Among the leaders in commercial and industrial circles in the city of Alpena, Michigan, specific mention should be made of him whose name heads this sketch. Mr. Besser was born near Buffalo, New York, and is the son of Herman and Clothilda (Hoffman) Besser, who were both natives of near Leipsic, Saxony, Germany. The subject attended the schools of his native state and upon attaining maturity he engaged in various occupation on his own account, eventually going to Montmorency county. Michigan, where for fifteen years he was successfully engaged in the lumber business. About eight years ago Mr. Besser came to Alpena county and at once became identified with the industrial life of this city. A brief summary of the various enterprises with which he is now identified is as follows: He is one of the chief stockholders in the Besser Manufacturing Company, which runs a stave mill with a capacity of ten million staves and twenty million shingles per year, employing about one hundred men. This business was started on a small scale in 1897 staves being then the only product, but the business has rapidly grown to its present mammoth proportions. This company has also recently completed a cement brick plant, with a capacity of twenty-four thousand bricks every ten hours. This is one of the most perfect cement brick plants in existence, all its operations practically being automatic. Mr. Besser has patented and is putting on the market a machine for the manufacture of cement blocks, cement drain tile and sewer tile. The sewer tile is in three pieces, reinforced, and has locking joints, making it perfectly tight. This tile can be made more cheaply than brick and will last forever. The machine, which was patented by Mr. Besser in 1905. will be offered to the farmers, who will thus be enabled to make their own drain tile at the possible rate of five hundred per day. In association with Mr. Kimball, Mr. Hesser is interested in the Kimball Lumber Company, lacing now the president of the company. They own one of the best band saw-mills in the state and cut fifty thousand feet of hard wood or seventy thousand feet of soft wood per day, running the year round. They have just recently purchased a large tract of timber near Alpena, thus giving employment to fifty more men. the product being supplied to this one mill. At one time Mr. Besser was president and active manager of the Alpena Portland Cement Company, and is still a director in that concern. He is also a director in the Alpena National Bank and the Alpena County Savings Bank. He has other financial interests here, giving his support also to all movements looking to the advancement of the city or county in which he lives. Mr. Besser married Miss Hattie Ely, a native of Buffalo, New York, and the daughter of William G. Ely, a pioneer family of that state, they having owned a farm where now stands the city of Buffalo. In politics the subject is a stanch and influential Republican and is now chairman of the Republican county committee. Fraternally he is a Freemason, while in religious belief he is a Presbyterian. He is well known throughout a wide range of country and by all is respected and esteemed for his genuine worth as a man and citizen. [Biographical History of Northern Michigan B.F. Bowen & Co., 1905]
Jesse H. Besser
Inventor, philanthropist. In 1904, an industry was born when Jesse Besser developed the hand tamp block machine which allows concrete blocks to be made in the field at construction sites. He and his father, Herman Besser, formed the Besser Manufacturing Company to manufacture and improve the innovative machines. The Besser Company grew to be dominant in the industry. He developed unique blocks for Frank Lloyd Wright to use in his buildings. On August 30, 1906, he married Anna Mulvena, who became his partner in his industrial and philanthropic endeavours. These included the Besser Foundation in 1944 and the Jesse Besser Fund in 1960. The foundation has established long term scholarships at Alpena Community College (his alma mater), donated land for public schools in Alpena, helped build the Alpena County Library, established the Besser Natural Area to preserve a rare virgin pine forest, built the Besser Museum for Northeast Michigan and Besser Lodge at Boy Scouts of America Camp Greilick. For his philanthropic contributions to education, he was awarded the Silver Medallion, a 1963 Citizen's Award by the Greater Michigan Foundation. He was presented the Medallion and Ribbon of the Order of Saint Sylvester by the Bishop of Saginaw on behalf of Pope Paul VI. (bio by: dfilpus; Source: David R. Chessman Sr.]
