Firestone Surname Meaning, History & Origin

Select Firestone Meaning
Firestone
as a name – from viur or feuer meaning “fire”
and stein “stone” – is believed to have originated in
Austria. It could have been an
occupational name, a stoker or fireman; or it could have been a
nickname for
someone fiery. Feuerstein often became
Firestone in America as the German or Jewish arrivals bearing this name
would anglicize it.

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Firestone Resources on
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Firestone Ancestry

The
early
Feuersteins were said to have come from the Bregenz forest in western
Austria. Some Feuersteins from Bregenz
settled in Alsace in northern France around 1640. Later
Feuersteins may have been Jews from Hungary
or Russia who were given or had adopted Feuerstein as an ornamental
name.

America.
Nicholas Hans
Feuerstein

immigrated to America from Thal in Alsace in 1753 and settled in
Pennsylvania (in Paradise township, York county). Three of his
sons,
seeking to be patriotic, then changed their names to Firestone.
Genealogies of the two major early Firestone families descended from
Nicholas –
as well as from the unrelated Johann Feuerstein, also from Alsace, who
came to
Pennsylvania in 1750 – have been compiled by George Ely Russell from
that time to
the 1850’s. By 1850 there were 133 Firestones recorded in the US census.



From
the Nicholas line and born in 1868 in a farm in Columbiana, Ohio built
by his grandfather came Harvey
Firestone
.
He it was who founded the Firestone Tire and Rubber Company in Akron,
Ohio in
1900. It became the leading tire maker in America, selling a
quarter of
all the tires on the road in the 1920’s.

There
have been other Firestones in America as the Firestone lines
proliferated in the 19th century. There were branches in
Virginia,
Maryland, Tennessee, and Indiana, as well as Ohio. The Firestone
name
reached Colorado in 1908 when the town of Firestone,
Colorado
in Weld county was named after the Firestone Coal and
Land Company
which operated there.

In
more recent times Jacob Feuerstein, born in Brooklyn of Jewish
Hungarian
roots, changed his name to John Firestone in the 1930’s.
Tirzah Firestone, who was raised with her
sister in an Orthodox Jewish family in St. Louis, is a Jewish rabbi and
writer
on the Kabbalah.

Many
later immigrants have retained their original Feuerstein name. Perhaps the best known of these was the
Feuerstein family of Lawrence, Massachusetts.
Henry Feuerstein, who had come to New York from Hungary in the
1890’s, started
a clothing company in Massachusetts named Malden Mills in 1906. Aaron
Feuerstein
, its third generation owner, became nationally
famous in 1995
when he continued to pay his workers after a fire had devastated the
plant.

 


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Firestone Miscellany

Nicholas Hans Feuerstein.  According to
the parish records of the Berg Evangelical Church, Nicholas was a carpenter, farmer and citizen of Thal in Alsace.  It was
said that when their oldest child became subject to conscription into
the
French army, Nicholas and his wife abandoned their ten acre farm in
Alsace and
departed for Holland.  In Rotterdam, the
couple and their nine children boarded the Peggy
and they arrived in Philadelphia on September 24, 1753.  The family qualified for entry on the
following day.

Until 1760 Nicholas
indentured himself and his sons as farm laborers in Lancaster county in
order
to pay for his passage to America.  Then,
at about the same time his wife died, he was able to acquire a 300 acre
tract
of land in Paradise township in York county.
He married again, a widow Catherine Hacken.
Nicholas died in early 1768. 

Firestones in the 1850 US Census.  The following were the number of Firestones listed by state in the US census
of  1850.

State Number Percent
Pennsylvania    50    38
Ohio    31    23
Indiana    13    10
New York    10     8
Elsewhere    29    21
Total 133 100

Firestones were to be found in particular in the following townships:

State Township County
Pennsylvania Bullskin Fayette
Swatana Lebanon
Upper Turkeyfoot Somerset
Monaghan York
Ohio Knox/Fairfield Columbiana

Harvey Firestone of Firestone tire fame came from the Firestones in Columbiana county, Ohio.

