Milton Snavely Hershey was born on September 13, 1857 in Derry Township, Pennsylvania. Raised as a Mennonite, he attended school only through the forth grade. His father was a schemer and a dreamer, but never followed through on his own ideas to make them a success. In contrast, his mother was extremely serious and focused. This caused great friction in the family, and they separated early in Milton's life. The early years of Milton Hershey instilled in him the value of hard work. Milton's first job was assigned to him by his father, which was working as an apprentice in a printing shop in Gap, Pennsylvania. As a printer apprentice, Milton did not do so well and had to find another job. His mother told Milton that he should get into a business that people needed - something to eat. .
Hershey decided to try the candy business and became an apprentice at a candy company in Lancaster. It was here where Milton discovered his gift in the candy business. In 1876, at the age of 18, he opened his first candy shop in Philadelphia. His aunt, Martha Snavely, gave the money for his company to him. He soon discovered a fascinating candy called caramel, but the business failed by 1882, only six years after opening. Milton then moved to Denver, Colorado, where he accepted a job with the local caramel manufacture. There, he learned that superior results could be achieved when fresh milk was used in the caramel-making process. .
Mr. Hershey moved on to Chicago in 1883, then to New Orleans, attempting to establish his own candy business in each location. Milton ended up in New York City trying another candy company, but it too went bankrupt. After the travels and company failures, he returned home in 1886, to Lancaster, to find that his family did not welcome him. Fortunately, Milton found financial support from an old friend, and began the Lancaster Caramel Company. The Lancaster Caramel Company established his reputation as a candy-maker.