Among the most highly esteemed citizens of Alpena, Michigan, is the gentleman whose name heads this brief article, who has since 1896 served most efficiently and satisfactorily as probate judge of Alpena county. The Judge is a native of bonnie Scotland, born on the isle of Mull, and is the son of John and Nancy (Mclnnis) Campbell, natives also of that island. In 1849 he was brought by his parents to America, locating first near Ottawa, province of Quebec, Canada. At the age of fourteen years he apprenticed himself to learn the printing trade in the office of the Ottawa Citizen. In 1865 came to St. Joseph county, Michigan, and for a year was in the employ of Peron W. Smith, circuit judge. Being then twenty-one years old. Mr. Campbell started out on a more extensive career and entered the lumbering industry. He commenced at the bottom, first cutting down the standing pine timber, but his energy and ability was soon recognized and he became foreman for Hilliard, Churchill & Company, being also in the same position with several other leading firms. He then commenced scaling logs, one of the most important positions in the lumbering field, but one for which his previous experience had particularly well qualified him. He also engaged in buying logs and then for fifteen years was scaler for the Thunder Bay Boom Company, being so engaged in 1896, when he was called by the votes of his fellow citizens to the position which he has since so acceptably filled. At that time the probate judge’s office was in a bad condition. The official records had been poorly kept, no cases had been numbered and no systematic files kept, there was no office furniture nor were there any law books. Without any previous training or experience along this line, the Judge at once went to work to straighten out and systematize the affairs of the office. Every case on record in the office was numbered and transferred to a new index and the present status of the case brought down to date. He then applied himself to the study of the laws applying to probate courts and causes, the result being that today his office is generally recognized as the best kept and administered probate court in the state. The regard in which he is held by his fellow citizens was well expressed in the fact that he has three times been elected to succeed himself and at each election his competitor of the opposite political creed was the strongest man in his party eligible for the place. Judge Campbell is now in the prime of life and is actively interested in everything of importance to the welfare of his community. Before accepting his present position he served one term as alderman and also to some extent engaged in the real estate business. As a public speaker the Judge is recognized as a leader in political, social and fraternal circles, his wide knowledge of matters in general enabling him to talk entertainingly on a wide variety of topics. He received in his youth the benefit of but a common-school education, but has all through his life been a liberal reader, a deep thinker and a close observer of men and events, his library being one of the best selected in the city of Alpena. Fraternally he is a member of the Free and Accepted Masons and the Independent Order of Odd Fellows, taking a deep interest in the welfare of these beneficent orders. His religious relations are with the Baptist church, which he joined in 1868 and in which he has for several years been a member of the board of trustees, giving his ardent support to all the various enterprises of the church. The Judge married, in Alpena, Miss Maggie J. Donaldson, of this city, though a native of Canada. [Biographical History of Northern Michigan B.F. Bowen & Co. 1905]
Dayton W. Closser
Among the young attorneys of Alpena. Michigan, who has even in the brief period since his admission to the bar of this state attained a good reputation as a safe and careful counselor, is he whose name appears above. Mr. Closser is a native of Petersburg, Monroe county, this state, and is the son of Terry and Frances P. (Parker) Glosser. His paternal grandfather is Capt. Morgan Parker, of a family which has long been prominent in politics and public affairs. The subject's uncle, Burlon Parker, is chief of the special treasury agents at Washington. D. C., and another uncle. Dayton Parker, is a prominent physician and surgeon of Detroit, this state. After receiving a good common-school education, the subject entered the Petersburg high school, from which he was graduated in 1891, and was then engaged in teaching school. From 1893 to 1900 was employed in the office of the auditor general at Lansing, and then entered the law department of the State University at Ann Arbor, graduating with the class of 1902. He was admitted to practice by the state board, by whom he was examined and entered upon the active practice of his profession at Ann Arbor, but two years later, in 1903. came to Alpena, and has since then been busily engaged in professional duties here. He is the possessor of those sterling qualities which will win success in any line or undertaking, and is besides well equipped by careful study and preparation for the practice. He has been well received here and is rapidly winning a good reputation among his colleagues at the bar. In politics he is a Republican, while his fraternal relations are with the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks. [Biographical History of Northern Michigan B.F. Bowen & Co. 1905]
