James M. Crosby

Page 247-248 -James M. Crosby is not only a native son of Grand Rapids and a scion of one of the most honored and influential pioneer families of Kent county, but also has the distinction of being the owner of the old-established insurance business that was founded in Grand Rapids by his grandfather, James S. Crosby, in the year 1858, this being now the oldest and one of the most important general insurance agencies in Michigan and the business being carried forward under the original firm name of J. S. Crosby & Company. Mr. Crosby was born in Grand Rapids, July 6, 1867, and is a son of Hon. Moreau S. and Mary E. (Moseley) Crosby, the former of whom died September 12, 1893, and the latter of whom still resides in Grand Rapids, as one of the venerable and loved pioneer women of Kent county. Hon. Moreau S. Crosby was long numbered among the prominent and influential citizens of Grand Rapids, and in the period of 1881-84 he served as lieutenant-governor of Michigan, he having previously, 1873-74, represented the Twenty-eighth district in the state senate. He was born in Manchester, Ontario county, New York, December 2, 1839, and he was a youth when he accompanied his parents on their removal to Grand Rapids, Michigan, in 1857, his earlier education having been received in the schools of New York state, to which he returned from his higher educational discipline, as shown in his having been graduated in Rochester University as a member of the class of 1863. In 1858 his father, James S. Crosby, engaged in the insurance and real estate business in Grand Rapids, and this business he continued after the death of his father in 1875, both having been closely identified with the pioneer development and progress of Grand Rapids, and the subject of this review being a representative of the third generation of the family in continuing the insurance business here established nearly seventy years ago. His son, James M., Jr., is in the office and expects to continue, making four generations. Hon. Moreau S. Crosby was one of the loyal and public-spirited citizens of Grand Rapids, served four years as a member of the city board of education, besides he was for a number of years a member of the state board of charities. He was a zealous member of the Baptist church, as is also his widow, and he was one of the most influential men in building up the Michigan W. M. C. A., was its first president, and served five years as president of the Grand Rapids W. M. C. A., having been for two years president of the state organization. The public schools of Grand Rapids afforded James M. Crosby his early education. After completing his studies in the Central high school he attended historic old Phillips Academy at Andover, Massachusetts, and in 1891 he was graduated in the University of Michigan, from which he received the degree of Bachelor or Arts. Thereafter he was associated with the Valley City Milling Company of Grand Rapids until 1893, when, upon the death of his father, he assumed control of the insurance business of J. S. Crosby & Company, which he has since continued successfully and in connection with which he has well upheld the honors of the family name, as has he also in his liberal and loyal attitude as a citizen. He has given effective service as a member of the board of education, and in this connection was a member of the building committee under the direction of which were erected the Central and the West Side high schools. He is an active member of the Association of Commerce, the Insurance Agents Association and the Peninsular, University and Kent Country Clubs, and he is affiliated with the Society of the Sons of the American Revolution, his eligibility for which is based primarily on the service of his ancestor, Captain Knowles Sears, as a patriot soldier and captain in the Revolution. Mr. Crosby, like his honored father, is a staunch supporter of the principles and cause of the Republican party. He and his wife are earnest communicants of St. Markís church, Protestant Episcopal, and he has served as a member of the vestry of this parish. January 10, 1900, was solemnized the marriage of Mr. Crosby to Miss Louise Barnhart, daughter of the late Willard Barnhart, to whom a memoir is dedicated on other pages of this work, so that further data concerning the family are not here demanded. Mr. and Mrs. Crosby have five children: James M., Jr., a former student in the University of Michigan, is now associated with his father in the insurance business; Moreau S. is a graduate of the University of Michigan and is now engaged in life insurance work at Grand Rapids; Miss Elizabeth, who remains at the parental home, is a graduate of Vassar College; Willard is, in 1925, a student in the University of Michigan, and Mary Louise is attending the public schools of her home city. Four generations of the Crosby family have been represented in the citizenship of Grand Rapids, and in each generation its members have stood prominent in the civic and social affairs of Michiganís beautiful "Valley City."

Transcriber: Nancy Myer
Created: 21 April  2003
URL: http://kent.migenweb.net/white1924/personal/crosbyjm.html