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INDUSTRIAL ENTERPRISES NOT ELSEWHERE CLASSIFIED.
Wool Manufacture; Tailoring; Millinery; Dressmaking; Shirts and Underwear; Watches and Jewelry; Carriage and House Painting and Decorating; Lime and Cement; Brick, Tile and Sewer Pipe; Marble--Stone Cutting; Pottery; Saleratus; Soap and Candles; Bakeries; Confectioners; Leather Manufacture; Boot and Shoe Making; Felt Boots and Shoes; Saddle, Harness and Trunk Making; Leather Belting and Hose; Cooperage; The Waters Barrel Works; Stave Works; Box Making; Pail and Tub Manufacture; Bowls, Clothespins, Faucets; Wooden Shoes; Cigars and Tobacco; Inventions; Fire Ladder and Truck; Dust Blowers; Base Ball and Croquet Sets; Portable Houses; Boat Builders; Show Cases; Hoop Skirt Making; Saw Works; Oil Refining; Wooden Pumps; Billiard Tables; The Bottling Business; Gravel and Felt Roofs; General Wood-Work Shop; Aldine Fire-Place; Flavoring Extracts; Ice and Fuel; Spices and Other Condiments; Grease Refinery; Alabastine; Diamond Wall Finish
Joseph Houseman, Simeon L. Baldwin, Alexander Matheson, William Sears, Herbert Morton Reynolds
This branch of business started briskly and under what seemed to be favorable auspices in 1843, but has dwindled almost to an extinct industry here. In the year just mentioned, Stephen Hinsdill set up machinery for wool carding, cloth dressing and the making of satinets, in one end of the building then known as the "big mill," on the east bank of the river a short distance above Bridge street. Mr. Hinsdill was a descendant of a family of sturdy Yorkshire "dalesmen," who came from England near the end of the seventeenth century and settled in Connecticut. Before coming to Michigan he had been engaged in wool manufacture in Vermont, where he was one of those who suffered by the great financial revulsion of 1837; but, possessed of the energetic and persevering spirit of his ancestors, he came to Grand Rapids with the determination to try again, and started resolutely in this enterprise, and the early settlers of the valley rejoiced over the prospect of having a good home market for wool. His factory was in operation in 1844, with several looms running. The business was continued by himself or under leases for several years. Mr. Hinsdill died in 1848, and his "Grand Rapids Woolen Factory" was afterward purchased by Truman H. Lyon, who continued and increased the work making besides satinets, cassimeres, flannels and other cloths of very good quality. Mr. Lyon afterward built a new factory, into which he moved the machinery in 1851, and in 1853 disposed of the business to D. P. Nickerson, who soon afterward abandoned it, and the works went into other hands. Later, several other parties tried their luck at cloth making, with but indifferent success; among them John E. Earle & Co., James D. Lyon, J. Edward Earle,
and George M. Huntly; the factories being situated on or near the east side canal. The Earles began in 1867, and were in the business about seven years. Mr. Huntly came to Grand Rapids in 1856, and at first engaged simply in wool carding and cloth dressing, but in the following years put in machinery for manufacturing fulled cloth and flannels, which he operated until about 1868, when his mills were burned. These were in a large building erected by him about 1865, in partnership with Allen P. Collar, Robert Hilton and others, on the bank of the river opposite Erie street.
The other branch of wool working---carding and cloth dressing---has been followed more or lest continuously since the spring of 1844, when, immediately after the starting of the Hinsdill factory, John W. Squier set up machinery for the purpose, in what were then called the Kent Mills, between Canal street and the canal, a short distance below Bridge street. Mr. Squier operated with but moderate success for only a few months, and then disposed of his machinery to Stephen Hinsdill. Following these have been engaged in the wool carding and cloth dressing business, Powers & Ball, in 1854, S. G. Noyes, in 1858, Pew Brothers & Co., in 1859, the Earles and James D. Lyon afterward, Albert Amsden & Son from 1876 for two or three years, and since 1880 Samuel G. Stadon, whose establishment has been at 72 West Bridge street, and is about all that remains to represent what in the beginning promised to develope an extensive manufacturing interest. The Kent Woolen Mills, owned by John E. Earle, were burned January 1, 1873, the machinery and inner part of the building being destroyed.
The sewing machine was unknown in the days when this city was young. Nobody had then dreamed of the ingenious apparatus which was to supplant the needle and the deft fingers of our grandmothers, and nearly end the wearisome stitch, stitch, stitch, which absorbed a great portion of their lives. For the first dozen years of the town's existence, most of the tailoring in the village as well as the country about was done in the households. Ordinary or "everyday" clothing was oftener than otherwise the product of the fingers, scissors and needles of the mothers and daughters of the land, than of the professional tailor's art, and the garments were made in the intervals of cooking, washing and house-cleaning, or by the dim light of a candle in the night time. If the fits were not always neat and smooth and close, the wear was such as is not often equealed in these days of shoddy and loop-stitch, slop-shop devices. Tailors who could make a living at their trade in those days were comparatively few, and dependent chiefly upon those who could afford to wear broadcloth coats, or upon an occasional suit for a minister or lawyer, and now and then a wedding outfit; for people who lived to middle age then had the habit of marrying once or twice in the course of their lives, if not as often as is the fashion at the present day.
The man having the credit of being the first to sit "cross-legged like a Turk" upon the tailor's bench in Grand Rapids, back stitching the seams of coats, vests and pantaloons, was Charles H. Taylor, who came here in 1836, and worked at that trade for many years. Later, in political life, he did some very good work for his country, filling several county offices with credit and ability, and at one time was Secretary of State ( the fist chosen under the Constitution of 1850).
Other tailors in succession during the village days were Harvey K. Rose and William A. Blackney, on Kent street, and on Monroe street, John Mathison, Justin M. Stanly, J. C. Lowell, Benjamin S. Hanchet, Edward S. Marsh and James W. Sligh. Of these, Stanly, Hanchet and Marsh are yet (1889) living amongst us, all retired from that business except Stanly, who is one of the clothing firm of Stanly & Schroeder, on Monroe street. Marsh lives quietly in a modest home, as does also Hanchet, who was at one time engaged in the river transportation business, and has besides spent some years in mercantile life.
In the spring of 1844, Mr. Taylor advertised: "The rascally tailors charge such outrageous prices for making clothes, I offer assortment of superior ready-made clothing: Vests from $1 to $3.50; pants from $1.75 to $4; coats from $2 to $7." Since the coming in of the sewing machine era, practical tailoring with the needle and thimble has been superseded largely, though there are yet hundreds who earn a living in the putting together of garments for the manufacturing houses, doing the main part of the work by the machine and putting on the finishing touches with a needle. This involves a crowding out of small tailor shops, and but few nowadays are able to live by cutting and making single suits to order, direct for their customers.
About forty years ago, stores for the sale of ready made clothing made their appearance, among the early dealers in that line being, Julius Houseman, Lewis Porter, Carlos Burchard, and Porter & Sligh. Since the war period, a considerable number of exclusive clothing houses have grown up, some of them to establishments in size and appointments equal to any in the country. Among the latter are those of Houseman, Donnally & Jones, Leonard Benjamins and George W. Woodburn, on Monroe street; the Tower Clothing Company, corner of Monroe and Pearl; Levi's Star Clothing on Canal street, and T. W. Strahan, West Bridge street. The investment or capital employed in the manufacture of clothing is upward of $100,000, yielding an annual product of about twice that amount, and giving work to nearly 150 employes.
The Housemans, Stanly & Schroeder and E. S. Pierce carried on for something more than a quarter of a century what might be termed a wholesale tailoring business (and a few others were in the trade nearly as long), giving work to a large number of operatives, of both sexes.
JOSEPH HOUSEMAN, merchant, was born February 13, 1832, at Zeckendorf, District of Upper Franconia, in the Kingdom of Bavaria. His father was a clothes manufacturer. Joseph, who was an only son, after receiving a liberal education at his native place, followed the business of his father for some years. The failure of the revolutionary effort of 1848 threw a damper upon the spirits of the progressive young men of Germany. Having lost all hope of ever realizing in the Fatherland their dreams of liberty, many ardent and adventurous youths followed the example of Carl Schurz, Franz Sigel and others, and , turning their eyes westward, sought a realization of their hopes in the United States. The subject of this sketch was one of those, and when he reached his majority he at once bade farewell to the Fatherland. Arriving in this country in July, 1853, he came immediately to Michigan, where his cousin, Julius Houseman, had preceded him. In 1854 he visited Grand Rapids, and came to reside at this place permanently in 1857. Here in that year, in company with Julius Houseman, he engaged in mercantile business, in which he has remained almost continuously, and is at the time of this writing the senior member of the firm in the extensive clothing establishment of Houseman, Donnally & Jones. Mr. Houseman married, September 21, 1858, Henriette, daughter of Abraham Rose, of Grand Rapids. Three children are the living issue of this marriage---Maurice M., of the law firm of Rutherford & Houseman; Henry L., with his father in business; and Helen, who is yet attending school. Mr. Houseman has always been noted for his love for America and American institutions; transferring to free America the affection which his liberal and progressive spirit could not accord to his native land; and he has ever been among the foremost in building up and promoting the interests of the city of his home, and takes an honest and pardonable pride in calling to mind his share in the work of the development and advancement of Grand Rapids. In public affairs and in politics Mr. Houseman has always exhibited a warm interest; yet, though often importuned by members of his party, has uniformly refused nomination for public office. But in non-political, educational, mercantile, business and social affairs, he has acceptably filled and still holds many positions of honor and trust. The more prominent of these at present are: Member of Board of Education, Director of the Grand Rapids National Bank, President of the Grand Rapids Building, Loan and Homestead Association, Director in the Valley City Building and Loan Association, Director and Treasurer of the Divison Street Gravel Road Company, Trustee of Temple Emanuel, and Trustee of Grand Rapids Lodge 238, I.O.B.B. These trusts and responsibilities involve the performance of many and various duties, besides giving strict personal attention to the management of his large business interests. Affable, modest and unassuming, Mr. Houseman prefers to be judged by his record rather than the laudations of interested or disinterested parties; but it is not too much at the present stage of his career to give voice to the general expression of esteem, and the hope that the coming years may fitly crown the life-work thus far so well modeled.