Joseph B. Comstock
In the death of Joseph Baker Comstock, which occurred at Alpena, Michigan, on August 19, 1894, at the age of thirty-four years, there was removed from that locality one of its leaders in various lines of endeavor. Tireless energy, keen perception and honesty of purpose were among his chief characteristics and while advancing individual success he also largely promoted the material and moral welfare of his community. Mr. Comstock was born in St. Clair county, Michigan, on July 15, 1860, and was given a good education in his youth. In 1880, at the age of twenty years, he came to Alpena and entered the banking association of Comstock, Berwick & Company, as partner and cashier, which relations he sustained at the time of his death. He had previously graduated from the Detroit Business College and was well qualified for this responsible position, soon demonstrating business and executive abilities of a high order. He gained a high place in the esteem of his fellow citizens and in 1889 was a member of the city board of aldermen, representing the first ward. He took a deep interest in all things affecting the welfare of the city in either material, social or moral lines and was well liked by every one who came in contact with him. Mr. Comstock married Miss Louise McDonald, the daughter of James and Julia (Hill) McDonald, residents of Alpena, although Tames McDonald was a native of Scotland and his wife of the western part of New York. To Mr. and Mrs. Comstock were born the following children: Mildred. Andrew Westbrook. Joseph Raker and Alfred James. At the time of his death, many were the expressions of regret and eulogy as touching upon the life and valuable services rendered by the subject in his community, the following brief but expressive words appearing in the Alpena Evening Echo: "He had not an enemy in the city. He was kind and charitable and through his kindness of heart many a business man was titled over a tight place." [Biographical History of Northern Michigan B.F. Bowen & Co. 1905]
John W. Creighton
The subject of this sketch, who was recently the incumbent of the responsible office of sheriff of Kalkaska county, is to be individually considered as one of the representative citizens of this section and in a more abstract sense as a member of a family whose history has been linked with that of Kalkaska county ever since the early pioneer epoch, though he is now the only representative of the family in the county. He owns a farm of one hundred and sixty acres and stands forth as a loyal and public-spirited citizen of the county in which he has lived ever since his boyhood days. Mr. Creighton is a native of the province on Ontario, Canada, and is a scion of stanch English stock. The date of his nativity was February 28, 1863, and he is a son of Robert and Jane (Carson) Creighton, who came to Michigan a few years after his birth, first locating in Alpena and thence coming to Kalkaska county in 1869. The father, who is a blacksmith by trade, secured a homestead in Springfield township, two and one-half miles distant from the present village of Fife Lake, and there began clearing the place and preparing it for the uses of agriculture. He disposed of the timber and also did considerable lumber jobbing during the early years of his residence here, also working in the lumber woods for others. His wife was the second white woman to settle in the township mentioned, and their primitive forest lodge was one of the first in that now attractive and fruitful section of the county. The parents continued to reside in this county until about 1888, when they removed to the state of Washington, where they repeated their pioneer experiences and where they make their home at the present time. The future sheriff passed his youth on the old homestead, in the midst of the practically unbroken forests of Kalkaska county, and he early became familiar with the secrets and labors of woodcraft, assisting his father in the reclamation of the farm and in his varied lumbering operations and continuing to be thus associated during the major portion of the time until his parents removed to the Pacific coast. His educational advantages were such as were afforded in the public schools of the pioneer epoch, and he made good use of the opportunities thus afforded him. He continued to give his attention to the work and management of the old farm until 1900, when he was elected to the office of sheriff, giving a most capable and satisfactory administration of the shrievalty and being chosen as his own successor at the expiration of his original term of two years. In politics he is a stalwart advocate of the principles and policies of the Republican party, in whose cause he has been an active and valued worker in a local way. Upon the expiration of his term of sheriff Mr. Creighton purchased the Tyler livery and has since been successfully engaged in that enterprise. He is affiliated with the Knights of Pythias and the Knights of Maccabees, being one of the sterling, generous-hearted and genial men whose portion is ever to win and retain strong friendships and unqualified popularity. In 1884 Mr. Creighton was united in marriage to Miss Lavircia A. Richards, she being a granddaughter of James Patterson, who was one of the early and honored pioneers of this county. Mr. and Mrs. Creighton have no children. [Biographical History of Northern Michigan B.F. Bowen & Co. 1905]
