raised by a strict Mennonite, Milton thought flowers were frivolous, but to Kitty they were a sign of beauty and happiness. She supervised the landscaping around High Point that included extensive gardens that were open to the public. After her death, Milton directed the construction of Hershey Gardens, remarking to horticulturist Harry Erdman, “The more beautiful you can make the place look, the better life the people will have.”

 

Catherine Hershey. ca1914

Catherine Hershey. ca1914

 

At Kitty’s funeral, Milton confided to her sister Agnes Smith, “I never expected to marry.” Their marriage, although tragically brief, had a tremendous and everlasting influence on Milton. In 1909, unable to have children of their own, Milton and Kitty had established the Hershey Industrial School (now Milton Hershey School). Milton would always say that the school was, “Kitty’s idea.” Three years after her death, Milton gifted the school’s trust fund with the bulk of his fortune, ensuring that her idea would continue on in perpetuity.

 

He also continued to bring her flowers.

 

Milton Hershey arranged for flowers to be placed at his wife's crypt twice a week until she was moved to the newly established Hershey Cemetery.

Milton Hershey arranged for flowers to be placed at his wife’s crypt twice a week until she was moved to the newly established Hershey Cemetery.

 

#HersheyArchives@30