Among the women or girls of most families, when this town was started, were some who were handy with the needle and scissors, and without the Paris fashions they managed to be neatly and becomingly clad. But in a few years there was room for millinery as an art and a trade. In the fall of 1838 Mrs. Phebe Cramond (afterward Mrs. Leonard Terry), came to the place with her brother, Howard Jennings, and opened a milliner shop over the store at the corner of Monroe and Ottawa streets, where now is Wilson's drug store. Her first customer was Mrs. Myron Hinsdill. A few years later Mrs. Alice Twamley started a shop in a small wood building on Crescent avenue, about where now is the east end of the Grinnell block. In June, 1845, she was burned out there, suffering a total loss of everything except the clothes in which she and her children escaped from the flames. Kind neighbors quickly found her a roof and wherewith to begin anew. Hers is an example of marked success in the millinery line. After two or three removes she established a permanent and profitable business on premises which she had purchased at the northeast corner of Canal and Lyon streets, fronting the former. Here again she was tried by fire, but this time had accumulated some means, and erected a three-story brick block. This last also burned May 1, 1866, but the indomitable woman, who, by twenty years of close application and labor and careful savings, had worked her way from the verge of poverty to the ownership of a fine property, was again equal to the crisis, and rebuilt, this time a four-story block with the later improvements, which she subsequently extended to Kent alley. It is a success well earned, by steady industry and shrewdness and persistence; an example of woman's capacity and ability in business life.
Among others during the earlier days in the avocation of millinery and dressmaking, carrying on shops and employing assistants, were: Mrs. E. Pierson in 1850; Mrs. C. Sowden, Mrs. Sarah Sholz and Mrs. M. F. Woodward, prior to 1859. The demand and the workers to supply it increased rapidly after the war period. In 1873 there were at least three dozen shops contributing to the comfort and adornment of the ladies of the city, and the region about. Mrs. S. J. Sarsfield, Mrs. M. E. Antrim, Mrs. Nellie Buckley, Mrs. L. H. Canfield, Mrs. C. E. Edgecomb, Eliza Hall, Mrs. Richard Worm, Mrs. M. D. Ketchum, Mrs. B. M. Stowe and Mrs. Rose Coldren were then carrying on the trade, and John C. Kendall & Co. were manufacturing millinery on a large scale in connection with their mercantile business. And from sixteen upward in number have been these busy establishments ever since, giving employment to a multitude of nimble fingers in their art of skill and taste. Some of those above mentioned are yet in the trade; and some of the later ones are (in 1888), Adams & Co., R. H. Brennen, Denison & Wright, the Neal Sisters, and Miss Anna Minton, on Monroe; Mrs. Elise Bienemann, Mrs. E. J. Reynolds, Sarah Wood, and Mrs. F. W. Worfel, on Canal; Theodore Schultze on Ottawa; Mrs. H. Rich, on N. Front; Mrs. Sophia Winter on Broadway, and Mrs. E. C. Vincent and Mrs. M. E. Runyan on South Division street.
In the art of dress making the ladies of the city have been well supplied. From about half a dozen dressmakers in 1856 the number has increased to 115 and upward. In this trade it is useless to attempt particularization by names. It is enough to say that they are fully equal in taste, skill and expertness by comparison to those of any other community. Judging from their number, the fact is self-evident that they afford means of livelihood to a great many families. And no department of the productive arts is more necessary and useful than this of clothing for one-half the people. That the ladies of Grand Rapids have no superiors in matters of taste and economy in dress personal adornment the proof is abundant in their households and on every street.
Shirts and Underwear.
In the days when the the thimble, needle and thread and scissors constituted the sewing machinery, shirt making as a specialty was a trade very seldom followed. Many old people remember when their mothers, wives or sisters, stitch by stitch, and often by the dim light of a tallow candle, made shirts for the family, and perhaps now and then one for a neighbor, of cotton, tow cloth, or coarse flannel; the latter two often woven also by the same hands. The invention of the sewing machine revolutionized this, and tended to concentrate in fewer hands what was before almost as much everybody's work as washing dishes. The making of shirts as a business specialty in this part of the country is scarcely a quarter of a century old. Leonard C. Remington operated a small factory, near the foot of Monroe street in 1867. In 1875 he had removed to the Arcade. In the following year he was succeeded by Ball & Baxter (Orson A. Ball and Alfred Baxter), who transferred the business to Monroe street. Soon afterward the firm of Gardiner & Baxter, now at 55 Monroe street, was formed. They are apparently doing a brisk and profitable trade.
S. F. Kinsey, at No. 8 Pearl street, has been in the business several years, and gives employment to thirty hands, turning out about 350 shirts a week, amounting to about $29,000 a year.
Wm. M. Clark, 3 Pearl street, has seventeen employes and turns out an annual product of about $13,000.
Watches and Jewelry.
Aaron Dikeman came to Grand Rapids in 1837, and opened the first watch and jewelry shop in this State, west of Ann Arbor. His place of business was for many years on Monroe street, from which he moved to Canal street, and later in life he built the brick block now occupied as a jewelry store by his son, Edmund B. Dikeman. In 1846, Vernon Shaw, clock and watch-maker, opened a shop on Monroe street, which he operated for a few years. Wright L. Coffinberry came
in 1846, and started a watch and clock-making establishment on Monroe street near the head of Waterloo. He was also a surveyor and civil engineer, but carried on his trade of watch-making intermittingly for a considerable number of years on Monroe and Canal streets. Lysander Hill early in 1852 opened a jewelry and watch repairing shop, which he operated for a considerable time.
In 1850, William Preusser, a fine workman at the trade, came to Grand Rapids from Detroit, and started a jewelry and clock and watch-making establishment in a wooden building where Luce's block now stands. After three or four years he removed to Milwaukee, turning the establishment over to his son, Albert Preusser, who continued the craft, and has been for some thirty-five years a prominent jeweler, located for a quarter of a century near the foot of Monroe street on the north side, where he has worked up a very handsome trade.
Other jewelers here a quarter of a century ago and more, practical workers at the trade, were Charles E. Bolza, H. Brinsmaid, and N. T. Butler. In later years have come in Samuel D. Parks, George Canfield, Joseph C. Herkner, Edward J. Hervey, Antone Zierlyn, Joseph Eikhoff, Elon G. Eaton, William Pulte, J. F. Homan, Herman Yentsch, Fred C. Steglich, and several others with small shops. The jewelry business constitutes a trade of goodly proportions and profits in Grand Rapids, with a number of large and finely stocked stores.
Carriage and House Painting and Decorating.
Painting, glazing and paper-hanging and decorating are closely connected industries. Comparatively few of the pioneer people could afford an outlay much beyond a medium sized window with small panes, in the glazing line, and cheap, plain painting was the next luxury in which they indulged. But in a few years after the settlement here, some of the more forward ones began to "put on style" and live in painted houses. In the spring of 1837, in the first newspaper issued here, John Beach advertised himself as a "house, sign, carriage and ornamental painter, imitator of woods of every description, paper-hanger and glazier." His shop was at the foot of Monroe street, in the second story of Morrison's building, and he was then, doubtless, able to attend to the wants of the people in the painting line, when there were not probably more than fifty houses worth painting within ten miles. But to his brush was added that of Loren M. Page, who came to town the previous fall, and worked at painting, paper-hanging and glazing for fifty years, the longest steady service of the kind performed by any man in Grand Rapids. After these two came in the village days James T. Finney, Henry Tuttle, James Patterson, John O'Keefe, M. A. Colin, William H. Dickinson, Cyrus C. Bemis, Horace McClure, Julius N. Devendorf, Thomas W. Porter, and two or three others. One plain piece of work done by Mr. Page, is perhaps worth mentioning here. When, about 1851, Louis Campau built a lookout or observatory on his house, on Fulton street hill, and was about finishing it, he said, "I am pretty rich. I shall paper this room with money. Here is the money." He brought forward a stack of unsigned bills of the People's Bank, and with these Mr. Page papered the room. They were still on the walls when, a few years since, the house was removed to make room for a more pretentious modern dwelling. As the town has grown, so have the painters and decorators increased in number, and progressed in the excellence of their work, and there is probably no city in the Union adorned in handsomer style or better taste by their art than is Grand Rapids. It is needless to undertake to give names and locations of those at present engaged in these industries. They are scores, and the labor of their hands and brains gives subsistence to a large number of people.
Lime and Cement.
Grand Rapids is fortunate in the fact that so many of its resources for development and growth are either within its borders or close at hand. Lime is an article essential in building, and of this the home production is unexcelled. The limestone here is of the best quality and inexhaustible in quantity. The first limekiln here was built and operated by William McCausland, in 1834. It was on the bank of the river below Huron street. James McCrath and brother, for the Kent Company or Lyon & Sargeant, in 1835, built two kilns near the head of the rapids, on the West Side not far from where Fifth street comes to the river. The third limekiln was set up by William Morman, by the west bank of the river, between Eighth and Tenth streets, on land which in 1888 he sold to the Grand Rapids Veneer Works Company. Another kiln was built by James and Ebenezer Davis, near the junction of Leonard and Front streets, West Side, at an early day. John Berry made and sold lime in 1845. His kiln was a short distance above Bridge street, East Side. In 1855 Horatio Brooks was operating a "perpetual lime burner" near the head of the rapids, East Side. In 1859 Warren H. and G. R. Congdon were in the business, their places of manufacture being on the West Side, and from that time for nearly twenty years, Morman & Hill (John Hill), and Congdon & Company, were the principal lime makers of the town, the production in 1873 reaching upward of 20,000 barrels per annum. William Morman stuck to the business half a century, and his son Samuel A. is his successor in the trade, dealing also in sewer pipe, fire and well brick, cement, stucco and mason's supplies, at the old stand, 69 Canal street.
S. G. Ketcham, West Bridge street, is also a dealer in lime and cement.
Brick, Tile and Sewer Pipe.
In 1834, John Davis began making brick in a moderate way at or near where is now the corner of Oakes and Division streets. He put up and burned one or two kilns in that and the following year; but soon abandoned the business. There is no account of any other effort at brick making during the first three years after the settlement of this town.
