Etienne Dutilh was born in Clairac, France, in November 1756. In 1783, he sailed to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, where he established his first of multiple businesses. One of his partners was John Godfried Wachsmuth , with whom he founded Dutlih & Wachsmuth at the end of the 18th century. The company primarily traded coffee, sugar, cocoa, and logwood, with merchants in the West Indies and northern Europe. Dutilh and his wife Catherine had three children: Edmund J. Dutilh (b. 1798), Edward Dutilh (1799-1833), and a daughter who died young. Etienne Dutilh died on February 26, 1810.
George Louis Stockar , a Swiss citizen, moved to La Rochelle, France, in the late 18th century. He established a commercial house there in 1781 and later relocated to Philadelphia.