Samuel A. Davison
Among the many excellent men of northern Michigan who have stamped the impress of their strong personality upon the community where they live, none are entitled to more specific mention than the gentleman whose name appears above. Mr. Davison is a native of Lenawee county, Michigan, and is the son of James and Jennette (Austin) Davison, natives of the north of Ireland. The subject was reared in Genesee comity, this state, and there received a good practical education in the public schools. His has been an active life, as from the first years of his young manhood he has struck out on original lines for himself and, without the aid of money or influential friends, he has seen his efforts rewarded with a satisfactory degree of success. Mr. Davison engaged in the land and lumber business in Genesee county for some time and in 1870 he came to Alpena, Michigan, with the intention of investing in timber and farm lands. He had good success from the start in obtaining control of land, and equal success in inducing settlers to come here from the southern part of Michigan, the Eastern states and Canada, so that he has to a marked degree been the means of bringing the advantages of northern Michigan to the notice of thousands and of adding to the population and the industry and wealth of this locality. In 1880 Mr. Davison removed his family to Alpena county, clearing up and improving two large farms. At that time business men ridiculed the idea that people could wake a living by farming in this section, but Mr. Davison thought differently, and his subsequent success and that of thousands of others who have followed in his footsteps has demonstrated the soundness of his judgment. He has shown that after (he timber has been cleared off, the land is all right and that this is a great place for a poor man to get a start. His example and influence has done much to make Alpena county an agricultural section of wide reputation. Mr. Davison located a great deal of land through this part of the state and after selling or cutting the timber off the land, he then divided it into small farms and sold them at very reasonable terms. In 1888 he removed to Alpena and has since that time made it his home. In 1896 he purchased the Warren Davis shingle mill, which he still operates to its full capacity, forty thousand shingles per day, besides ties and lumber to a large extent, employing in all his operations about one hundred men. He is a large stockholder in the Kimball Lumber Company, the Churchill Lumber Company, and a director in the Alpena National Bank and the Alpena County Savings Bank.
On August 19, 1879, Mr. Davison wedded Miss Mary J. Henderson and to them have been born three children, namely: Robert A. is employed as bookkeeper in his father's office; Samuel J. is a student in the State University at Ann Arbor; Jennie E. is a student in the high school at Alpena. On August 14, 1894, Mr. Davison married Lowida H. Richmond, his present wife. Mr. Davison has been and still is one of the strong men of his day and generation in Alpena county and his achievements are destined to be the common heritage of the people. [Biographical History of Northern Michigan B.F. Bowen & Co. 1905]
Among the men who have achieved success in Skagit county and in so doing have contributed not a little toward the general progress, is certainly to be numbered the worthy and influential pioneer whose name forms the title of this article. Born in the province of New Brunswick, Canada, in 1846, he grew up there under pioneer conditions, and naturally his chief preparation for life's battle was the formation of habits of industry and self-reliance which comes with a sustained effort to clear up and win a livelihood from a heavily timbered farm. He did, however, receive such educational discipline as was to be had in the schools of the parish in which he was born, and in the larger school of life in which he has since taken an advanced course, being graduated with honors. A degree of success in the industrial world has been his such as many a man with larger opportunities might envy. Mr. Halloran's father, John Halloran, was a native of county Limerick, Ireland, whence he came to New Brunswick in 1825. For a number of years he was one of the active and forceful men in the early industrial development of that province, but in 1868 he moved to Alpena, Michigan, where he passed away some four years later. Before coming to America he had served four years in the British army. The mother of our subject, Ellen (Dawson) Halloran, who was also a native of Ireland; and who became a resident of New Brunswick while yet in early childhood, died in Alpena, Michigan, in 1896.