Solomon Withey was the next brickmaker here. Coming in 1836, he found by the point of the hill at the corner of Ionia and Coldbrook streets, a bed of clay which he thought suitable for brick. He built and burned a small kiln there. The first use made of them was for a chimney in the house of George Coggeshall, now a part of the Hempel House, just east of the Bridge Street House. William C. Davidson began the building of the chimney from the basement. He had nearly reached the roof when a heavy rain-storm came in the night and gave the structure a pretty thorough drenching. As the event proved, the clay of which the brick were made carried a considerable quantity of limestone, of which the burning made lime just in right condition for slaking. The next morning the chimney was found in a heap at the bottom of the cellar, the lime having burst the brick. The loss of that kiln was quite a setback to the infant industry and Mr. Withey's expectations. Shortly afterward his son, Orison A. Withey, found better clay and opened another bank on Division street near Oakes, and started the business anew. It was there that the brick were made for many of the earlier dwellings, and for Irving Hall, the first brick block on Monroe street. He carried on the business there for a number of years, and then removed to near Bridge street, east of the hill, where he opened a yard which he afterward sold to David L. Stiven.
After Mr. Withey, came Simeon L. Baldwin and established a brickyard east of the junction between Fulton street and Lake avenue, where he, at first for many years in partnership with David Seymour and since by himself, has carried on a large and profitable business in brick manufacture to the present time. Henry B. Holbrook and Charles Barclay also made brick in that vicinity about thirty years ago.
With the large amount of building done here, brick-making has had a corresponding growth. Among the later makers were D. L. Stiven and Charles A. Robinson, at the east end of Bridge and Lyon streets, and Klaason, Overbeck & DeHeus, at the east city line on Fulton street shortly after the war. Stiven, Brown & Clark, S. L. Baldwin, Brown & Clark, Grand Rapids Brick and Tile Co., Hobart Sprague, and Brown, Clark & Co., are the names in succession of individuals and firms that have been engaged in this business since 1867. In has grown to an interest, including tile making, representing upward of $140,000 capital, and yielding an output of some $80,000 annually.
David L. Stiven introduced steam brick machines about 1867-68, and others quickly followed in using them. But the manufacture and sale of brick was not established upon a sure and profitable basis without struggle and toil lasting through a long series of years. Our fine brick blocks now testify to its success, but a narrative of the experiences of Baldwin and Stiven and their collaborers, if related in full by them, would be a long story. As long ago as 1873 the consumptions of brick in this city reached upward of 20,000,000 in a single season.
Manufacturers of brick and tile in 1888: S.L. Baldwin, head of Fountain street; Brown, Clark & Co., East street, between Lyon and Bridge; Hobart Sprague, corner of Diamond and Lyon streets.
SIMEON L. BALDWIN was born at Canterbury, Connecticut, April 4,1821. His family ancestors were from England, and settled in New England in 1636. His early life was spent on a farm, near his birthplace, where he attended the district school common to those times about four and a half months in a year. That in addition to the short summer terms of his childhood years, where the smaller scholars were taught the primary studies, comprosed the sum and substance of his early educational advantages. In 1840 he changed his residence to Norwich, Ct., where, like most young men of that period, he worked by the month. Having earned enough to give him some of the privileges of the "high schools" which that town afforded, he occupied his time until 1844, alternately in working, attending school and teaching in the district schools of that vicinity. In the latter year he made arrangements with D. W. Coit, a gentleman having large property interests n and about Grand Rapids, Michigan, to "go west" and attend to Mr. Coit's business here. Accordingly Mr. Baldwin left Norwich in the latter part of July, and arrived at Grand Rapids August 11,1844. He remained in charge of the affairs of Mr. Coit until 1848, when he engaged in business for himself, spending his time between lumbering and farming until 1852, in which year, with his brother-in-law, David Seymour, he started in brick-making, on the gore between Fulton street and Lake avenue; they having jointly purchased the property and moved there in 1851, where Mr. Baldwin has since resided. Under the style of Seymour & Baldwin the company continued until 1863, when, upon the death of Mr. Seymour, Mr. Baldwin purchased and assumed the entire business, and has carried it on since. During their first year the firm manufactured about 300,000 brick; but the trade (the works being now at the east end of Fountain street, just outside the city) has so increased that the output for the past few years has been from 5,000,000 to 6,000,000 yearly. At the April election in 1865 Mr. Baldwin was chosen Alderman for the Third Ward, was re-elected in 1867 and again in 1869, and thus held the office for three terms or six consecutive years; then again in 1872 was elected for another term of two years. In 1876 he was elected a Representative from the city in the State Legislature, and served the regular term of two years following. In 1879 he was chosen Supervisor of his ward by a handsome majority over a popular competitor who had served several years. To this office he was re-elected until he held it five consecutive years, and was nominated for a sixth term, but declined to run on account of the pressure of private business. He then remained in private life until 1888, when he was again elected Alderman of the Third Ward by a majority of 215 over a competitor who had received a majority of 44 for the preceding term. His public service has therefore amounted to ten years as Alderman, two years as Member of the Legislature, and five years as Supervisor--in all seventeen years. He has in official life enjoyed the confidence of his constituents, as capable, honest and conscientiously faithful to the trust reposed in him. Mr. Baldwin married Nov. 26, 1873, at Hamilton, Ontario, Canada, Susan Nicholson of that place. Politically, in early life he was a Whig, and has been a staunch Republican since the organization of that party. Public spirited and progressive in feeling and action, kind and liberal in domestic life, in all ways a model citizen, he has the fullest respect and good will in this community, of which he has been forty-five years as resident.
Daniel S. T. Weller in 1848 brought into the village a small stock of Vermont marble, and opened a shop near the foot of Monroe street, for the manufacture of grave stones, monuments, table tops, mantels and other similar work pertaining to the marble cutter's trade. The demand at that time was small, and only for the plainest and simplest of work, orders for elaborate carving being very rare; but, being the first, and the only one of its kind then in the place, this shop furnished fairly remunerative employment for two or three workmen. The first journeyman there was Dudley Handley, who worked at the trade in the city for several years. In 1855 William Laraway opened a second shop on Monroe street, and the two side by side found paying business. The panic of 1857 proved embarrassing to this trade as well as many others, and not much advance was made until after the war. Subsequently John P. Fisk became a partner with Laraway, and in turn sold out to Herman W. Liesveld, and the firm of Laraway & Co. operated for some years on Monroe street between Ottawa and Ionia. About 1870 the partnership was dissolved, and Liesveld with his brother, started a new shop on the east side of Division street, a short distance south of Fulton; Laraway removing his plant to near Fisk's Lake. Soon after this, John M. and Henry C. Ramsey established marble works, under the firm name of Ramsey & Son, at the corner of Pearl and Campau streets, putting in steam machinery, and carrying on there for several years quite an extensive business. Later workers in the marble trade have been: Charles Schmidt & Brothers, West Fulton and Straight streets; Miles H. Witeman, Pearl street; A. R. Gibson, South Divison street; Alexander Matheson, with Granite Works on Almy street; Albert L. Russell, Fourth and West Bridge street, and Charles Spencer, North Front street. The marble and granite works of Mr. Matheson are extensive and include stone sawing by steam power machinery. They were situated at 91 to 101 Almy street; but he has lately removed to the east side of Division, near Island street.
ALEXANDER MATHESON was born in Scotland, August 12,1833. At twenty years of age he came to America, stopping about a year in Canada, and going to Detroit in 1854. There he learned the carpenter's trade, and afterward that of marble and granite stone cutting, at Woodstock, Canada. September 15, 1864, he married Jennie Johnston, a native of Woodstock. In 1873 he came to Grand Rapids, and two years later moved his family here. At that time he established his stone-cutting works on Almy street near the Union Depot, which he operated with a good business until 1889, when the ground was taken for railroad uses, and he removed to the east side of Division street a little south of Island. Mr. Matheson supplied the stone for the Government Building basement in 1876, also for the sidewalk and coping there about. He has also furnished the cut stone for several other buildings, dwelling houses and sidewalks. In religious affiliation Mr. Matheson and wife are attached to the Presbyterian Church. The family have a pleasant home and surroundings on Center street.
Charles Schmidt & Brothers are still doing a thriving business at 93 Canal street, where they have their office and salesroom and they have a factory and polishing mill at the West Fulton and Straight street corner, for working granite.
Anton Hirth, by the railroad, near the jail, for ten years or more has carried on stone-cutting and done a thrifty business using steam power.
There are at present in the city five marble and granite working factories, giving steady work to nearly fifty employes, and with an aggregate investment of some $40,000, turning off a product of upward of $100,000 annually.
Although the manufacture of pottery has been carried on in Grand Rapids for thirty years, it has never grown beyond very small limits, as the clay found in the district is only suitable for coarse wares.
About 1845 Christopher Culp established a small pottery near the corner of Sheldon and Cherry streets, where he made milk pans and other brown earthen ware for two or three years.
David L. Stiven, who had a brickyard near the Fulton street cemetery, was the next to make pottery. Setting up a plant near the west end of Pearl street bridge, in 1857, he used clay from the bank where he made brick, and produced the first drain tile made here, also flower pots and stands, stove pipe tubes, and some glazed articles, which were on sale in the store and pronounced equal to any imported. In 1859 Mr. Stiven took as partner Samuel Davis, who, after several changes in the firm, aquired the sole interest, and about 1872 transferred the pottery part of his business to 515 East Bridge street. In 1874, Mr. Davis engaged John Lipzinski as manager, taking him as partner two years later, and eventually giving up the business entirely to him. This establishment, and that of Michael Doyle close by, the only potteries now in Grand Rapids, turn out annually from 350,000 to 400,000 pieces, consisting of flower pots and stands, jugs, cooking pans, and various household utensils; and lately some tasteful shapes in vases and flower pans for decoration by amateur artists, have also been produced. The business gives employment to twelve or fifteen workmen, and with a capital of about $6,000 turns out a product amounting to near $18,000 annually.
The manufacture of drain tile, in which Mr. Stiven was the first adventurer here, has been more or less connected with the pottery business, and has also been carried on to some extent by other parties.
