Firestone


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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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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 1930s.  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 1890s, 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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If you would like to read more, click on the miscellany page for further stories and accounts:


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

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


PS.  You might want to check out the surnames page on this website.  It covers surname genealogy in this and companion websites for more than 800 surnames.

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