Abram B. Knowlson

Pages 299-300 - Abram B. Knowlson, president of the A. B. Knowlson Company, dealers in coal and building material in the city of Grand Rapids, with offices at 218 Shepherd building, was a lad of fourteen years when he came to Michigan, and, dependent from that time on his own resources, he has here worked his way forward to the goal of substantial success and has gained a place as one of the representative business men and highly esteemed citizens of Grand Rapids. Mr. Knowlson as born at Albion, New York, and as he was but ten years old at the time of his fatherís death, his early educational advantages were limited, and he soon began to provide for his own and his widowed motherís maintenance. He came to Michigan in 1865, and in Ingham county he was employed at farm work and also in a grocery store. After remaining in the state about a year he and his mother returned to Niagara county, New York, where he continued his association with farm industry until he was twenty-five years of age. He then returned to Michigan and engaged in the grocery business in Grand Rapids, his modest retail establishment having been at the corner of Barclay and East Bridge streets. While thus engaged Mr. Knowlson found it commercially expedient to trade groceries to farmers in exchange for fire-wood, which latter product found ready demand on the part of Grand Rapids citizens in that period. It was thus by virtual accident that Mr. Knowlson initiated his activities in the handling of fuel, and it is interesting to record that at the present time he is at the head of one of the oldest and largest fuel concerns in Grand Rapids, the A. B. Knowlson Company handling coal at both wholesale and retail, besides controlling a substantial business in the handling of varied lines of building materials. Mr. Knowlson has been in the fuel business in this city during the long period of forty-nine years, and in this connection his reputation has constituted a most valuable business asset. In 1912 he incorporated his business under the title of the A. B. Knowlson Company, and he has since continued the president of this corporation, beside which he has been for thirty-three years president of the Consumers Ice Company, the largest ice manufacturing and ice distributing concern in southwestern Michigan. In the contracting business Mr. Knowlson has been since 1917 one of the principals in the William & Knowlson Asphalt Company, which has developed a large contract business in the installing of street pavement, and he is also vice-president and treasurer of the H. A. Hoxie Company, engaged in the cement highway building business, besides which he is financially interested in other business enterprises in his home city. He was a charter member and a director of the Grand Rapids Board of Trade, the first business menís general organization to be formed in Grand Rapids, in1887, and he has ever been loyal and liberal in his support of measures and enterprises tending to advance the welfare of Grand Rapids. In connection with the construction of the Kent county court house Mr. Knowlson held the contract for the wood work. He is a member of the Michigan Contractors Association, is a Republican in politics, and in the Masonic fraternity he has received the thirty-second degree of the Scottish Rite, besides being a Noble of the Mystic Shrine. In 1878 Mr. Knowlson was united in marriage with Miss Mary Collins, who was born in the historic old town of River Rouge, Michigan, where are now established great shops of the Ford Motor Company. Mr. And Mrs. Knowlson have no children. Mrs. Knowlson is a zealous member of the First Methodist Episcopal church and has been an active worker in this organization since childhood. She is a daughter of Joel Collins, who is numbered among the highly respected citizens of Grand Rapids.

Transcriber:  Ann Ed
Created: 22 October 2003
URL: http://kent.migenweb.net/white1924/personal/knowlsonab.html