History of the Lake Huron Shore
History of Bay County
CHANGE OF NAME.
As the resources of the Saginaw Valley began to be developed in earnest, and the fame of this region widened, it was felt that the village near the mouth of the river should have a title by which it’ could be more easily and readily distinguished. Accordingly, in the Winter of 1857, Hon. James Birney drafted a bill and presented it to the Legislature. The bill was passed, and the act approved February 10, which provided, “That the name of the village of Lower Saginaw, in the Township of Hampton, State of Michigan, be, and the same is, hereby changed to Bay City.”
SOME OF THE EARLY COMERS.
In the classification of subjects, some of the early settlers and their experiences are mentioned elsewhere in this work. The following biographical reminiscences are of others who were connected with the early history of Lower Saginaw:
ISRAEL CATLIN was one of the early corners to this region. He was born in Schuyler County, N. Y., in 1814. His chosen trade was that of carpenter, which he followed ~or several years, during which time he went to sea as ship’s carpenter, and was absent about two years. In 1844 he came to Lower Saginaw, and was engaged by Fraser & Barney in building and superintending the running of a mill at Kawkawlin. His first meal in the region was obtained at the house of Harvey Williams, at the mouth of the Kawkawlin River. He remained at Kawkawlin about two years, and then came to Lower Saginaw, and in company with the late James Fraser built a steam saw mill, which he operated a few years, when he sold out. He afterwards formed a co-partnership with Mr. Arnold, of West Bay City, and they carried on an extensive business in the manufacture of sash, doors and blinds. His health failed, and for several years he has been unable to do any business. Mr. Catlin has filled an honored placer in the community where he has lived so many years. He was postmaster of Hampton from 1860 to 1853, and was one of the first aldermen under the village charter. He has held various positions of trust, and was one of the founders, and has always been one of the leading members, of Trinity Church. Mr. Catlin still resides in Bay City, a much respected citizen.
PATRICK J. PERROTT is a well known pioneer of the Saginaw Valley. He was born in Ireland in the year 1827. In 1842’ he emigrated to this country with his father, 0. A. Perrott. In 18~5 Mr. Perrott arrived in Lower Saginaw, now Bay City, ha father having come here in 1848. He was then an intelligent Irish lad of eighteen years, small in stature, but active and resolute. His first occupation was that of cooper, which he followed for a time, making fish barrels. Not being able to make money fast enough at coopering, he abandoned it and engaged in fishing, which he followed until about 1860. From 1860 to 1870 he was sheriff and acting sheriff, and for several years past has been deputy sheriff. From 1875 to 1877 he was comptroller of the city, and has been a member of the Board of Public Works since in 1881. Mr. Perrott is an untiring worker, and one of the men who accomplishes whatever he undertakes. He is thoroughly versed in local affairs, and having a correct memory, is excellent authority upon matters of pioneer history. The compiler of this ~work is indebted to him for many historical facts of great value. Mr. Perrott was married February 4, 1850, to Elizabeth, youngest daughter of Leon Trombley, the first resident of Lower Saginaw. Mrs. Perrott was the first white girl that came to the lower part of the Saginaw Valley, having come here in 1833. A school was started some eighteen miles up the river, taught by Albert Miller, now Judge Miller, of Bay City,
which Miss Trombley attended. She is now the only pupil of that school living. Mr. Perrott and Miss Trombley were married at the house of Daniel S. Chapel, who lived in the vicinity of where the Peter Mill now stands. The ceremony was performed by George Raby, a justice of the peace, a functionary who did the most of the marrying in those days. Mr. Perrott’s father died in May, 1858.
Julius B. Hart will be long remembered in connection with the early days in Lower Saginaw. He was born in Litchfield, Conn., in 1816. In 1888 he emigrated to Michigan, and in 1846 came to Bay City with his brother, B. B. Hart. They established a trade with the few whites who were here, but dealt more extensively with the Indians. In early years they were extensively engaged in the fur and fish trade. There are few persons in this region who have not heard of “Jule” Hart’s red letter day in the muskrat skin trade, in which he was so ably assisted by George Lord. This occurrence is narrated on another page. Mr. Hart continued in various business enterprises, but never allowed business to interfere with an opportunity to play a. joke upon anyone who chanced to come along. In 1875 he retired from active business, and died in Bay City, in November, 1877. With all his fondness for fun, Mr. Hart was emphatically a humane man, and as will-lug to do an act of kindness as to play a joke.
B. B. HART continued in business with his brother until about 1850, when they dissolved. Subsequently he was engaged in the manufacture of lumber and salt with Dr. George E. Smith, and still later they were in the grocery trade until about 1874, when they sold their business to other parties. Mr. Hart is now a resident of Minneapolis, where he has been engaged for two or three years in the coffee and spice business.