At the age of twenty the Mr. Halloran of this article left his New Brunswick home to seek the favor of Fortune in the American republic, moving first to Detroit, Michigan, whence, after a brief stay, he went to Alpena. There he became interested in the lumber business. Special aptitude and ability in handling men, together with industry and steadfastness of purpose, soon told in his favor and before long he was entrusted with the general management of the work and the direction of a large crew. About 1876 he determined to secure for himself the larger opportunities offered by the still newer West, so struck out for the coast. He spent brief periods of time in Portland and Seattle, and about 1877 became identified with the lumber business of Skagit county, his first place of employment being the vicinity of the site upon which Edison was subsequently built. Taking land three-quarters of a mile from the present town he settled there permanently and gave to that community the benefit of his labor and influence in the direction of progressiveness and industrial and social development. For twenty years he was engaged energetically in farming, raising oats, hay and cattle. In the fall of 1885 he was nominated by the Republican party for the office of county commissioner, and was duly elected to that position. So acceptably did he perform his official duties that he was called to succeed himself two years later, serving during the four years as chairman of the board.
In 1900, he sold his original home, bought a place in Edison and moved into town for the benefit of his wife's health. With characteristic resourcefulness, he engaged in the real estate business when farming was no longer practicable for him, and in 1904 he was summoned by the franchises of his fellow-citizens to the responsible office of county treasurer. He is discharging his duties with an eye single to the public weal, retaining as deputy Ex-treasurer Welts that the benefit of a ripe experience may not be lost to the tax payer. In all his business ventures and activities, Mr. Halloran has been abundantly successful and the reward which Skagit county seldom fails to bestow upon the industrious and sound of judgment are his in good measure. He has many interests throughout the county, but he values his material wealth less highly than the esteem and confidence of his fellow-citizens which have come as a result of long years of square and honorable dealing. He is very loyal to all the interests of Skagit county, taking a pardonable pride in its past achievements, its present greatness and its promise for the future.
Mr. Halloran was married in Alpena, Michigan, in 1877, the lady being Miss Bridget McGinty, a native of Ireland, who moved to Canada with her brothers when a small girl. The fruit of their union is three children: James and George at home in Edison, and Mary Donnelly, between them, in age, living at Sedro-Woolley. Fraternally, Mr. Halloran is a Chapter Mason, and in politics he is an active and loyal Republican, having served his party in both the capacity of county central committeeman, and member of the state committee. [An Illustrated History of Skagit and Snohomish Counties, Inter-State Publishing Company, Chicago, Illinois, 1906] Submitted by M.K.Krogman]
John M. Harris
The present incumbent of the office of judge of probate, for Charlevoix county figures as the subject of the following brief renew. and it is needless to say that he is one of the honored citizens of this section, having long maintained his home in Boyne City. being also an able member of the bar of this section.
