William Sayre Canfield

Page 561-562 William Sayre Canfield is president of Grand Rapids real estate firm of Canfield-Kooistra Company, which has been identified with the development of several subdivisions of Grand Rapids. The office of the firm is at 702-703 Ashton building. Mr. Canfield was born at Quaker Mills, Lenawee county, Michigan, March 12, 1861, and is a representative of a family that was founded in that county about two years prior to the admission of the territory of Michigan to statehood. Sayre Canfield, grandfather of the subject of this review, settled in Lenawee county in the year 1835 and became one of the prominent and influential pioneer citizens of that section of the state. He built the old waterpower grist mills that there gave title to the little village of Quaker Mills, and he was interested also in the ownership and operation of other pioneer flower mills in that section of the state. He was a veteran of the War of 1812, and his five sons served as valiant soldiers for the Union in the Civil war, and two were members of a regiment of Michigan engineers that made a record of effective service in many of the important campaigns and battles marking the course of the war. Siles Canfield, uncle of the subject of this sketch, was captain of Company I, First Michigan Engineers, and he maintained his home in Michigan during his entire life. Ezra Snow Canfield, father of the subject of this sketch, was united in matrimony with Miss Ruth Ann Coggeshall, who was likewise born and reared in Michigan, where her father, William Coggeshall became a territorial pioneer in Leneawee county, he having settled there in 1836, the year prior to the admission of the state to the Union. He whose name initiates this review is a scion of colonial families, and has had an ancestry in every war in which the nation was involved up to the Spanish-American war. One or more representatives of Canfield family took part in the War of 1812, and the Mexican war, and the family name gained special distinction in connection with the Civil war. William Sayre Canfield was about six years old at the time of the family removal from Lenawee county to Grand Rapids, and thus his memory compasses the development of the "Valley City" from the status of a mere village, in 1867, into a metropolitan center of great industrial precedence and into a residential city of unrivaled attractions. Here his public school advantages included those of the old Union high school. As a youth he served an apprenticeship to the trade of millwright, but he gave it his attention only a short time. For many years he was associated with the grocery business of Grand Rapids, his experience in the line having run the gamut from service as delivery boy for retail grocery, through productive work as a traveling salesman for a local wholesale grocery house, with which he served also as house buyer, to the ownership and management of a retail grocery establishment, and finally his assuming a position as a principal in the wholesale grocery house of the Judson Grocery Company, with which he continued his connection twenty-four years. He retired from this line of enterprise in 1920 and has since been an active member of the real estate board of the city that has represented his home since his boyhood, and to the civic and material advancement of which he has contributed his quota. Mr. Canfield is a Republican in politics. He is affiliated with the Masonic fraternity, and since his early youth he has been a most earnest and zealous member of and worker in the Presbyterian church. In 1885, Mr. Canfield was united in marriage to Miss Laura A. Sterling, of Kalamazoo, and she died on the 10th of April 1922, the one child of his union having been a son, Bert, who died in November, 1913, he having married Miss Margaret Ford, of Kalamazoo, who survives him, as does also their one child, Margaret Jane, who is now the only living descendant that William Sayre Canfield can claim.

Transcriber: Marcia Shears
Created: 22 March 2003
URL: http://kent.migenweb.net/white1924/personal/canfieldws.html