CURTIS MUNGER was born in Bergen, Genesee Co., N. Y., March 20, 1820. Came to Michigan in 1840, and settled in Oakland County, where he learned the trade of cooper. In the Fall of 1846 he, with some others, went to the Thunder Bay Island, Lake Huron, in the coopering and fishing business, catching whitefish for the Eastern market, where he remained until the latter part of November, 1848, when, with his party, he intended to take one of the down steamers from Chicago to Detroit, and return home. Several steamers passed the island, but so far off in the lake that they could not see their signals. It was getting very cold, and they had got out of provisions, so tile party took turns sitting up nights keeping signal fire to hail any passing vessel to take them off. After waiting eight or ten days without any hope of relief, and to add to their suffering their provisions were all gone. The party consisted of Curtis Munger, James Beebe, Edwin Park, and Michael Daily, who yet reside in Bay City, and W. H. Hunter and Joseph Parkerson, who have left the country. A heavy snowstorm from the northeast set in, and what to do they did not know; to remain would be folly, as the Winter had commenced, and they were getting hungry, as they had finished their last provisions two days before. A council was held as to what should be done. Joseph Parkerson proposed they should start in their open fish boat tot. Lower Saginaw, as Bay City was then called, and if they could reach there he knew an old lady by the name of Mrs. McCormick, who lived in the largest house there, with whom he had lived when a boy, and whom he called mother. If they could only reach there she would take good care of them. This Mrs. McCormick was the wife of the-late James McCormick, one of the first settlers of the Saginaw Valley, who died two years before, in 1846, and was the mother of the late James McCormick, and also W. R. McCormick, who still lives in Bay City. They finally made up their minds to start for Lower Saginaw. They put six half-barrels of fish in the boat for bailast
then went to the lighthouse and saw the keeper, Capt. Malden. but could get no provisions, as he was nearly out himself. He gave them one good square meal, and they started in their open boat for Lower Saginaw. None of them had ever been over the route before except Michael Daily. The storm was blowing a hurricane from the northeast, accompanied with snow. They had to keep bailing their boat to keep her afloat, in which they took turns during the night. After much suffering they reached Point Au Gres. The wind died away, so that they were obliged to take to the oars before reaching the point. A gale sprang up from the south; they landed on the north side in the smooth water; went ashore, cut some cedars, and made a place to lay down to sleep, without anything to eat, tired and worn out. In the morning the ice had frozen on the north side of the point, where their boat lay several rods from shore, and the wind blowing a gale from the southwest, so that it was impossible to leave. Towards night, Parkerspn said he was going to have some supper. They asked him where he was going to get it. He said:—”I will show you.” He unheaded one of the half-barrels of fish, and took an old hailing dish he had in the boat, which had a hole in the bottom., 1nit the fish in it, and put it on the tire, but in a few seconds the water had all run out, which also extinguished the fire. He tried this several times. “At last he cried out to the boys that supper was ready, hut when we tried,” says Mr. Munger, to eat, we found that it was scarcely warmed through, so we ate it raw. It did not do me much good, for in a few minutes I vomited it all up.” On the second day, towards night, the wind changed to the northeast, blowing very hard, increasing every minute. They went for the boat and found her pounding on the rocks, and in a little while she would have gone to pieces. They got her off after a longtime by wading in the water; got her around the point to the south side out of danger. They now got ready to start, as the wind was fair, but the wind increased to such a gale that they were obliged to wait until morning, or until the gale went down. They laid in their boat in their wet clothes until morning. Says Mr Munger:—’I never slept a wink, but nearly froze to death.” When the morning came, the wind bad somewhat abated; still there was a heavy sea running. They then hoisted sail, and started for the Saginaw River. . When they reached the mouth, Michael Daily left them, and started for old Uncle Harvey Williams’, at the mouth of the Kawkawlin River. After proceeding up the Saginaw River two miles, they came to a little house on the side of the river, when Mr. Munger asked Parkerson who lived there, when Parkerson replied, “Trombley.” They had not gone far before they came to another house, when Munger again asked who lived there, when Parkerson replied, “Trombley.” They soon came to another, where the village of Banks now stands, when Mr. Munger says to Parkerson: “This is a comfortable looking house; Iguess we can get something to eat here. Who lives here?” when Parkerson replied: —“Trombley.’’ “My Lord,” says Mr. Munger, “is there no one but ‘Trombley’s in this country.” They proceeded on up the river, and soon came to the house of Mother McCormick’s, as Parkerson called her. This house is still standing, and is now called the Center House, on the corner of Twenty-fourth and Water Streets. Mr. Munger says: — “When we landed I was in my stocking feet, as my feet were so swollen by exposure that I could not get on my boots; so I say that when I first came to Bay City I was in my stocking feet; this was December 1, 1848. We were hospitably received by Mrs. McCormick, who did everything in her power to alleviate our sufferings, and whose kindness I shall never forget “ While here, Edwin Park and Mr. Munger took a contract for making fish barrels during the Winter after their return from Detroit, where they had to go to get their returns for their fish, which they had shipped from Thunder Bay Island. So they left Mrs. McCormick, and started for Detroit on foot. They crossed the Saginaw River on the ice at the elbow, and started up the bank of the river over the prairie, the snow and
water two feet deep most of the way to Zilwaukee, where they stayed all night. Mr. Munger says:—”This was the hardest day’s work I ever did; I never was so tired in all my life. The next day we started for Flint early, as there was not much of a road between Flint and Saginaw at this time. We met but one person this day between Flint and Saginaw, which was the mail carrier, with an Indian pony, with the mail strapped on his back. I called the attention of my comrade, Edwin Park, to see how nicely that pony would walk a log to keep out of the mud. We arrived that night at Flint. The next day we reached Pontiac, and the next day Detroit.” After settling his business in Detroit, he returned with Edwin Park to Lower Saginaw, and made it his home with Mrs. McCorrmick, and went at his contract with Edwin Park, making fish barrels, he continued working at the cooperage business for about two years. In the year 1850, Mr. Munger went into the grocery business on Water Street, between First and Second, under the name of Park & Munger, up to 1854, when Mr. Munger’s brother came on, joined the firm, when they enlarged their business, and went into a general stock of dry goods, groceries, etc., under the name of Munger & Co. In 1861 Mr. Edwin Park retired from the firm, and went into the hotel business. Their business became so large that they were obliged to build a more commodious building. They joined James Shearer in building the Shearer Block, corner of Water and Centre Streets, and moved into their new location in 1866, and commenced the exclusive business of dry goods. This building in. a few years became too small for their increasing business. They
