The Longyear Story

History   Enduring Values   A Tradition of Management Expertise   The 21st Century  


John Munro Longyear developed a deep appreciation of the fundamental value of natural resources – timber, minerals and land – the hard way. As a young land-looker in Michigan's Upper Peninsula in the 1870s, he covered miles and miles of land on foot, traversing some of the country's most challenging topography and dealing with the fierce northern winters to assess the value of the land, its timber and minerals for a variety of clients.

As his expertise grew, so did his determination that he wanted to do more than simply assign a value to natural resources in exchange for a fee for his services; he wanted to acquire resources himself and reap the ongoing benefits that developing them would provide to him and his family.

Leveraging his expertise in identifying lands that could yield potential mineral wealth and/or timber income, Mr. Longyear formed many partnerships that allowed him to exchange his knowledge for part ownership of a number of natural resource ventures. These partnerships yielded profits as lands were mined, logged or developed for other purposes.

His partnerships extended beyond the Upper Peninsula, into the Mesabi Iron Range, where in the late 1880s, he joined with Russell M. Bennett and the Pillsbury family to ultimately help develop the largest iron ore deposit in the United States. The association has spanned three generations.

John and Mary LongyearMr. Longyear married Mary Hawley Beecher a teacher at Marquette's high school, in 1879. As custom dictated, Mr. Longyear built and managed the family's businesses, and Mrs. Longyear raised and educated their six children and managed their household affairs. Their 43-year marriage and partnership ended with Mr. Longyear's death in 1922. Mrs. Longyear continued the family tradition of philanthropy and service until her death in 1931.








210 North Front Street, 1st Floor Marquette, MI 49855
20012018 JML Heirs, LLC