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Richard Joshua "R.J." Reynolds

R.J. Reynolds

The most famous of the Reynolds children was Richard Joshua "R.J." Reynolds.

He was born July 20, 1850. In 1868, he entered Emory & Henry College. He excelled in math but struggled with writing, likely due to dyslexia.

He was hired by his brother A.D. and Andrew Lybrook to operate the tobacco factory at Rock Spring and began peddling and bartering tobacco.

In 1872, he attended Bryant & Stratton Business College where he honed his financial skills.

In the fall of 1874, he sold his interest in the Rock Spring factory and heded to Winston, North Carolina. He bought a lot next to the railroad and built "Little Red Factory," which in 1875 produced 150,000 pounds of chewing tobacco.

R.J. also dabbled in real estate, financed a tobacco auction house, and was a generous philanthropist.

His company became a subsidiary of American Tobacco Co., but he retained ownership of his factories and brands.

R.J. started experimenting with smoking tobacco in 1891 and soon created Prince Albert Smoking Tobacco. In 1913, he introduced Camel Cigarettes, his most popular brand.

At age 54, R.J. married Mary Katherine Smith, whose grandmother, Katherine Cox, was sister to R.J.'s mother Nancy Jane Cox Reynolds.

R.J. and Katherine's youngest daughter, Nancy Susan Reynolds, bought and preserved the Reynolds Homestead and then gave the property to Virginia Tech.