He then commenced the erection of the Munger Block, on the corner of Saginaw and Centre Streets, with double stores for extensive dry goods, into which they removed in 1878. In 1874 they sold out to Messrs. Cooke & Co., and retired from active business, since which time Mr. Curtis Munger, with his brother, has devoted his time to taking charge of his large real estate. Mr. Munger has held many public offices in Bay City. He was the first president of the village council for two consecutive years. Was for two terms elected county treasurer of Bay County, and many other offices of public trust, all of which he has filled with the entire confidence of the public. There are few men that are more identified with the growth and prosperity of Bay City than Curtis Munger, and who are so invariably respected.
EDWIN PARK, one of the early pioneers of the Saginaw Valley, was born in Tioga County, N. Y., November 15, 1822, where he lived until 1842, when he came to Michigan and settled at Marengo, near Battle Creek, where he followed his trade of cooper. Alter working there for some time, and business getting dull, he went to Chicago, where he found work at his trade. He stayed there until January, when he went to Ottawa, on the Illinois River. where he worked at his trade until late in the Spring of the same year. Work getting scarce, he started on foot for Pontiac, Mich., where he found work at his trade until the following December. Work getting dull again, he went to Franklin, Mich., where he worked at his trade until 1846. He then went to Thunder Bay Island, on Lake Huron, to make fish barrels during the Summer of tile same year. From thence he went to Au Sable, and in order to build a shop he had to go to Devil River to procure lumber. This was the first building erected at the place. Here he worked until late in the Fall, when he, with five others, took their open sail boat and started for Detroit, as they could not stay all Winter in that isolated place, as there were no provisions to be had. They arrived in Detroit after a long and tedious voyage, being nearly ship-wrecked twice. It was a hazardous undertaking for five men in an open sail boat to cross the Saginaw Bay and down Lake Huron at that season of the year. Mr. Park said thirty-six years after that it was the hardest time he ever saw, and that he never expected to reach land alive. He stayed
in Detroit until the Spring of 1847, when he returned to the Au Sable, where he remained until the Fall, when he came to Lower Saginaw and with Mr. C. Munger wept into the coopering and fishing business. During this time, he and his partner, C. Munger, made their home with Mrs. McCormick, widow of James McCormick, the old pioneer who had died the year before, whose residence, on what is now the corner of Twenty-fourth and Water Streets, is still standing, and is what is called the Center House. Soon after this, he and C. Munger built a small store on Water Street, between Third and Fourth Streets, and went into the grocery trade in connection with their cooperage business. It was not long before they found their little store was too small to accommodate rapidly increasing trade; they then had to build a larger store which they filled with a general assortment of hardware, dry goods, groceries, liquors, and drugs, when he· took A. S. Munger as a partner. This was in 1854, and from that time the firm of Munger & Park was changed to Munger & Co., up to 1861, when Mr. Park withdrew from the firm ·and went into the hotel business as landlord of the Wolverton House, up to 1862. Previously he had made a contract for making the first salt barrels in Bay County, and he refrained from hotel business in order to fulfill the same and other contracts. Some time after, he with C. McDowell purchased the corner of Third and Water Streets and erected a fine brick block. They then went into the wholesale liquor trade for eight years, when he gold out and went into the tug and barge business in carrying lumber from the Saginaw Valley to eastern and western ports.
JONATHAN SMITH BARCLAY, more familiarly called Uncle ‘John, was born in Northumberland County, Penn., August 8, 1808. When sixteen years old he went to Mauch Chunk, where he learned the trade of mill-wright. When twenty-two years old he went to Tamaqua, Schuylkill County, to build railroad. From there he went to Pottsville, where he worked at his trade six or seven years; thence to Lycoming County to build a furnace. When finished he started for Rochester, N. Y., hearing there was a great demand for mill-wrights at that place. Here he stayed two years, helping to build some of the largest flouring mills there. At this time the war between Texas and Mexico was raging, so he with a party of young men started as volunteers for Texas, but when they reached Cleveland, Ohio, news came that Santa Ana was taken and had surrendered to the Texans. At this time, the Toledo war had broken out concerning the boundary line between Ohio and Michigan, so instead of going to Texas, he with sixteen others took a boat to Monroe. When they landed, Gov. Mason was removing his troops. After the review was over, he with his party of sixteen went to the Governor and offered him their services, which he declined, saying he had nothing to feed them, and no arms to am! them with. He then started for Detroit, where he stayed a few days and started on foot for Jackson and from there to Albion, looking for work, but found none. He then went to Tekonsha where he took a contract to build a saw mill and afterwards a hotel. He stayed there three years, when’ he returned to Albion to help build the first flour mill, and tended it for five years. While here he was elected justice of the peace, which duty he attended for years, besides occasional pettifogging suits. He was also appointed agent for the Michigan Central Railroad, which position he held four or five years. During this time he married Miss Sarah Ann Sweeney; he then moved to Detroit and kept the Michigan Central Eating House in the depot for the accommodation of passengers. He then went into company with a man by the name of Hiram McKain, in a. general assortment for a country store, which they wore to start at Lower Saginaw, now Bay City. They purchased their stock and started for. Lower Saginaw, where they arrived the 20th of December, 1849.
