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H. B. Reese

H. B. ReeseAKA Harry Burnett Reese

Born: 24-May-1879
Birthplace: York County, PA
Died: 16-May-1956
Location of death: West Palm Beach, FL
Cause of death: Heart Failure
Remains: Buried, Hershey Cemetery, Hershey, PA

Gender: Male
Religion: Presbyterian
Race or Ethnicity: White
Sexual orientation: Straight
Occupation: Business

Nationality: United States
Executive summary: Peanut butter cups

Harry Burnett Reese was raised on a farm, and as an adult worked as a farmer, fish packaging worker, and did other factory work. He was hired to work on Milton Hershey's dairy farm in 1916, and was later employed at one of Hershey's chocolate factories. Reese was still working there when he started making his own candies in the basement of his house. First he made after-dinner mints, then concocted a few simple candy bars. Reese's Raisin Clusters and Chocolate-Covered Dates sold well, but his best-sellers were Peanut Butter Cups, introduced in 1928. As sales increased he quit his job at Hershey and built a small factory in the same town -- Hershey, Pennsylvania. To meet the demand Reese discontinued all his other candies.

Hershey saw Reese more as a customer than as competition -- Reese made his own peanut butter, but always bought his chocolate wholesale from Hershey (who reportedly kept a stash of Reese's Peanut Butter Cups in his desk). The H.B. Reese Candy Company was merged into the Hershey Company seven years after Reese's death, with his children receiving about five percent ownership in Hershey. Reese is buried in the Hershey Cemetery alongside his wife, just footsteps from Milton Hershey's grave.

Father: Aquilla Asbury Reese, Jr. (farmer, b. 1845, d. 1914)
Mother: Annie Belinda Manifold (b. 1854, d. 1935)
Wife: Blanche Edna Hyson (nearly blind from childhood, b. 20-Aug-1882, m. 1-Aug-1900)
Daughter: Mary Elizabeth Reese Pearson
Son: Robert Hyson Reese (Reese Company executive)
Son: John Manifold Reese (Reese Company executive)
Daughter: Anna Alfreda Reese Twohig (nurse)
Son: Edward Irons Reese (Reese Company executive)
Daughter: Marjorie Marie Reese Staggs (nurse)
Son: Ralph Collins Reese (Reese Company executive)
Daughter: Helen Grace Reese Carson
Daughter: Clara Louise Reese Lauzon
Daughter: Frances Turner Reese Hoke
Daughter: Rose Amos Reese Rippon
Daughter: Mildred Jane Reese
Son: Harry Burnett Reese Jr.
Son: Thomas Reese
Son: Charles Richard Reese
Son: William Reese

    H. B. Reese Candy Company Founder
    Welsh Ancestry Paternal

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