William Winegar, senior member of the Winegar Furniture company, of Grand Rapids, Mich., was born on the first day of January, 1826, in the town of Gaines, county of Orleans, and state of New York. He was the son of John and Susan (Perry) Winegar, and was one of twelve children, four boys and eight girls, ten of whom lived to be men and women, two dying in infancy. The names of his brothers and sisters who lived to be men and women were: John M., Louisa, Catherine, Emeline, Julia, Henry, Samuel, Jeanette and Harriet. They have all passed away with the exception of Julia and Henry.
His earliest remembrance of home is at the age of five years, when he was living in Clarkson, Monroe county, N.Y. He lived there until the year 1835, when his mother died at the age of forty-four years; then they mioved to the town of Farmington, Oakland county, Mich. His father had no brothers, and was a wood carder and clothier in his early days. He died at the age of sixty-eight years in the year 1852, in the town of Fowlerville, Livington county, Mich. His mother was one of twelve chidren, all of whom lived in western New York. The Perry family were agricultural people.
He lived in the town of Farmington, Oakland county, Mich., until the year 1840, when he went to Detroit, Mich., and attended school, working his way through in winter, and farming in summer, continuing in that way until he was about seventeen years of age. He returned to the state of New York in the year 1844, and went to school a part of the summer and taught school the following winter in the log school house where he had learned his "A,B.Cís."
In the latter part of 1844 he went to Rochester, N.Y., with a capital of $3. And started in business, selling Yankee notions, etc.., a business that he followed for about five years, when he went to Elkhart, Ind., where his sister lived. He remained there until July, 1851, when he married Miss Emma E. Smith at Grass Lake, Jackson county, Mich. Of that marriage two children were born: Mary S., who died in 1873, and William S. On the 11th day of November, 1836, his wife died. On the 23rd day of March, 1859, he married Miss Mary Emma Bingham, daughter of Dr. David and Mary H. (Smith) Bingham, of Grass Lake, who was born on June 17, 1838, at Whitesboro, N.Y. To this second marriagee, were born four children: Harriet (deceased), Frank Bingham, Alice Frances (widow of Edward W. Tinkham), and Louis Howard, the two latter now living with their parents. The family are members of the Park Congregational church; their politics is republican.
He continued farming and merchandizing in Grass Lake, Mich., until the year 1862, when he enlisted in the Seventeenth Michigan infantry and went to the war. He was appointed second lieutenant, then first lieutenant, then captain, after which he resigned because of physical disability, in the year 1863, at the close of the siege of Knoxville. His commission. was dated June 17, 1862.
He then returned to Grass Lake, Mich., where he engaged in the real estate, lumbering and building business, making sash, doors, blinds, etc., a business that he followed until the year 1871, when he came to Grand Rapids, bringing with him his machinery, and continued in the same business until 1873, when he sold out his manufacturing business, but continued in lumbering and real estate until the year 1882, when he went to manufacturing furniture, and started in the retail business on Canal street, in 1885. In 1887 he built his store on the corner of South Division and Cherry streets, where his business is now located. In 1887 he took his second son, Frank Bingham, into the business.
Frank Bingham Winegar was born in Grass Lake, May 8, 1861, He finished his education in the high school at Grand Rapids. When he was eighteen years of age he engaged in the book business, and continued in same until 1887, when he went into business with his father, as buyer and salesman. In 1893 he was married to Miss Aurilla Pearl. Of this marriage three children have been born: Frances Pearl (Deceased), Mary Bingham and Frederick Perry.
In 1891 William S. Winegar, eldest son, joined the firm of Winegar Furniture company. William S. was born in Grass Lake, Jackson county, Mich., July 27, 1854, where he lived and attended school until nineteen years of age, when he engaged in the lumber business at Chelsea, Washtenaw county, Mich. On account of his heath he had to close up his business and go to Colorado, where he was engaged in mining and lumber. In 1874 he married Miss Margaret G. Swift of Grass Lake. He then engaged in the lumbering and shingle business, which he followed until 1891, when he went into business with his father and brother Frank B., where he now is, and has been the financial and general manager of the Winegar Furniture company. William S. and Margaret G. had six children, two of whom are living: Swift Wells, born in 1882 and now with the Winegar Furniture company, and William Edward, born in 1889.
Louis Howard Winegar was born August 8, 1868, in Grass Lake, Jackson county, Mich. When three years old he came to Grand Rapids where he attended school. When he was seventeen years of age he was engaged in the furniture business, a part of the time with his father, and part of the time in Chicago and Rockford, Ill., and now with the Winegar Furniture company as F.B. Winegarís assistant.
The business of the Winegar Furniture company has grown from a small beginning to an immense business, occupying a building eighty-two feet front, and 135 feet deep, a portion of which is six stories, besides several large warehouses for storing their immense stock of furniture, carpets, stoves, crockery and all kinds of house-furnishing goods, giving employment to twenty-five people.
The success of the business of the Winegar Furniture company is largely due to the enterprise and thrift of William S. and Frank B. Winegar.
Transcriber: Barb Jones
Created: 23 Feb 2009