This was the second store in Bay City. They had not been. long in the business when he and his partner dissolved, Barclay taking the groceries and his partner the dry goods. After a while his business increased so that he had to build a larger store, when he sold his store and goods to Park &. Munger, and commenced building the Wolverton House, on the corner of Third and Water Street, which he kept fifteen years, during which time he was very extensively engaged in the fishing business on the Saginaw Bay. In 1856 and 1861 was sheriff of Bay County; afterwards he devoted a great deal of his time to his large grape yard and peach orchard on the Bay shore. At an early day Mr. Barclay traded extensively with the Indians, as many of the early settlers in this new country were in the habit of doing. He also run a stage between Lower Saginaw and Alpena, and experienced all the hardships incident to pioneer life. He and his wife are still living in Bay City, hale and hearty and surrounded by children. Mr. Barclay has always been one of the foremost men of Bay City; always upright in his dealings with his fellow man; his word is as good as his bond.
THOMAS CARNEY, Sr., was born at Laudport, England, 1814. In 1888 he emigrated to America, and until 1862 was sailing on the lakes. In 1887 he was married, in Canada, to Miss Mary Roach, a native of Canada. In 1849 they settled in Bay City. In 1850 Mr. Carney built a house on the corner of Washington and Fifth, at that time the only house on the street. They lived in that house for twenty years. Mr. Carney bought village property, built houses and speculated quite extensively in real estate for several years, and still owns city property which he rents. In 1862 Mr. Carney left the lakes, and since that time has occupied himself chiefly with his property interests. He has occasionally taken contracts for public improvements, such as the Tuscola and State plank roads. Mrs. Carney is a most estimable woman, and at an early day, her kindness of heart was often manifested in times of sickness and suffering. Mr. Carney is an enthusiastic supporter of the temperance cause, and is one of the leading members of the Red Ribbon Club. They have had six children, only two of whom are now living, B. J. and W. E. Carney, both lumber dealers in Bay City.
ALEXANDER McKAY settled in Lower Saginaw in 1849. He was born in Inverness, Scotland, September 16, 1816, and emigrated to this country in 1849. He was in the clothing business until 1858, and after that time was in the employ of the late James Fraser, assisting in superintending his vast lumbering operations until 1868. He was ~then in the employ of the Flint & Pere Marquette Railroad Company for some time, but for a long time has not been in active business. When he came to what is now Bay City, it was a comparative wilderness. He helped clear the land where the city now stands, make the first streets and build the first sidewalks. He built the residence he now occupies on the corner of Sixth and Monroe Streets, in 1868, when all that lo3ality was stump land. He was married February 9, 1888, at Inverness, Scotland, to Ann Fraser, daughter of Alexander Fraser, of that place, and sister of the late James Fraser, of this city. They have four children, two sons and two daughters.
CHARLES B. COTTRELL first visited Lower Saginaw in 1850, and settled here in 1854. He was born in Cottrellville, St. Clair Co., Mich., July 81, 1829. His grandfather was one of the earliest pioneers of that region, and from him the place took its name. Charles remained at home until sixteen years of age, when he went away to provide for himself. He lived for a time with an uncle at Port Huron, attending school Summers and teaching Winters. Afterwards he attended, the Romeo Academy for two years. About 1850 he went as clerk on the steamboat “Columbia,” and that year saw what has since become Bay City, for the first time. From 1852 to 1854
he kept books for the late Capt. E. B. Ward, in Detroit, and was going as clerk on the steamer “Detroit,” but while on his way to meet the boat it sank, and he came back to Bay City as Capt. Ward’s agent. After locating here he formed a partnership with Julius B. Hart, and they kept the warehouse and were agents for the line of boats. The warehouse stood on the present site of the Maxwell Block. In 1855 he went out of the warehouse, and, in company with his brother, kept a general store. In 1859 they removed to Sebewaing, Huron Co., and continued business about a year. Charles then sold to his brother. He was elected register of deeds of Huron County, and held the office two years. Was then appointed to transcribe the records of Sanilac and Tuscola Counties, Was elected county treasurer, and held the office for eight years. Upon his retiring from the office, the Board of Supervisors passed the following resolution, by a unanimous vote
“Whereas, a few evil-disposed persons have, from sinister motives, circulated reports derogatory to the reputation of the present county treasurer of this county, and
“Whereas, such reports have been, by a close scrutiny, rigid investigation and full report of the condition of the county tr&3asury. branded as false and unfounded;
“Therefore, be it resolved, that we hereby express our full approval of the honest, faithful and able manner in which C. B. Cottrell has discharged the duties of the office of treasurer of this county for the term of eight years last past, as a just tribute to an able official.”
