High Finance: Up from Rosebud

Mississippi-born Robert Ernest Milner had scarcely learned to read when he decided there must be more to life than following a mule along the rows of a piney woods cotton farm. At seven, young Milner—dubbed "Dumas" by his family because he tagged after a hired hand by that name—signed up to sell an elixir called Rosebud Salve to neighboring farmers. In the 35 years since, Dumas Milner has never stopped selling, and last week he did his biggest buying and selling yet. Breaking off the biggest single chunk of his $60 million Southern empire, Milner swapped his thriving household-products...

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