When Harvey Met Henry.  The moment Henry Ford walked into the Columbus Buggy Works and asked for Harvey
Firestone,
it could be said that the course of the 20th century changed.  Henry Ford recalled:

“The first time I met Harvey Firestone he was
an agent for the Columbus Buggy Works in Detroit.  That
was in 1895.  At that time I was building
my first
automobile.  It was about complete, and I
was using bicycle tires.  The car weighed
500 pounds which was much too heavy for the light tires.
I went to the buggy works to see about
obtaining some solid rubber tires as a substitute.
Firestone told me he had just received some
new tires that were a great deal softer on the buggy in the rear.  They were pneumatic tires and I had him order
me a set.”

At that time Harvey Firestone
and Henry Ford were both relatively unknown in the business world.

Harvey Firestone, a fourth-generation farmer
from Columbiana, Ohio, founded his own tire company in Akron, Ohio five
years
later in 1900.  In
the beginning, the company only sold tires made by other
manufacturers.  Firestone soon realized
he could make a better product.  So in
1903 the company manufactured its first set of pneumatic rubber tires.

In
1906 Firestone contacted Henry Ford about
supplying him with his new tires.  Henry
Ford remarked:

“He was the first
tire manufacturer to seek an order from us. He got the order and he has
furnished us with about half of our tires since.”

That order was the basis of a long-lasting
business and personal relationship.  William Clay Ford Jr. of the
Ford dynasty has the son of Henry Ford’s grandson William and Harvey’s
granddaughter Martha.

Firestone, Colorado.  The town
was named in 1908 for Jacob Firestone who gave his name to the
Firestone Coal
and Land Company which had established a presence in the town.  However, Firestone himself never made it to
Firestone.

Jacob
Firestone was related to Harvey Firestone of Firestone Tires – but only
by
marriage and distantly at that.  He was
the founder of a general store and bank in Spencer, Ohio and had been
one of
the owners of the Firestone Coal and Land Co.

The first Firestone
family member to visit Firestone, Colorado
had in fact to wait until 2011.
Firestone mayor Paul Sorenson found Reid Firestone in Spencer,
Ohio
during a search for descendents while researching the town’s 100-year
anniversary.  The September 26 visit by
Reid Firestone and his wife Terri was full of history as they visited
with town
officials and took a tour.

Aaron Feuerstein and the Fire at Malden Mills.  The
fire that broke out at Malden Mills in the
winter of 1995 was the largest fire Massachusetts had seen for a
century.  A boiler
had exploded in one of the mill
buildings.  The explosion was so powerful
that it ruptured gas mains.  The fire
quickly engulfed the buildings and employees fled into the streets.  Fortunately, no
one was killed.  But the town was
devastated.  Malden Mills was one of the
few large
employers in a town that was already in desperate straits.

Feuerstein decided not only to use the $300
million insurance money to rebuild the plant, but to also pay the
salaries of
all the now-unemployed workers while it was being rebuilt.  Feuerstein spent millions keeping all 3,000
employees on the payroll with full benefits for six months.  By going against common CEO business
practices, especially at a time when most companies were downsizing and
moving
overseas, he achieved a small degree of fame.

Sadly, the millions he spent to keep his
pledges cost him, nine years later, control of the company.

 


Select
Firestone Names

  • Harvey Firestone founded
    the Firestone Tire and Rubber Company in Akron, Ohio in 1900.

Select Firestone Numbers Today

  • 2,000 in America (most numerous in Pennsylvania)

 

Select Firestone and Like Surnames 

The first wave of German immigration into America came in the early 1700’s from the Rhine Palatine and Switzerland.  They were fleeing religious persecution at home.  Most ended up in Pennsylvania, bringing their Mennonite church with them.  Some went to the Mohawk Valley in upstate New York.  Their Germanic names often changed under English rule to English-style names.  Thus Fischer became Fisher, Schneider Snyder, Hubner Hoover and so forth.

The reasons for immigration were different in the 19th century – in search of a better life, sometimes to avoid the draft.  They came from all German states and went not just to Pennsylvania but all over as the middle and west of the country was opening up.  And they brought German skills with them, notably beer-making.

Here are some of the notable German surnames in America that you can check out.

AckermanHoffmanLangSpringer
AstorHooverNewmanStern
BergerKaiserSchaeferStrauss
BuckKellerSchlesingerWagner
EversKlingerSchultzWolf
FisherKrugerSnyderZimmerman

 

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