In 1868 Mr. Cottrell was elected county superintendent of schools. In 1878 he resigned that office and returned to Bay City, and engaged in insurance, which he still continues, doing a very large and prosperous business. He is a very prominent member of the Masonic fraternity, and one of the oldest Masons in the city. He was married May 27, 1869, to Miss Bettie Rogers, daughter of the late Thomas Rogers, one of the early pioneers of Bay County. Their family residence since 1875 has been on the corner of Eighth and Farragut Streets. Mr. Cottrell is something of a linguist, speaking quite an assortment of Indian dialects, and is said to be the best story-teller in the Valley.
COL. HENRY RAYMOND was one of the early lumber manufacturer , and for many years a prominent citizen of Bay City. He was born at Woodstock, Vt., in 1802. After spending two or three years in the vicinity of Detroit, lie came to Bay City in 1849, and the following year associated himself with Mr. James Watson, and they built the saw mill afterwards owned and operated by James Shearer. He was connected with various business interests and was the first representative of Bay County in the Legislature. During the war he was one of the provost-marshal’s staff, and for several years was collector of internal revenue. In 1870 his health had so far failed that he was obliged to seek a different climate, and since that time he has been a resident of California. Col. Raymond was married August, 1827, to Miss Mary Alvord, of Massachusetts. Six children were born to them, four of whom are still living—Mrs. Benjamin Whipple, Mrs. Frank Crandall and Mrs. H. C. Moore of Detroit, and Col. Henry S. Raymond, of Bay City. The latter has been a resident of Bay City since 1851. In 1862 he went into the army with Company F, Twenty-Third Infantry, and served with distinction until the close of the war. He enlisted with the rank of captain, and by promotion reached the rank of lieutenant-colonel. He held the office of postmaster from 1861 to 1870. Since 1862 he has been in the news and stationery business. His store is now at 810 Water street. He has a wife and two children.
JAMES WATSON also came in 1850. He had long been known as a merchant of Detroit of the firm of J. & J. Watson, and determined to seek a location for his business in some of the new prospective cities of the state. In seeking a point at which to locate, his steps
were directed to the Saginaw Valley. He came to Saginaw City, where he met his old time friend, James Fraser, who, being desirous of securing an acquisition to the business interests of the Valley, descanted freely on all the advantages that town possessed; for at that time Saginaw City was the only town in the Valley where there was any show for business. After looking the ground over at that point, they came together to this part on the river. Mr. Watson’s remarks were few but his foresight keen. After satisfying himself and selecting such pieces of property as he desired to purchase, he told Mr. Fraser he had determined to locate here if he could make such terms as lie proposed. Mr. Fraser being agreeably surprised to hear such a determination expressed, readily acceded to Mr. Watson’s terms, and a bargain was soon consummated. With other property Mr. Watson purchased the dock and warehouse which was then standing at the foot of Center Street. The warehouse was soon converted into a store and filled with one of the largest stocks of goods that had ever been brought into the Valley. This was late in the Fall of 1850, and some of Mr. Watson’s friends expressed surprise that he should have purchased so large a stock of goods for such an out-of-the-way place, but before the breaking up of Winter Mr. Watson bad to send six teams to Detroit each to bring a load of goods to supply the demand. (It must be remembered that at this time in Winter the only method of transporting merchandise to points north of Pontiac, was by teams. About this time was the first revival of business in the Valley, after the great depression in 1837 and 1838. A large amount of furs were brought to market, the fishing business was carried on quite extensively and the lumber business was just commencing. Mr. Watson was interested with Co1. Henry Raymond in the lumber business—their mill being that afterward owned by James Shearer & Co., it having been built by Co1. Raymond in 1850. Mr. Watson retired from the mill and carried on other branches of business, never forgetting to purchase real estate whenever an opportunity presented itself. By that means and through his indomitable energy and excellent business qualifications, he was one of the leading men of the Valley.
DR. GEORGE E. SMITH was the first male physician who settled at Lower Saginaw and remained in practice for any considerable length of time. He came to Saginaw in 1887, where he learned the printer’s trade. His health failing he tried sailing with his brother, Capt. l)avid Smith, and received a satisfactory amount of experience by being shipwrecked on the Canada shore. He then returned to Saginaw and studied medicine with Dr. George Davis, and finally graduated at the Cleveland Medical College. In 1850 he came to Lower Saginaw and was for a time the only physician in the vicinity. he continued in practice until about 1861, when he turned his attention to other branches of business. He was engaged in the manufacture of lumber and salt, and in the grocery business with B.B. Hart. He kept the first drug store in the place, and was postmaster from 1853 to 1861. It was during his administration that the name of the office was changed from Hampton to Bay City. In 1878 he retired from business and resumed the practice of medicine as his health would permit. He is still a much respected citizen of Bay City.
