James H. Laughlin (1806-1882)

James H. Laughlin, Founder of Jones & Laughlin Steel, Pittsburgh

He was born near Portaferry in County Down, Northern Ireland. In 1826, after his mother died, he and his father emigrated to Pittsburgh to join his elder brother, Alexander. James and Alexander operated a provisions and pork-packing house in Pittsburgh and Indiana. In 1854, James turned his attention to manufacturing steel and partnered with Benjamin Franklin Jones to form the now famous firm of Jones & Laughlin. They used Lake Superior ore and Connellsville coal to make the best quality iron and steel. James was also a co-founder of the Fifth Avenue Savings Bank (the Pittsburgh Trust Company) and the First National Bank of Pittsburgh of which he served as President. He was the first President of the Western Theological Seminary in Pittsburgh and founded the Pennsylvania Female College, which is today Chatham University. In 1837, he married Ann McCully Irwin and they had four sons and a daughter.


Contributed by Mark Meredith on 04/09/2020 and last updated on 04/09/2020.