Fred M. Boylon

Page 468-469 - Fred M. Boylon initiated and developed in Grand Rapids a unique business enterprise, that of buying and carefully remodeling old houses and making them attractive places of residence. In this venture he had a most loyal and efficient coadjutor in the person of his wife, who assumed the management of all office details, and the two continue to be thus closely associated in the now large and important real estate and construction business that they have developed through their energy, discrimination and progressive policies. Mr. Boylon was born on the parental home farm near Ada, Kent county, Michigan, March 17, 1877, and is a son of Thomas and Susan (Murray) Boylon, the former of whom was born in Dublin, Ireland, in 1827, and the latter of whom was born in Troy, New York, she having been a child at the time where her parents came to Michigan and became pioneer settlers in Ionia county, she having later been the first school teacher in that county. Thomas Boylon was about seven years old when he accompanied his parents to the United States, in 1834, and the family home was maintained in Seneca Falls, New York, until 1844, when removal was made to the new state of Michigan, which had been admitted to the Union about seven years previously. The father of Thomas Boylon purchased government land in Kent county, and reclaimed the same into a productive farm, this old homestead being still in possession of the Boylon family and being that on which the subject of this sketch was born. Fred M. Boylon assisted in the work of the home farm and attended the district school of the neighborhood until he was fourteen years of age, when he found employment in driving a team in a lumber camp in the northern part of the state. He thus worked during winter seasons, and in the intervening summers he worked on the home farm. In the autumns he made the rounds with a threshing machine outfit, and when the winter season came again he would resume work in the lumber camps. He thus continued until he had attained to his legal majority, and it was about this time that the nation became involved in the war with Spain, in 1898. Mr. Boylon promptly enlisted in the Nineteenth Infantry Regiment of the United States regular army, and with this command he served in Cuba, Porto Rico and the Philippine Islands. He was thus in service two years and three months, and after receiving his honorable discharge he came to Grand Rapids and entered the employ of what is now the Pere Marquette Railroad Company. He was thus engaged twelve years, and in 1912, in a railroad accident, he was severely injured. Upon recovering sufficiently to justify his resumption of active life he turned his attention to the buying of old houses and, after placing them in good condition he would sell the properties. In the early period he had to encounter many difficulties and problems, but, with the aid of his wife, who attended to the office work, including the drawing of remodeling plans, and who also gave valuable counsel, he pressed forward to the goal of success. In the first year he and his wife-partner remodeled two houses and sold them to good advantage. Thus encouraged, they gradually amplified their operations, and the broad scope of their business at the present time is indicated in the fact that in 1924 they erected and sold fifty-five new houses, and did a business amounting to more than $500,000. The Boylons buy solid blocks of land and on the same erect modern houses for which they find a ready demand. At the time of this writing, in the summer of 1925, they have twenty-two houses under construction, and give employment to one hundred and twenty men. It is a splendid achievement and a splendid courage and determination that have marked the business activities of Mr. and Mrs. Boylon, and not withstanding the large business they now control they still adhere to their original plan and maintain their office headquarters in their home. That home today is a most attractive place, on Fulton street, east, and the home is known for its good cheer and generous hospitality. Mr. and Mrs. Boylon have a host of friends in both business and social circles in Grand Rapids. Mrs. Boylon, whose maiden name was Fannie McDermott, was born and reared in Grand Rapids and is a daughter of Charles McDermott. Of the six children of Mr. and Mrs. Boylon four are living: Thomas C., Frederick M., Jr., Helen, and Gladys.

Transcriber:  Nancy Myers
Created: 21 August  2003