The manufacture of potash was an early industry here. In 1842 D. W. Shoemaker & Co. advertised for ashes for this use, and in 1843 Amos Roberts, who had an ashery on the river bank a little above Pearl street, was offering ten cents a bushel for good house ashes, and eight cents for field ashes. The Roberts factory was kept running for several years. In 1847 Sterling & Dugan began buying black salts, and in 1848 John Clancy and brother (William) were offering to pay "the highest price for 200 tons of black salts." These people were making pearlash and saleratus. This business has been continued intermittently, by various parties, but not very extensively, nearly to the present day. In 1878 Henry S. Smith & Co., at the corner of Kent and Newberry streets, were manufacturing saleratus for the trade, and this establishment was kept going several years. In 1882 David S. Randolph had a soda and saleratus factory on Front street above Sixth; David Lankester made potash on North Canal street near the city limits, and the Oriole Manufacturing Company at 42 West Bridge Street were producing baking powder. At this date also, and for some years after, the Arctic Manufacturing Company at 20 Lyon street (Charles W. Jennings and Walter A. Smith), were in the baking powder business, and in 1887 the Wolverine Spice Company had a similar factory on Court street.
Henry S. Smith probably led all local manufacturers in the production and sale of saleratus. "Smith's Saleratus" came to be well known and in brisk demand through out this and adjacent States, and that branch of his business was not only large but profitable.
Soap and Candles.
Oliver Taylor was one of the earliest, if not the first, of those who made the manufacture of soap and candles and glue a regular business. He had a small factory for several years on South Division street, near Oakes. In 1847-48 Sterling & Dugan were engaged in the same business on Division, a short distance south of Fulton street. For many years a factory was kept running at the corner of Island and Sheldon streets, by Henry Bremer, who came here in 1850 and engaged in the soap and candle industry, and in 1856 built a stone factory near the corner of Ionia and Fairbanks streets, which about two years later was purchased by Henry S. Smith and Thomas P. Gallup. In 1865 Hiram C. Goodrich was in the business on Barclay street. Talford & Goodrich (William D. Talford and Hiram C. Goodrich) soon after, about 1867, occupied the stone factory just mentioned, where they continued the soap and candle industry, with a good trade, for twenty years, and but recently retired there from. Meantime a considerable number of other establishments of this kind have been operated---among them those of Brogger & Pulte, in 1873-74, on Jefferson street; of Brogger & Weiden, 1876, on Walker avenue, west of the city line; in 1878, the Valley City Soap Company on Front street, south of Fulton, and Samuel White on Walker avenue; in 1880 and since, Hubert Weiden at 89 Almy street, dealer also in hides and tallow. Of late the candle making business seems to have nearly or quite gone out of fashion; the days of oleomargarine have probably given a more profitable use for tallow. But the potash and soap industries are yielding products valued at about $75,000 annually, with $37,000 of invested capital, employing about twenty hands. The New Grand Rapids Soap Company, for the manufacture of domestic and toilet soaps, have a factory at the corner of Fifth avenue and Hilton streets, with an output of some 1,000 boxes per month, selling to the jobbing trade. The corporation has an authorized capital of $50,000. Officers: W. R. Shelby, President; W. H. Cooper, Vice President; Wm. J. Stuart, Secretary; Wm. B. Loveland, Treasurer.
In 1838 a baker's oven was built by a man named Haskins, on Monroe street, opposite Waterloo, and William Rust baked bread and crackers there for the hungry villagers. William McConnell, in 1844, established a bakery in the rear basement of the Faneuil Hall building, corner of Monroe and Waterloo. He soon removed toward the foot of Monroe street, and again in the fall of that year to the basement of Irving Hall, then just erected. Early in 1845 Robert S. Parks opened a bakery in Faneuil Hall block and named it "Headquarters." William Parks was baker there. This establishment was soon afterward removed to Monroe street, just above Irving Hall, where O. C. House was the baker, and in 1846, M. W. Jeffords was associated with him. This bakery subsequently passed into the hands of William S. Gunn, from him to William Fulton, in 1852, and was afterward carried on for a time by Jefferson Carson. (The outfit of the "Headquarters" has been removed recently up Monroe to near Division street, where Lyman E. Patten is the operator.) About 1848, and for a few years following, the bakery started by McConnell was operated by John Habenstreittenger. In 1852, Parker & Town had a bakery on Canal street, and O. C. House was still in the business, removed to the corner of Waterloo and Louis streets. The first baker's carriage upon the streets was run by Wm. Fulton & Co., in the summer of 1856. In 1859, are found named among the bakers, Jefferson Carson, Monroe street; Martin Cusack, Canal street; Josiah Wilcox, on West Bridge near Front street; Jacob Schoenhut, corner of East Bridge and Kent streets, and E. K. Powers, Monroe street. Ten years later among the bakers were John B. Folger, West Bridge street; Sears & Merchant, Monroe street; George W. Van Every & Co., Canal street, and in addition to these were, and still are, a number of ovens, run by German citizens, for the production of rye bread, pretzels and other specialties of their trade, besides the other and usual bread and pastry products. In the beginning of the business, crackers were rolled by hand, one by one. Later came the introduction of machinery and steam power, by which the dough was kneaded, rolled into sheets, and the crackers were cut with dies, large numbers at every stroke. Van Every & Co., in 1867, had a six-horse power engine at work turning them out. Sears & Merchant had already started in that field, and next came revolving ovens, one of which this firm in 1869 placed in their steam bakery on Kent street, to which they soon added another of the Yale patent; and at that large bakery, now operated by William Sears & Co., the proprietors have kept fully abreast with all the modern improvements in their trade, turning out as large a daily product as any establishment of the kind in the country. Prominent among the bakers in 1875, in addition to some of the above mentioned, were Charles Hoffman, Monroe street; Eaton & Christenson, Canal; B. P. Bronkaw, W. Bridge; and Peter Kriekaard, Cherry street. In 1880, Aruna Bradford, Monroe street; Thomas Wasson, Canal; Landauer & Brother, East Bridge; J. J. Fisher, North Division; H. J. Pessink, South Division; Frederick Behl, West Bridge. And a considerable number are of late years added to the ranks of those who furnish the tables of our thousands of households with bread, crackers, and pastry. The business taken together has grown very large, and for the trade two establishments alone produce nearly $200,000 worth of crackers annually.
WILLIAM SEARS is a native of Ashfield, Franklin County, Massachusetts, where he was born June 20, 1818. His early educational advantages were those of the schools of that vicinity. In the earlier part of his business life he passed some five years in the dry goods trade at West Troy, N.Y. At Albany, N.Y., October 16, 1845, he married Judith Adams. She died at Grand Rapids in 1875. They had three children, of whom one, a son, died in 1852; another son, Stephen A., is now one of the firm of William Sears & Company in business, and a daughter is now Mrs. C. D. Lyon. After leaving West Troy, Mr. Sears went South and lived in Virginia about seven years. From that State he came to Grand Rapids in 1857, and took an interest with Jefferson Carson in the "Headquarters" bakery and victualing-house, adjoining Irving Hall on Monroe street. In 1860 he purchased Mr. Carson's interest and continued the business by himself. It was not the nature of Mr. Sears to drift slowly, but to "push things," hence in 1862 he purchased a building that had been erected for a flouring mill on Waterloo, between Ferry and Louis streets, where he put in steam machinery for cracker making exclusively, and was soon in the full tide of success in that branch of manufacture; the store in Irving Hall block being continued, with a rapidly increasing trade in crackers and sweet goods and other table supplies. In 1867 he was joined by his brother, Samuel Sears, and Joel Merchant, the partnership name being Sears & Merchant. In 1868-69 they built a new factory, the three-story-and-basement brick block now occupied at 35 to 41 Kent street, and fitted it with the best of revolving ovens, machinery and other appliances for the manufacture of crackers and cakes for the wholesale trade--which exclusively has been the business of Mr. Sears since starting work at that place in 1869. In 1873 Mr. Merchant withdrew, since which time the firm name has been William Sears & Company; the other copartners now being his brother, Samuel, and his son, Stephen A. Sears. The factory and sales office are models of convenience and good taste in finish and adaptation to their uses. There Mr. Sears has enjoyed the satisfaction of building up an industry not excelled in the quality of its products; with a volume of business the largest of its kind done by any establishment in the State. William Sears is financially interested in several other industrial and business enterprises; is a stockholder in the Alabastine Company, and also in the National City Bank and the Fourth National Bank. Politically, he is a supporter of the Democratic party. Though not a member, he is an attendant at the Park Congregational Church. He is one who attends to his business in all its details with methodical care, energy, honor and tact, and conducts it successfully. As a citizen and neighbor he is public-spirited, frank and genial, enjoying the general respect and good will wherever he is known.
The manufacture of candies in Grand Rapids was begun in December, 1849, by Austin B. Bidwell and his two sons, George and Austin, who opened a small shop between Ottawa and Ionia streets on the north side of Monroe. Subsequently the business was removed to Pearl street, near where is the entrance to the Arcade. Soon afterward the place was destroyed by fire. The young men then moved to the east side of Canal street, between Lyon and Crescent avenue, where they operated for a few years. They built up a large trade, and the best establishment of the kind then in this part of the country, but subsequently left Grand Rapids, and established their headquarters at Ionia. Another and younger brother, Joseph B. Bidwell, a little later, started the manufacture for himself, his shop being in the Franklin block, but continued in the business there only a short time. Others who entered that field before the war period were Joseph S. Hampton, near the west end of Bridge street Bridge, and E. K. Powers, near the foot of Monroe street, who were in the trade in 1859. About ten years later, Mr. Powers, in partnership with Francis D. Waldron, was still in the candy making and confectionery business near the head of Monroe street, and the Putnam Brothers were carrying on the trade near the foot of that street. Shortly after these, began Eaton & Christenson on Canal street, nearly opposite Crescent avenue. In 1873, the Putnams had moved to Kent street, and Thum & Kuhn had succeeded the latter in the Monroe street stand, while E. R. Niles had a shop at the corner of Monroe and Ottawa streets, and A. B. Newkirk at the corner of West Bridge and Scribner streets. In 1874, the Cooper Brothers were at the corner of Canal and Erie streets; Charles Hoffman, Jr., was near the head of Monroe street; the Putnam Brothers had moved to Huron street; and P. M. Werner & Co. were on Front street near West Bridge, as confectioners. In 1875, Kuhn & Moeller were in the business on Pearl street near the bridge. In 1878, Putnam & Brooks had established a large factory and wholesale trade at 63 and 65 Canal street, the Cooper Brothers were at 52 Canal street, and Aruna Bradford was on Monroe street, a short distance from Pearl. Since the latter date there have been a few additions to the candy makers; among them, Miss M. A. Formby at 103 Monroe, William Ransby at 52 Canal, and Warren Swetland, first at 57 Canal street, and later at 184 Monroe. In 1887, Putnam & Brooks removed their business from Canal street to a large brick block at Nos. 11 to 15 South Ionia. Most of the manufacturers have done something in the way of wholesale trade, and there are in the city about two dozen retail dealers. It is estimated that the confectionery trade now amounts nearly or quite to $450,000 yearly.