JESSE M. MILLER, one of the well known men in Bay City, is a native of Pennsylvania, and settled in Bay City in 1850. He had a brother-in-law living in Oakland County, and first went there and stopped with him. From there he wandered into the Saginaw Valley and stuck fast in the unpromising locality, since transformed into a beautiful city. At an early day he bought a tract of land just east of the present city limits, and cleared it up. It became a valuable farm, and he held it until 1881, when he sold it. When he first came to this region he says he worked for six or eight shillings a day and laid tip something. He carried the first regular daily mail between Lower Saginaw and Saginaw. In the Fall he would take. his pony and ride to a squatter’s hut a little distance from the village. There he would leave the pony, and taking the mail on ha back, would proceed on foot to Saginaw, and from there return in the afternoon. It was no easy task in those days to make the journey on foot in the Fall, whei4 the traveler would sink nearly to his knees in the half frozen mud; but the early settlers were inured to hardships, and accomplished many things that almost stagger the belief of people in these latter days. Mr. Miller had the contract for carrying the mail until 1862. From 1874 to 1882 he held the office of justice of the peace, and has always been prominent in public affairs. He has been an active advocate of temperance, and of all social and political reforms. In the Fall of 1882 he was-the candidate for Congress on the Greenback ticket, and made an active canvass of the district. He now devotes his time to looking after his private interests, and to matters of public reform.
CHARLES E. JENNISON is another of the pioneers of 1850. He was born in Louisiana in 1829. Came North in 1884, and his parents lived in Brooklyn until 1841, when they removed to Danville, Penn. In 1850 Mr. Jennison came to Lower Saginaw, now Bay City, to go into the mercantile business in company with the late James Fraser. After continuing in the partnership for about eighteen months he purchased Mr. Fraser’s interest, and continued the business alone till 1854, at which time he was joined by his brother, the late H. V. Jennison. After that the business was enlarged and carried on under the name of C. E. Jennison & Bro., till the death of the brother, which occurred in 1864. He was cut off in the vigor of his manhood and usefulness, and the people of Bay City felt that they had been called upon to part with one of the most useful and prominent members of society. Mr. Jennison continued to be more or less interested in the hardware and stove business until about 1870, when. he was burned out, and has not been actively interested in mercantile pursuits since that time, though he is at present a member of the hardware firm of Tousey & Jennison. During the continuance of his successful mercantile business he was wise enough to invest all the surplus profits in real estate, which has made him one of the most successful business men in the Saginaw Valley, and perhaps the wealthiest in Bay City. Mr. Jennison’s sterling business qualifications have served greatly to promote the interests of the city, and it is hoped they will long continue to do so. He was president of the Bridge Company for several years, and is vice-president of the Pipe Works. He built the Jennison Block on Water Street in 1870. In 1851 lie built a dwelling house on the corner of Center and Washington Streets. At that time there were no improvements in that part of the town, and beyond where the Court House now stands was thick forest. He rebuilt his house in 1864, and at the present time is building one of the finest residences in the city, on the corner of Ninth and Jackson Streets. He has made three additions to the city, and is interested in one other. He devotes his entire time to the management of his large real estate and other interests. He has a family consisting of a wife and six children. Mrs. Jennison is a daughter of the late Hon. James G. Birney, of national fame. Mr. Jennison is one of the men whose faith in a prosperous future for Bay City has been strong from the very first. He began early to invest in real estate, and always advised men in his employ to do the same with what means they could save. The correctness of his judgment has long since been demonstrated.
WILLIAM CATLIN, deceased, was born February 26, 1817, in the town of Catharine, and what was then Chemung County, N. Y., and in May, 1849, he, with his family, started for Lower Saginaw, (as it was then called), Mich. They came by water to Detroit, expecting to take a boat at that place and come the rest of the way,
but after waiting a few days, decided to take the cars, which only brought then eighteen miles, when they took the stage as far as Pontiac, where they hired a private conveyance to bring them— through to Upper Saginaw, the roads being so rough the men were obliged frequently to lift the wagon wheels out- of the ruts to get along at all. Upon arriving at that place they made their way to a hotel kept by Mr. Jewett, where they remained a day or two, when they again proceeded on their journey, taking passage on the first steamboat running on the Saginaw River—and that as yet unfinished. Upon arriving at their place of destination they were met by his brother, Israel Catlin, and were taken to his home, where they enjoyed a good rest after a tiresome journey, and as soon as a house could be got in readiness, moved into a home of their own, situated where the Munger Block now stands. Mr. Catlin being a good sawyer, he soon found employment in a mill owned by Hopkins & Co., and afterwards worked in a mill at Portsmouth, for McCormick & Miller. But himself and family were sick a greater part of the time, and after remaining a little over a year, at the earnest solicitation of friends East, they returned to their former home in the state of New York. After the war broke out he, like thousands of other loyal men, felt it his duty to take up arms in deference of his country, and enlisted in Company A, Fifth Regiment, New York Volunteers, was wounded in battle and went home, remaining with his family several weeks, when being so much improved, he returned to the hospital in Annapolis, Md., but after a few weeks was taken sick with pneumonia, and died January 18, 1865. In 1872,-his widow, with her children, came to Bay City, where they now reside, with the exception of her daughter, wife of W. W. Hodgkins, who died August 24, 1882.
