John B. Stetson
John Stetson was the famous designer of the "Trademark" western hat that bears his name -- the "Stetson".
He was born in Orange, New Jersey on May 5, 1830.
His "Stetson Hat" (also known as "Stetsons") has defined the look of the cowboy for many years. Stetson came from a family of Hatters (people in the hat business) and went out west for the first time for health reasons.
However, in 1865 he opened a one-man hat factory in Philadelphia, but sales were poor so rather than just copy other hat styles, he started to design his own.
He was forced to make another trip out west for health reasons, and wound up in Colorado. This led him to design a western hat, after he saw the distinctive hats worn out west.
He then returned to Philadelphia and his plant began to manufacture "Cowboy Hats". The business grew and by 1906 was producing two million hats a year.
Stetson was also a philanthropist who gave a lot of money to Baptist Churches and causes.
He died in DeLand, Florida on February 18, 1906, and by that time had taken such an interest in the DeLand Academy, in the form of buildings and money, that they changed the name of the institution to the John B. Stetson University.