Samuel F. Perkins, a settler of 1836, at an early day opened a tannery on the east bank of the river, a short distance above Bridge street. This, by himself for a portion of the time and in company with William Woodward for a number of years, was kept in operation until about 1860. Charles W. Taylor came in 1839, and began the tanning business in a small way at Coldbrook, a short distance from the river, which he continued at the same place nearly thirty years. His tannery was burned three times, by each of which disasters he suffered a loss of upward of $10,000--first on December 16, 1851, again February 5, 1856, and the third time May 31, 1867, after which he discontinued the business. These two were the pioneer tanneries of this town. In 1858 Mr. Taylor was employing from seven to ten hands, and turning out an annual product valued at about $15,000. Perkins, Woodward & Co. at the same time were employing from eight to ten men with an annual product of from $20,000 to $25,000. Church, Judd & Co., about 1857, started a tannery on South Division near Prescott, which they sold to Riordan & Kaiser. The leather store of Mr. Taylor was at an early day by the foot of Monroe street, and later on Canal near Bridge street; that of Perkins & Woodward was at first on Kent street south of Crescent avenue, and afterward on Monroe street nearly opposite the head of Waterloo; that of Riordan & Kaiser at the foot of Monroe. DeGraff, Rademaker & Nyland, Schram & Fox and J. Koster & Co., subsequently operated in the leather making trade on South Division street, prior to 1870. Following them on that street were Koster & Kruger in 1875.
The Cappon & Bertsch Leather Company have been doing a thrifty business in the production of leather for upward of thirty years. Their main tannery is at Holland. The members of the firm are John Bertsch, President; Isaac Cappon, Vice President; William Cartwright, Secretary and Treasurer. Messrs. Cappon and Bertsch began the enterprise with their own two pairs of hands, energy, perseverance, and economy as their chief capital, in some old log buildings at Holland, Michigan, in 1857. In 1863 they erected a new building, and soon made other additions. In 1866 William Cartwright took a one-third interest with them. Their entire plant at Holland, together with a large stock of bark, was consumed by the great fire of 1871, by which they suffered a loss of about $70,000 with no insurance. Undaunted, they rebuilt, and soon had a larger establishment than before. In 1882 they were using annually from 5,000 to 6,000 cords of hemlock bark, costing about $6 a cord, and with a capital of $200,000 gave employment to some ninety men, doing a business of over half a million dollars annually. In 1880, competing at New York, they took the gold medal for the best non-acid sole leather made in the United States. Since the last named date they have done a steadily increasing business. Their organization as a stock company dates from January 1, 1875. With a stock capital of $400,000 they give work to 230 employes, and their annual output amounts to between $700,000 and $800,000. The plant at Holland cost about $110,000, and has capacity for turning out an average of over 1,000 tanned sides daily. Their store
in Grand Rapids was built in 1869, at a cost of $20,000. It is a four-story brick structure with Ionia sandstone front, standing at 100 Canal street, a capacious and handsome edifice.
The Wallin Leather Company, whose factory is on South Front street, near Baldwin, was originally organized in Chicago as C. C. Wallin & Sons, in 1851, by C. C. Wallin, Thomas S. Wallin, and Franklin B. Wallin. The firm is still there, dealing in leather and said to be the oldest in Chicago. The tannery was at Saugatuck before they removed it here. The company here was organized in 1881, with a capital stock of $100,000; present investment $140,000. President, Thomas S. Wallin of Chicago; Treasurer, Franklin B. Wallin; Secretary, Van A. Wallin. They employ some thirty men, to whom they pay an average of $300 per week. Their productive capacity is about 1,000 sides per week. Of their product about $30,000 in value of leather per annum is sold to the home trade, the rest from their store in Chicago.
Hirth & Krause at 118 Canal street, have for several years carried on a fair trade as dealers in leather, hides, pelts, furs, and in leather work findings generally.
Boot and Shoe Making.
If the pioneers brought with them shoes to last ten months, it is not probable that many of them went barefoot. Barney Burton had a quantity of brogans and shoes and women's boots forwarded to him from Ypsilanti, which he began selling in March, 1834, at prices varying from $1.25 per pair for slips, to $2.50 for women's boots, and $4 for boots and brogans. N. O. Sargeant brought with him a stock of boots and shoes for his men when he came in 1835 to dig the canal race. Doubtless there was a cobbler in the settlement as early as that. Earliest accounts with a full-fledged workman appear with the name of "French Shoemaker," probably Ringuette. John and Maxime Ringuette, shoemakers, came in the spring of 1836, and during the summer did not find work enough to keep them busy at their trade. But the rapid increase of settlers soon changed that, and for many years they carried on shoemaking and kept a boot and shoe store near the foot of Monroe street. John died many years ago, and Maxime, on retiring from active business, built a small shop by his residence at 508 S. Division street where, as age crept upon him, he has whiled away the tedium of many a passing hour by the exercise of the handicraft of his earlier years. His wife, a genial and gentle woman, who delighted in the happiness of all around her, died in 1879; and toward him---by nature noble and honest and mild---there can be but one feeling, that of high esteem and warm friendship.
Among other remembered shoemakers of the early village period were: John Waring, who died in 1844, after six or eight years of residence; Samuel F. Perkins, who had a tannery by the east side canal, and a store and shop on Kent street and afterward on Monroe; William Woodward, for years in partnership with Perkins; Almon Ward, for a time with Perkins; also Nelson Rolfe and James Lochlin, both expert workmen. William Woodward, venerable in years and loved as a citizen, remains with us, retired from active work and business. J. M. Griffith lived and worked many years at the northeast corner of Ferry and Ottawa streets. Charles W. Taylor, in 1843, opened a boot and shoe store at the foot of Monroe, and Major Worden opened a manufactory the same year where the engine house now stands opposite the county building site. Z. Adams, in 1842, was manufacturing buckskin goods, one door north of the Kent bookstore, but whether or not boots and shoes were among them, the chronicles do not state. In 1849, W. W. Hatch and Horace Merrill had a factory and little store, boot and shoe, at the angle on the north side of Monroe street, near the foot. James Scribner had a little shoe shop near his house, corner of Front and West Bridge, at an early date.
In this, as in several other mechanical trades, for the past thirty years, it is difficult to determine the number of operatives. In 1859, with the population of less than 8,000, eighty-eight workmen upon the shoemaker's bench were reported--about one to every ninety inhabitants of the city; though perhaps nearly as many might be added of the people of neighboring towns who procured their outfits and supplies for the feet at this center. To undertake the enumeration of shoemakers up to the present time, and give their names, would be impracticable, if it were of any use. One might as well attempt to give the annual censuses of saloons and those employed therein. The Grand Rapids Board of Trade has not undertaken that task.
Wilna Cole, William Riordan, Godfrey Kalmbach, M. F. Vlekke, Frank Kaiser, John Betts, Charles Wallraff, and Charles Williams, are remembered among those who fashioned boots and shoes thirty years ago and more; nearly as early were Whitley, Rindge & Co., and some of them are still at the trade. A large number of these useful artificers are carrying on quiet shops of their own; in addition to employes in larger establishments, among or from which have grown up several thrifty wholesale and retail houses. Among the wholesalers (in 1881), Rindge, Bertsch & Co., and Reeder, Palmer & Co., on Pearl between Canal street and the river are prominent.
Felt Boots and Shoes.
The manufacture, and the only factory of the kind then in this part of the country, was started in 1881 by E. J. Studley, Julius Berkey, M. R. Bissell, and O. R. Wilmarth who organized the Grand Rapids Felt Boot and Shoe Company; capital stock, $50,000. The business office was in this city but the work was then done at Stanton, Michigan. A year or two later the factory was removed here and established on Mill street, near the foot of the canal. The works are in a four-story brick block, 16 and 18 Mill street, and are doing an extensive and thrifty business. Officers of the company in 1888: President, E. G. Studley; Secretary, John A. Covode; Treasurer, Spencer Arnold.
Saddle, Harness and Trunk Making.
Isaac Watson, about 1837 settled in a log house in Bridge street on the West bank of the river. When the street was opened and the bridge built he moved into the south one of the Baptist Mission buildings, where he worked at making saddles and harness. He died there in 1849. William Otis Lyon, a saddler and harness maker by trade, came here at an early day and started a shop on the north side of Monroe street a little above Ottawa. He afterward added trunk-making in a small way to his business. He operated there some twelve or fifteen years. About 1845 came John P. Hanchet who worked for some years at the same business a little below the old National Hotel. About the same time in the trade was Benjamin P. Arbor, whose shop was in "Kent," as the upper part of the village was called.
As the town grew, work for harness makers increased, and when it was twenty-five years old, fifteen of them found busy employment. Charles J. Kruger, C. B. Carpenter, M. P. Booth, Franklin Mattison, William Tusch, Gustavus Werner, Elijah Foote, and C. O. Stimson were among the harness makers of 1859, and some of them several years before. Mattison did a thrifty business for nearly thirty years, and recently the same shop has been carried on by others at 73 Canal street. There are now about a dozen establishments of the trade, including those of dealers in the goods.