JOHN DRAKE is one of the early mill men of Bay County. He is a native of Scotland, and emigrated to Canada in 1884. In June, 1851, he started with his brother James and a hired man, from Delaware, near London, (in Canada West, the Province was then called,) and came to Port Huron, where they purchased a small sail boat, hired a boatman to manage it, provided themselves with a tent and supplies, and commenced a coasting voyage along the shores of Lake Huron and the Saginaw Bay, Lower Saginaw being their point of destination, at which place they arrived after six days’ sailing, with many narrow escapes from capsizing their little craft, which proved to be a crank affair, and afterwards caused disaster to others by capsizing in the river. Mr. Drake’s object in coming to Michigan was to engage in- the lumber business, and on his arrival at Lower Saginaw he laided his boat at the dock of the Dunlap Mill, (now Gate’s & Pay’s) And the first person he encountered on the shore was the late James Fraser, who, under the circumstances, was the very man he should first become acquainted with in the Valley, Mr. Drake being a native of Scotland, which was of itself sufficient to interest Mr. Fraser in his behalf; but when the object of Mr. Drake’s coming to the Saginaw Valley was made known, Mr. Fraser became doubly interested, as he was always on the alert to induce capital and business to center in this locality. Mr. Drake spent some time in viewing the different localities on the river, making several trips to the towns on the upper portion of the river where many tempting offers were made him of property for a mill site, but he rejected them all, and finally selected the point (now in West Bay City) where the well known Drake Mill now stands. In two different negotiations he purchased from Mrs. Birney, wife of the late James G. Birney, the forty-four acre tract which is contiguous to the mill, with eighty rods of river front for about $1,400, not a bad bargain when we take into consideration the present value of the property, which would probably be estimated at $150,000. He completed the mill and operated it until 1853, when he sold it to Kibbie, Whittemore & Co.
Mr. Drake removed his family to Lower Saginaw (now Bay City) in November, 1852, and has been a resident of this locality since that time, except two years, which he spent in Detroit. Not being satisfied to give up the lumber business entirely, Mr. Drake run the Zilwaukee Mill during the years of 1856 and 1857, and the little mill at Portsmouth during 1857. Since Mr. Drake’s retirement from the lumber business he has held positions of trust and honor under the government of the United States, and has been engaged most of the time in the insurance business, and is now in that occupation. Since his residence here he has been identified with the material interests of the place, and enjoys to a high degree the esteem and confidence of the community.
GEORGE LORD one of the pioneers of Bay County, and one who has done much to advance its prosperity, settled in Lower Saginaw, now Bay City, in the Winter of 1854. He was born in Hamilton, Madison Co., N. Y., March 17, 1815. Attracted by the lumbering interests of the Saginaw Valley, he’ emigrated westward, and reached this then wilderness in February, 1854. He built the mill known as the Keystone Mill on the west side and operated it until 1860, when he sold out and went into the drug business on the corner of Center and Water Streets, which lie continued until burned out in 1865. After the fire he started another store which he continued a few years, when he sold out and went into the insurance business. Subsequently he became ticket and passenger agent of the Michigan Central Railroad Company, and continued in that capacity until the present year. His present business is insurance. He was supervisor of the township of Hampton before Bay County was organized. The township of Hampton at that time comprised what is now Bay City, West Bay City and all the shore counties as far north as the Sable River, so that his constituency was scattered over quite an expanse of territory. After Bay City was incorporated be was elected comptroller, which office he held for five terms; was chairman of the Board of Supervisors four terms, and mayor of the city one term. At the expiration of his term of office as mayor, he was nominated on the Democratic state ticket for commissioner of state land office, but was defeated with the rest of- the ticket. He was also candidate for state senator against Hon. H. H. Jerome, since Governor, but was again defeated. Mr. Lord was married in 1840 at Hamilton, N. Y., to Miss C. D. Fay, sister of W. L. Fay, of Bay City. They have three children living, two boys and one girl. Mr. Lord was one who entered into the pioneer life in all its phases with great activity. There are few records of jokes and lively experience in the early times in which he does not appear as a participant. Some of these appear in another part of this work. But while enjoying these episodes of life he has ever been an active participant in the industries and prosperity of the city and county.
PHILIP SIMON is a native of Germany, and emigrated to America in 1848. After stopping about a year at Syracuse, N. Y., he came to Bay City, or Lower Saginaw as it wa3 then called. This was in 1849. After settling here lie worked in the mills for about a year, and then started a meat market, the first permanent market started in the place. It was located on the ground where Mr. Kittridge’s shoe store now stands, at the corner of Center and Saginaw Streets. He built a frame dwelling, using part of it for his market, and the remaining portion he used as a hotel, which was called the Bay City House. lie afterwards engaged in the mercantile business in the same block. He continued in the market until about 1857, and in the store until 1868. He built and still owns the block of buildings on Center Street, extending west from Saginaw Street. In 1864 he built his present residence at the corner o1 Twelfth and Madison Streets. When in the meat business he purchased twenty-five acres of land in that locality at a nominal
price, for his slaughter house. When he built his .residence, it was in a wild region just bordering upon a swamp. The nearest buildings were a few shanties on Washington Street. Now, however, it is located in a delightful part of the city, and his property is very valuable. He still owns a large number of lots which are a part of the original purchase. By his industry and prudence, assisted by a good wife, he acquired a handsome property during his business career. For several years he has not been engaged in active business, but has occupied himself with his property interests. For some time he has been out of health and unable to get about. His family consists of a wife and twelve children.