Willibald Voss has operated a harness and saddle shop at 123 Canal street, during the past fourteen years. Board of Trade figures in 1888 gave $26,000 as the capital invested in harness manufacture, yielding a product in 1887 of $78,000, and working about forty employes.
Edward Struensee, of Waterloo street, has been a manufacturer of and dealer in harness and saddlery goods since about 1876. J. G. Heinzelmann operates a harness shop on Ellsworth street.
In the earlier days most harness makers did a small business also in the trunk making line. There is now one quite extensive trunk manufactory in the city, that of Groskopf Brothers, at 91 Canal street, devoted to that business exclusively in its several branches.
Judd & Co. (E. E. Judd, manager), since 1883 have been in the saddlery hardware trade, at 102 Canal street.
Leather Belting and Hose.
About 1876, Felix Raniville and Simeon R. Sikes began the manufacture of leather belting and hose at No. 8 Pearl street. After a few years Mr. Raniville purchased his partner's interest and enlarged the business, which had been moved to 103 Canal street. He has been a practical workman and expert in leather from his youth up, and uses many thousand ox hides annually in his business, manufacturing belts of all dimensions required. His shops in 1890 are at Nos. 1 to 7 Pearl street.
E. G. Studley, whose business place is at No. 4 Monroe street, has been engaged for many years as manufacturer of and dealer in rubber and leather belting and kindred goods.
A recent estimate gave $65,000 as the amount of capital invested in the belting business; giving work to nearly fifty employes, and turning out a product in round numbers of $230,000 annually.
The demand for barrels began in Grand Rapids at the time of the building of the first flouring mill here in 1837, the first to engage in cooperage being James A. Rumsey, who had brought with him a set of cooper's tools. Shortly after the milling began, there was a supply of flour for export, and an accumulation of fresh pork for shipment. Barrels being needed, Mr. Rumsey went down the river into the woods, where parties had been getting out staves for the Chicago market, purchased a quantity, brought them here, started a shop, and met the demand. About that time, John Kirkland, a cooper by trade, came into the place, and started work in that line, which he followed during his life. His shop for more than a quarter of a century was near the junction of Division and Cherry streets. In 1843, William T. Bentley entered the business, and has since continued therein with a fair degree of success. Another early workman at this trade is Elijah Dart, who came soon after Bentley, and has followed the occupation continuously, his shop being near the corner of Kent and Mason streets. Edmond Graves, Perry Knight, and Charles M. Rogers were also among the early coopers. Among later ones have been, Darius T. Button, Henry Kortlander, Joseph Heinrich, Robert W. Love, Milmine & Williamson, Andrew A. Greil, Henry Ickler, Michael Mertes, John A. Spring, and R. B. Lindley, very nearly in the order here named, since 1860. There are twelve or fifteen of these musical shops in town, but at the present time the heavier part of the barrel business is carried on in large factories, operated by steam machinery. Flour barrels, pork barrels, beer barrels and kegs, and liquor casks, are articles in brisk demand, and their manufacture constitutes no insignificant item. At the time of this writing there are in the city upward of a dozen barrel and keg factories, where nearly 300 employes find work. Their combined product for 1887 was estimated at about $510,000, market value, from the use of $375,000 of capital invested. For the year 1865, only $27,748 was the amount returned to the Internal Revenue officers by six cooper shops as their gross receipts. Thus it appears that during twenty-five years this business has increased nearly twenty-fold.
William T. Bentley came to Grand Rapids August 28, 1843, and began work for Henry R. Williams in his cooper shop on Bridge street, near the canal. After six weeks he opened a shop on his own account, and has since worked for himself at the coopering business. He now operates a shop on Butterworth avenue. Probably no other person now at the business in Grand Rapids has worked at hand-cooperage so many years.
The Waters Barrel Works.
The Michigan Barrel Company was incorporated January 3, 1870, with a capital stock of $300,000---Daniel H. Waters, President; Frank B. Gilbert, Vice President; Henry Grinnell, Treasurer; and D. H. Powers, Secretary---for the manufacture of the Waters Improved Barrel. December 14, 1886, their charter was renewed for thirty years. While organized more especially to manufacture the improved barrel, they have added different articles from time to time, until their product consists of all kinds of bent-rim goods, such as bailed salt and grease boxes, measures, tobacco drums, and many other articles of similar nature. Some idea of their capacity may be formed from the box department, turning out daily 40,000 boxes for axle grease. Their plant, in the northern part of the city on Canal street, consisting of the main factory, saw mill and warehouses, is equipped with the best of machinery. In addition several acres of land are used for yards and dry kilns. They give employment to about 250 operatives, with a monthly pay roll of some $6,000, and an average annual output of $175,000. This is one of the institutions in Grand Rapids in which a stockholder likes to be interested, as it has paid in dividends to stockholders nearly $1,000,000. George G. Briggs was elected Treasurer in 1871, and in 1875 the offices of Secretary and Treasurer were consolidated, and he was chosen to fill the new office, which he did continuously until the spring of 1886. Officers in 1888: Oliver S. Waters, President and Superintendent; Harvey J. Hollister, Vice President; Alonzo B. Porter, Secretary and Treasurer. They are classed in the directories as barrel, box, bent-wood and wooden-ware manufacturers. The establishment is the largest, and in some of its features the only one of the kind, in existence.
The Grand Rapids Stave Company was established in 1864 by J. W. Converse, mainly for the purpose of making barrels for the old Eagle Plaster Mills. In May, 1866, George W. Hewes, John Whittemore, and Marshall S. Lord, succeeded to and continued the business, under the firm name of George W. Hewes & Co., until April, 1874, when the old firm and Sylvester Luther organized the Union Stave and Chair Company, which was incorporated with a capital stock of $50,000. In April, 1878, the present corporation secured the plant, and the Grand Rapids Stave Company with a capital stock of $25,000 was incorporated----George W. Hewes, President; John Whittemore, Vice President; James A. Hunt, Secretary and Treasurer. Their present works give employment to about eighty men whose monthly earnings average $3,000. The annual output of $160,000 is shipped to all parts of the northwest. The factory is on Front street, south of Fulton.
The manufacture of paper boxes as a special business was begun soon after the late war by Arthur W. Currier, who at first made them by hand, cutting out the board with a knife. Afterward he procured machinery, and in 1873, was carrying it on in connection with T. C. Putnam at 16 Monroe street. Putnam continued in it several years. In 1883 Barlow Brothers were making paper boxes on Ottawa street, and G. A. Scruby on Pearl street. In 1888 the principal paper-box factory was that of W. W. Huelster, at 11 Pearl street, doing quite an extensive business. It has lately been moved to the corner of Louis and Campau streets.
In wood box making, J. F. Kendall & Co., C. O. Allen, the Michigan Barrel Co., and W. H. Bachman, were at work as early as 1873. Allen was a maker of cigar boxes, and continued that business several years. In 1888, Parker & Green were making cigar boxes on Campau street, corner of Louis. A. E. Stockwell & Co. were making boxes of bent wood in 1878. About that time Z. E. Allen, Bachman & Priestley, Cory & Blount, and Frost & Ruhlmann were making packing boxes. E. S. Cory & Co., and G. E. Richmond, were manufacturing packing boxes in 1883. In 1888, among the principal manufacturers of wood packing boxes were Miller & Stanton, South Front street, by G. R. & I.R.R., and Richmond & Seymour, on Erie street.
Pail and Tub Manufacture.
About 1843 James H. Scott set up a pail factory north of East Bridge street by the river bank. A little later it was taken and run for a time by Zenas G. Winsor. Afterward it passed into the hands of David Caswell, and was moved to the south of Bridge street. Gilbert L. Hubbard, a practical pail maker came and entered the business as a journeyman in 1849, and worked at it most of the time for upward of thirty years. Robert Cutler and T. P. Gallup carried on pail making for a time at the same place, or near there. In the summer of 1863 Wm. A. Wartrous was running a pail factory and making about 150 pails per day. None of these earlier efforts were very profitable nor more than moderately successful.
In 1863 came E. E. Bolles, a workman at he trade, and in partnership with C. C. Comstock started pail manufacture at Newberry street, near Canal. The venture during the first year was but poorly remunerative, and Mr. Comstock purchased the interest of Mr. Bolles. Mr. Comstock continued the enterprise, and soon bought more and improved machinery and enlarged his business, until some 120 men and boys were employed about the works, and they were turning out daily 1,000 tubs, and 3,000 pails, besides some other and smaller goods. In this line of manufacture competition is strong, though not locally so, and prices have been fluctuating; rendering it an uncertain business---some years quite profitable and others not at all. By investments finally amounting to more than $150,000, purchasing and running cars for shipments and thus lessening expenses, Mr. Comstock managed to make the works fairly profitable. In October, 1883, just twenty years after he started in that enterprise, he sold the movable machinery and leased that part of the factory used for making tubs and pails to the Cupples Woodenware Company of St. Louis, Missouri. This company used a capital of $175,000, and made the manufacture successful and apparently profitable. Its output was greatly increased. They employed some 200 hands and turned and finished an average of about 4,200 pails and 1,300 tubs daily, for which they worked up annually about 7,000,000 feet of logs, while cutting an equal amount into lumber. In this latter department they also employed eighty men and $75,000 of capital. The Cupples Company suspended the manufacture of pails at the end of 1888.
Bowls, Clothespins, Faucets.
In 1863 the turning of wooden bowls was a business of some note, carried on by the Antrim Brothers, on Mill street, a short distance below Bridge. This branch of manufacture has been started some years before, by Franklin Everett, using newly patented machinery. It seemed promising, but shortly afterward was abandoned. E. F. Harrington had an interest in the bowl factory, with or succeeding the Antrims. In 1867 David P. Clay had a lively factory, on Canal street near Trowbridge, turning out wooden bowls, butter ladles, rolling pins, clothes pins, and a variety of other articles by special machinery. About the same time the manufacture of wood faucets was carried on to some extent. Considerable work is still done in this line of business.
Among oddities and specialties in wood work, there is one which, while not the largest, is at least useful to a large number of adopted citizens. The Grand Rapids Wooden Shoe Factory, corner of Spring and Bartlett streets, is the only one of its kind in the State, and with about $2,000 invested turns out annually some $4,500 worth of wooden foot gear, all of which are made by hand. The odd looking tools, held in the right, are deftly twisted in, out and around the block of wood held in the left hand, resulting in the finished shoe, for which the demand is constantly increasing. The enterprise was started on a small scale in 1873, by J. H. Ter Braak, the present Superintendent, and increased until in June, 1888, a factory of 40 by 20 feet, with two floors, was required to turn out the "galoshes." About 12,000 pairs of wooden shoes were made in the city during the year 1888.
Cigars and Tobacco.
Henry Schmidt about 1849 began rolling cigars in a small shop on the east side of Canal street, a little north of Pearl. As the business was not large enough to support him, he pieced it out by keeping a lunch counter whereon he served pies and cakes and small beer. Shortly after, Edward Mohl bought out his cigar stock and removed it north of Crescent avenue, but Mohl could make cigars faster than the customers in Grand Rapids would at that time buy and smoke, hence he gave it up, and for a while rusticated in the tobacco shops of Detroit and the East. About 1854 he came back and started anew; soon removing to the north end of the Lovett block, corner of Pearl and Canal streets, where in 1859 he was established with a good stock in trade. At that time, three or four cigar makers along Canal street, were able to supply the market for the home-made article. Among them were P. V. Merrifield, M.J. Dunphy, and Joseph Reinfried. In 1865 Hugo Schneider came into partnership with Mohl, the establishment being moved around the corner, fronting Pearl street, and the company continued about nine years, in prosperous business. When the Government put a revenue tax on tobacco, which raised the price of cigars to ten cents each for moderately poor "weeds," a new impetus was given to the trade; in 1867 half a dozen cigar makers found busy employment, and Edward Mohl & Co. had begun wholesaling smokers' articles. This tobacco business in Grand Rapids has had a rapid growth during the last quarter of a century. In 1878 there were upward of two dozen manufacturers and dealers in the city. In 1888 there were about thirty cigar-making shops in town, also fifteen retail and five wholesale dealers in cigars, tobaccos, pipes and other goods of the trade. Among the more prominent dealers at this time were H. Schneider & Co., and Ed. E. Mohl, on Monroe; Enterprise Cigar Co., corner Monroe and Division; Mohl & Van Alstine, corner of Pearl and Canal; Wm. Nelles, West Bridge; M.J. Lewis, and Brink Bros. & Quint, Grandville avenue, and C. G. Pulcher, Lustig Cigar Co. and J. E. Kenning & Co. on Canal street, the latter with fifteen employes. It is estimated that the home manufacture represents an aggregate investment of over $200,000, with 135 employes, and output in 1887 of $375,000.
The house of Hugo Schneider & Co., east side of Monroe street near Pearl, does an extensive business in manufacturing, retailing and wholesaling or jobbing; dealing in everything which pertains to the tobacconist's trade.
Edward Mohl, the real founder of tobacco manufacturing for the trade in Grand Rapids, was but a by of twenty years when he came in 1849. He was of German nativity, quiet and unassuming in deportment, yet an energetic and reliable business man, and highly esteemed. He filled several positions of honor in organized social life and was an officer of the Board of the German-English School Society. He prospered well in business, and built a substantial brick block, now standing, on Canal street, a little south of Bridge. He died suddenly by apoplexy, November 16, 1874.
Augustus Kuppenheimer, a practical workman, has been making cigars here upward of twenty years. A snug little factory is that of John J. Blickle, who has been a workman at the trade a dozen or more years. Albert Kuppenheimer, 45 Pearl street, has been doing a thrifty trade for many years in tobacco and cigars. M. H. Treusch is among the wholesalers.
In the domain of inventive talent and skill Grand Rapids would stand fairly in the front rank with any city of its size, were it practicable to make an inventory of the list of inventors and their products. Among the earlier instances may be mentioned Wm. B. Hill's patent steam governor, which quickly came into use all over the country. Chester B. Turner was an inventor of a number of useful contrivances in gunsmithing and steam engine making, and Demetrius Turner also originated several valuable devices in connection with steam machinery. The patent bent-work barrel of D. H. Waters, was a pronounced success financially. Thirty years ago an ingenious compensating clock pendulum was patented by W. L. Coffinberry. In recent years there have been many inventions by Grand Rapids mechanics and experts, in nearly all trades; to enumerate which would be impracticable, and to make a partial enumeration would be unsatisfactory. Most of them are useful, and some very profitable.
Fire Ladder and Truck.
The Michigan Fire Ladder and Truck Company was incorporated February 20, 1888, by John W. Moon, President; James Campbell, Vice President; A. Owen Crozier, Secretary and Treasurer; A. J. Sutherland, Superintendent; with Arthur Meigs, M. C. Lewis, R. M. Swigart and John W. Pennell. Capital, $100,000. The factory, situated at Oakdale Park, south of the city, consists of two large buildings of wood veneered with brick, equipped with all machinery necessary for the manufacture of a combined fire truck and ladder, and other fire apparatus. This ladder is a Grand Rapids invention of more than passing merit. Four men easily elevate it sixty-five feet in less than half a minute, and as it stands on a swivel bolt, it may be tilted in any direction and used where it would be impossible to operate an ordinary ladder.
The Grand Rapids Blow Pipe and Dust Arrester Company was incorporated February 4, 1888, with an authorized capital of $25,000--Wilder D. Stevens, President; Joseph B. Ware, Vice President; George G. Whitworth, Secretary; Sidney F. Stevens, Treasurer. They manufacture Barbour's patent dust arrester and furnace feeder, by using which the owner of any wood working mill may economize in expense, utilizing the dust and refuse of the several machines and conveying it in a steady stream under the boiler. The factory, giving employment to some twenty-five men, is situated on Mill street, near Bridge.
Base Ball and Croquet Sets.
H. Rademaker & Sons established in June, 1878, the manufacture of base ball bats, croquet sets, Indian clubs, and other sporting goods. They occupy the basement of the New Era block on Waterloo street; give employment to some thirty-five men, and with an investment of $20,000, send their goods to all the principal cities in the United States to the extent of about $40,000 annually.
The Grand Rapids Portable House Company is a partnership between William H. Cray, Edwin Densmore, William D. Pugh, Edward P. Chamberlin and James A. Pugh, with a capital of $10,000, for the manufacture of the Densmore Portable Cottage, patented May 11,1886, to take the place of tents with camping parties. Starting with this, the business has increased until they have not only an active demand for that, but for larger and more substantial cottages for summer resorts, and in warmer climates for dwelling houses the year around. The annual output is about $60,000, and goes to nearly all parts of the world. They have in their employ about fifteen men, and their wage roll is $450 or upward per month. The establishment is at 116 Prescott street.
Boat building ranks among the earliest of the trades pursued here. The indians worked at it, before white men came, and the lightness and elegance of their canoes attest their skill and painstaking patience in the art. And about the first thing that the white trader and settler did was to build for himself a skiff or row-boat or scow. Then came the pole-boats, of which Richard Godfroy had several built before 1837. In the village days, and later, nearly a dozen points along the east bank of the river were at some time occupied as shipyards. The first and several others of the steamboats for the river traffic were built and launched here; also the hulls of some vessels for the great lakes, and a considerable number of boats for the Illinois Canal. Early residents now living remember such men as Jennings, Short, Corbin, Parish, McAllister, Meddler, and others, among ship carpenters here within the twelve of fifteen years after the settlement, who took part in fashioning steamboats and other large water craft. T. H. Truscott, in 1876, commenced building boats at Reeds Lake, and after about three years moved to the west side of the river, on Stocking street. In 1885 the firm of T. H. Truscott & Sons was formed, and at 274 North Front street put out from $2,000 to $3,000 worth of boats annually, which they estimate to be about one-sixth of the capacity of their works.
The making of small boats, as a business, was begun as early as 1866, by Alcott Caldwell, who followed the trade nearly continuously for some twenty years, on the east bank of the river south of Fulton street. In 1888 appears the name of James Hoey as a boat builder on South Jefferson street.
The manufacture of show cases has been carried on for several years by Heyman & Company, now at 63 and 65 Canal street. In this line of work not a very heavy business has yet been done in Grand Rapids; but by its excellence of quality and finish it has attracted attention and an increasing trade at home and abroad.
Another show case factory is operated at 106 Kent street, by Frank Cook, who puts up the article in metal as well as wood frames, and has a thrifty business. The enterprise was started in 1886, by his father, D. D. Cook, and turned over to him January 1, 1889. He also makes a specialty of manufacturing cashier desks.
Hoop Skirt Making.
When the bell-shaped skirts were at their widest spread, a quarter of a century ago, their manufacture in Grand Rapids was begun. Jacob Barth made spiral-spring skirts at 35 Monroe street, and continued to do so for many years, at time giving employment to a large number of hands. Another manufacturer was J. W. Simonds, on South Division street, for a considerable time, beginning about 1877. Of late the business is not very balloonish in proportions; though there is still some bustle.
Saw sharpening as a trade by itself has not many representatives. But James L. Pitts, a practical saw maker and repairer, came to Grand Rapids nearly thirty years ago and has been industriously filing and setting and cutting was teeth ever since. In 1867 Pitts & Markham had a shop by the foot of Huron street. In 1876 Mr. Pitts had a somewhat extensive shop and factory at the corner of Pearl and Campau streets. He is still at work, in a moderate way, on Kent street, north of Crescent avenue. Two or three others have been engaged in the business for a less time.
About 1863 R. E. Butterworth started an oil refinery. His works were between the east bank of the river and the foot of the canal. The price of kerosene oil was reduced to forty cents a gallon. The experiment resulted in showing that Grand Rapids was too far away from petroleum sources for profitable work in that line, and the enterprise was abandoned.
From about 1861 to 1876, or a little later, was the era of wooden pumps. They were in much demand for use on farms and at country taverns. F. B. Day and S. N. Edie & Company were the principal manufacturers at first, and then C. B. Clark and brother. The shops were by the Canal, between Bridge and Huron streets. At one time the output amounted to near $20,000 a year. They were sent out in peddling wagons, to the country about. The wooden pump is mostly supplanted by other kinds of late, and the manufacture has gone to the workers in iron, steel and brass. S. L. Munroe and H. C. Taft, on Seventh street, have a busy little factory.