CHRISTOPHER HEINZMANN is a native of Germany. When he was about fifteen years of age his parents emigrated to America, and settled in Ann Arbor, where they remained until their death. In the Winter of 1849 Christopher came to Bay City, or Lower Saginaw, as it was then called. At first he worked in the mills, then he bought land and cleared it, and then went into business. He went first into the meat business, and was very successful. At an early day he built a frame hotel called the Forest City House, on the corner of Saginaw and Sixth Streets, where Sherman’s livery stable now stands. That building was afterwards burned. The present Forest City House, on Washington Street, he bought when the building was much smaller than now, and used for a boarding house.. He put the property in excellent shape for hotel purposes, and kept it until the Winter of 1882. His present residence at the corner of Twelfth and Madison Streets lie built in 1872. He has several houses which he rents, and now busies himself looking after and enjoying the property he accumulated during the active years of his life. He has helped build up the city, and has witnessed all the wonderful changes that have taken place.
THE Mc EWANS.
WILLIAM McEWAN is one of the pioneers of 1850. He was born in Glasgow, Scotland, in the. year 1828, and emigrated to this country in 1848. In the Fall of 1850 he settled in Lower Saginaw. His brother, Alexander, had come with him, and they built a mill, since known as the McEwan Mill, and still in operation upon the original site near the northern limits of the city. In 1851 another brother, John, came and went into business with them. In 1858 Alexander died, and the business was continued by William and John. Mr. William McEwan continued in the lumber business until within a few years, when he retired to give attention to his· extensive real estate interests. In 1858 he married Miss Annie F. Fraser, daughter of James Fraser. In 1859 he built their present residence on Center Street. At that time the site, now so attractive and delightful, was desolate enough, being covered with stumps, through which wound a tortuous path to the forest just beyond. Mr. McEwan and his brother built and operated the first grist mill in the Saginaw Valley. Mr. McEwan has been active in building up the city. In 1869 he built a brick business block on Water Street, another on Center Street in 1875, and still another on Washington Street in 1881. The latter is an especially handsome building. Aside from these he has extensive real estate interests in the city and county. He has been connected with most of the public improvements that have been made in the county. He is president of the Bay City Gas Company at the present time.
JOHN McEWAN died in Bay City, January 26, 1882. He was born in Glasgow, Scotland, in the year 1825. In 1846 he married Miss Margaret Pollock, who still survives him. In 1848 they came to this country with the two brothers, William and Alexander. Upon reaching New York, he had an opportunity to take a voyage as engineer on the steamship “Unicorn,” then about to start for California he accepted the position, and was absent about two years. In 1851 he settled in Lower Saginaw, his wife having come with William and Alexander. He then ‘went into business as already stated, and continued it until his death. His wife and six children survive him. He was a prompt and successful business man.
The business is continued by three eons, William, John and Alexander, who are young men of excellent business habits, and successful in their operations.
W. L. FAY settled in Lower Saginaw in 1854, coming from New York State. Upon coming here he took an interest with Mr. George Lord in the lumber business, but in a short time went into the mercantile business with B. B. Hart. In 1860 he engaged in the manufacture of lumber with C. W. Grant, the firm being Grant & Fay. This firm continued until 1863, when the mill burned. Mr. S. G. M. Gates then purchased Mr. Grant’s interest in the real estate, and the firm became Gates & Fay. The mill was rebuilt and the firm continued until about a year ago, when Mr. Fay, having accumulated a fortune, retired. Mr. Fay was president of the village in 1861, mayor of the city in 1868; and has held several other local offices. He is a native of Hamilton~ Madison Co., N. Y.
RICHARD PADLEY was born in England in 1824. Emigrated to the United States in 1852, coming direct to Bay City. Tie at first worked in saw mills and on a pile driver. In 1857 he bought a farm on the Tuscola plank road, which he worked, but did not live on it, residing in the city. Selling the farm, he went into the shingle business with the late Theodore Walker, continuing in it four or five years. He then again went into farming in the township of Bangor. He has built a number of houses in Bay City. Was one of the founders of Trinity Episcopal Society. Has been an alderman two terms, on school board two years, and a supervisor for seven years in all. Has a family of a wife and one daughter.
JOSEPH TROMBLEY is a native of Quebec, and settled in Bay City in 1849. When a young man he learned the carpenter trade, and has followed it since coming here. In 1861 he built a frame dwelling on Center Street where the Cranage Block now stands, and in 1862 built five dwelling houses on Woodside Avenue. Mr. Trombley is of French descent, and has accumulated considerable property during his residence. in Bay City. In 1874 he built a substantial brick block on the corner of Third and Monroe Streets, which he still owns. He has been an industrious man, and by his labor has contributed liberally and materially to the growth of the city. He owns several buildings in the city which are rented for dwellings and business purposes. He has a wife and four children. One of his daughters is an artist of considerable talent.