A. B. Drew has for several years followed the business of setting up and repairing billiard tables, and similar furniture. His shop was on Canal street, and recently removed to Pearl.
The Bottling Business.
The bottling of soda waters and other sparkling beverages was begun on West Bridge street in 1856 by Wm. R. Scribner; and the pop business has been kept going by somebody ever since. J. B. Folger & Sons have followed it continuously nearly twenty years, their establishment being located on Broadway. The Spa Bottling Company (Mill & Lacey and others), in 1882 opened an establishment for bottling mineral and acidulated waters on Kent street, which did a thriving business. In 1888 it was at 173 and 175 South Front street, P. J. Schroeffel, proprietor, putting up ginger ale and mineral water for the trade. Half a dozen of these soda, pop and beer bottling shops in 1887 employed a capital of $40,000,and turned off a product of $118,000, giving work to upward of thirty employes. Wm. A. Clark, on South Division street, has a brisk trade in bottled beverages.
Gravel and Felt Roofs.
The use of gravel roofs, with tar or asphalt for cement upon a foundation of prepared paper or felt, began here in 1858, or perhaps a year or two earlier. Josiah L. Wheeler in that year put such a roof on the Taylor & Barns block. He was the first to make a specialty of "fire and water proof" roofing of that sort. Since about 1868 Herbert M. Reynolds, with a shop on Pearl street, has carried on the business of gravel and felt roofing continuously. He came to Grand Rapids from Niles. Asphalt paving also constitutes part of his business.
HERBERT MORTON REYNOLDS was born at Auburn, N.Y., June 12, 1836. His father, Jehiel M. Reynolds, was born in Tompkins county, N.Y., October 10, 1812. His mother (now living and a member of his household) was Lavinia Clough, born at Homer, Cortland county, N.Y., August 5, 1812. Mr. Reynolds comes of patriotic stock. some of his ancestors fought for liberty in the Revolutionary War, and his grandfather, Jedediah Reynolds, was a soldier in the War of 1812. In 1844 his father and family moved to Erie, Pa., and from that place, in 1850, to Adrian, Michigan, and three years later returned to Erie, where the father died. Herbert M. Reynolds had in his boyhood such educational advantages as the schools of the places mentioned afforded. When his father died he was sixteen years old, and on him devolved the support of his mother and two sisters, and the education of the latter, a duty which he performed with manly fidelity. He procured employment in a whole sale drug establishment, but, that being not suited to his taste and ambition, he relinquished it to engage in other mercantile pursuits. Subsequently, the family moved to Kingsville, Ohio, and to better fit himself for successful business life he entered the academy there. After leaving that institution he returned to Adrian and served an apprenticeship at stone cutting. This occupation he followed for some time, at Adrian, Hillsdale, and Constantine. Active, earnest and alert to advance in the world, he entered later the employ of a large lumber firm at Louisville, Ky., and next learned photography, which he pursued as a business in Western Pennsylvania, then in Cincinnati and again at Niles, Mich., where he resided at the outbreak of the Civil War in 1861. At this juncture the loyalty and patriotism inherited from his ancestry stirred his pulses and he enlisted in the Twelfth Michigan Volunteer Infantry, and was made Color Sergeant. At the front this regiment was assigned to Gen. Prentiss' Division of the Army of the Tennessee under General Grant. At Pittsburg Landing this division was given a central position. At the battle of Shiloh, April 6, 1862, the Confederate General Albert Sidney Johnston hurled the flower of his forces against the center of the Union army, and Gen. Prentiss' Division was the first to receive the shock of that terrific onset. In that battle Mr. Reynolds was terribly wounded; a bullet entering his body near the lower rib, passing through and coming out at the back, carrying away a piece of the process of the spinal column. He lay upon the battle field twenty-six hours, and was then taken to the enemy's headquarters near Corinth. The nature of his wound was such that his death was deemed inevitable, and it was not until Saturday, six days after the battle, that it was dressed. The Brigade Surgeon proposed to the Confederate officers in charge of the Union prisoners the exchange of thirty badly wounded soldiers, man for man. this was agreed to. The wounded ones returned by the exchange were placed on a sanitary boat furnished by the citizens of Louisville, and sent to that place. Mr. Reynolds lay in hospital for weeks; it was a desperate case, with the odds seemingly against him; but a remarkable vitality, and will power, and courage of the highest type, supplemented with good surgical skill and careful nursing, saved his life. Among the ladies of Louisville true to the Union cause and aiding in the care of the wounded soldiers, was the noble wife of the late Judge James Speed (Attorney General in Lincoln's second Cabinet), from whom the subject of this sketch received many marks of sympathy and kindly attention. When sufficiently recovered to travel, Mr. Reynolds returned to Niles, Michigan, and rapidly regained strength. The rebellion was not subdued; more calls for soldiers to battle for the integrity of the Nation were made; and notwithstanding, he had already so nearly given his life in the cause, Mr. Reynolds, in August, 1862, again enlisted, in the Nineteenth Michigan Infantry, then organizing at Dowagiac. While in camp there he was made Commissary Sergeant; and when a vacancy occurred was commissioned Second Lieutenant. Subsequently he was appointed Post and Brigade Commissary at Guy's Gap and McMinsville, Tennessee, occupying that position until the spring of 1864. Upon the reorganization of the army for the Atlanta Campaign, he was transferred to the staff of Gen. John Coburn as Aid-de-Camp, and served in that capacity from Chattanooga to Atlanta. By reason of two slight wounds, and a severe injury caused by the fall of his horse, he was ordered by Gen. Coburn into hospital at Louisville. Afterward he was detailed and placed in charge of ordnance at Barracks No. 1 in that city, and served in that position until the close of the war. Returning to Michigan, he obtained a position in the Post office of Niles, and afterward for a time was Mail Agent between Detroit and Chicago. In 1866 he was agent of the Merchants' Union Express Company at Paw Paw, Michigan, which position he held until its consolidation with the American Express Company in 1868. Looking then for a place wherein to settle in business on his own account, he selected Grand Rapids, and decided to engage in roofing. From a small beginning, through perseverence and patience he has built up a business of which he may justly be proud. Under his management it has not only kept pace with the wonderful growth of the city during these twenty-one years, but extended widely outside. His operations cover a large extent of territory in and about the Grand River Valley, and extend also to numerous other important points in this Peninsula, and to cities in Wisconsin, Indiana and Illinois. Among those who know Mr. Reynolds personally and well, he is recognized as a man of broad and liberal views, of energy, tact, sterling integrity and generous impulses; a public spirited citizen, and ready also to extend a helping hand, if in his power, when misfortune overtakes a friend. May 23, 1863, he married Anna E. Glenn, daughter of Thomas T. and Sarah Glenn, of Niles, who were among the pioneers in the Territory in 1834. Four sons have been born to them, all of whom are living, namely: Harry Morton, Charles Henry, Herbert Glenn, and Lewis Seal Reynolds. He has a modest neat, yet commodious dwelling at 163 Ransom street--a home of taste and comfort. And he has done his full, fair share in the upbuilding of this handsome and ambitious town during the period of his residence therein.
General Wood-Work Shop.
C. B. Clark, who conducts a general job shop at the corner of Pearl and Front streets, in matching, planing, turned work, door and window frames, has been a resident of Grand Rapids from boyhood---fifty years. He uses a capital of about $5,000 and employs a dozen men.
Among the lately established industries is the manufacture of the Aldine Patent Fire-Place, said to be adaptable to use in all sorts of buildings for warming and ventilating. The factory is at the corner of Court street and Shawmut avenue, and appears to be doing a prosperous business.
Charles W. Jennings began the manufacture of flavoring extracts, perfumes, and similar articles, in 1872. The business is still prosecuted, on Louis street, by him and Walter A. Smith (Arctic Manufacturing Company). Another factory of several years standing is that of F. D. Yale & Co., on South Division street. The business in the city has grown to considerable importance, giving work to some twenty-five employes, and turning out a product valued at over $140,000 annually.
Ice and Fuel.
Thomas Sargeant began sprinkling the streets of Grand Rapids at an early date; the merchants footing the bill by subscriptions of a certain amount per week. To this business was soon added the storage of ice for supplying summer customers, and his two sons (twins) continued it many years. Supplies of firewood in the early days were furnished by the farmers near by; but in more recent years the handling of stove wood has become a large business in the aggregate. Among prominent dealers have been G. H. Behnke, S. A. Winchester, S.P. Bennett and others. The handling of coal in large quantities did not begin until about 1865, when James O. Fitch gave the trade a start by importing several carload lots. S. P. Bennett has been continuously in coal, wood and ice business since about 1869; also the Valley City Ice and Coal Company and A. B. Knowlson for some years.
Spices and Other Condiments.
The manufacture of spices, baking powders and extracts, and trade in teas, coffees and other table goods, was established by Edward Telfer in 1885, and two years later the Telfer Spice Company was organized: Edward Telfer, President and Treasurer; Henry Idema, Vice President; Peter Lankester, Secretary. Capital $50,000. They occupy a store by the foot of Pearl street, near the bridge, and the business has a promising growth.
A newly established enterprise is that of E. B. Wright, whose works are north of the city and between the railroad tracks and the river. The business is the refining of tallow and lard, and the production of oils and the refined articles for commerce; also the manufacture of fertilizer from the bones and refuse stuffs. Office at 16 North Waterloo street. The works were built in 1889.
The Alabastine Company was organized in New York, in 1879, by Melvin B. Church, its present manager. It has offices in this city, and mills outside. Alabastine is an article of which calcined gypsum is the base, made to take the place of calcimine in wall coatings and finish.
Diamond Wall Finish.
This is another product for coating walls, made also of calcined gypsum, sand and other materials which render it plastic and adhesive. The Diamond Wall Finish Company was organized in 1883--Freeman Godfrey, President; F. Noble, Secretary; S. F. Godfrey, Treasurer, and Loren Day, Manager. It has salesrooms at the corner of Ottawa and Louis streets.