Judge Harris was born in Uxbridge, Ontario. on the 10th of September, 1861 and is a son of Chester and Mary Jane (Gray) Harris, the former of whom was born in Canada, being of Pennsylvania Dutch linage. while the latter was born in Canada, of Irish parentage. The father of the subject early became identified with the lumbering industry in northern Michigan, and he became the owner of a farm in Marion township, Charlevoix county, where he maintained his home until his death, which occurred on the 1st of May, 1903, while his wife was summoned into eternal rest on October 22, 1904. They became the parents of two children, John M., and Mary Louise, married to James Haman, of East Jordan. The subject of this sketch was reared on the pioneer farm and as a boy he became inured to hard work in the lumber woods and on the newly cleared homestead, in whose cultivation and improvement he rendered material aid. His educational advantages in his youth were necessarily limited, owing to the exigencies of time and place, but through personal application he made good the handicap and acquired a liberal and practical education. He early manifested a distinctive predilection for the study of United States history, particularly the Ridpath history, and thus he was led to become a stanch advocate of the principles of the Republican party even before reaching his legal majority and securing the incidental right of franchise. He attended the somewhat primitive public schools of Canada until he had attained the age of thirteen years, and thereafter worked on a farm until twenty years of age, having practically no opportunity for schooling in the meanwhile. He, however, made good use of his leisure moments and that he advanced rapidly in a scholastic way is manifest when we revert to the fact that he became a successful teacher in the public schools of Charlevoix county, devoting twelve years to this vocation, and being employed in the schools of Boyne City during five years of this period. In the meanwhile he took up the study of law, under the direction of Judge R. L. Corbitt. of Boyne City, and in 1893 he was duly admitted to the bar of the state, opening an office in Boyne City on the 1st of July of that year. He soon built up a large and representative practice, and has ever maintained a strong hold on popular confidence and esteem, while he has been a prominent factor in the civic and political affairs of the county, he effected the organization of a large corporation to control the product of maple lumber in Michigan and also aided in the organization of the Boyne City, Gaylord & Alpena Railroad. As the Judge has been employed as a teacher in nearly every section of the county he is acquainted with practically every family in this section, and the high esteem in which he is held has led to his securing a very large and representative support in his professional work. He has taken a deep interest in local affairs of a public nature and has been active in local campaign work since 1888. He is retained as counsel for nearly all the local industrial concerns and is a director of the Boyne City Chemical Company, while he has been prominently identified with the furthering of the business interests of his home city, in a number of instances lending his influence and also his financial aid. He has platted two additions to Boyne City and has been unflagging in his loyalty to the town and in his faith as to its future. In a fraternal way he is affiliated with the local Masonic bodies, as well as the Independent Order of Odd Fellows, the Knights of the Maccabees and the Knights of Pythias, in the local lodge of which last mentioned order he has served as chancellor commander. The Judge and his wife are valued members of the Methodist Episcopal church and he is a member of the board of trustees of the local organization.
On February 22, 1888, was solemnized the marriage of Judge Harris to Miss Nellie Noyes, who was born at Norwood, Antrim county, Michigan, being a daughter of Amos B. Noyes, an honored and influential pioneer of that section. Judge and Mrs. Harris have five children, whose names, with respective dates of birth, are here incorporated; Bessie, a member of the class of 1907 in the local high school, was born July 29. 1890; Lee was drowned in Pine lake, on the 11 th of July, 1901, at the age of nine years; Lyle was born on the 13th of October, 1893; Kate, October 6, 1896; Helen, April 9, 1903: and Althea. June 30, 1904. [Biographical History of Northern Michigan B.F. Bowen & Co. 1905]
William E. Hazell
Conspicuous among the leading citizens of Alpena, Michigan, is the gentleman whose name appears above and who, idealise of the ability displayed by him in important positions, has won the high regard of the entire community. Mr. Hazell is a native of far-away Wales, where he was educated and reared to manhood, and there look up the burden of life’s activities for himself. Coming to the United States in 1890. he came at once to Alpena and has since that time resided here. He is now occupying the important dual positions of secretary and manager of the city water works plant, having occupied the same positions with the former owners of the plant, the Alpena City Water Works Company, who sold the plant to the city. Mr. Hazell has been with the water plant since 1891 a period of about fifteen years, and during this time has seen the number of patrons of the company increased from fifteen hundred and sixty to twenty-two hundred and forty, the quantity of water used having- more than doubled. A new plant is being put in at Stony Point, on the east end. which will, when completed, be coupled up with the old plant on the north end the capacity of the new plant being eight million gallons daily, the fine new pumps being made by the Snow company. New mains are being laid all over the city, ranging from twenty-four to six inches. An electric light plant is also being constructed by the city, which will be run by the same power, the entire improvements costing, when completed, about two hundred and fifty thousand dollars. Mr. Hazell was formerly also a director of the old water and electric light companies, before the municipality took them over. In every position which he has occupied he has evinced business and executive qualities of a high order and has won a high reputation as a man of far-sighted sagacity and keen judgment. Because of his many fine personal qualities and the evident interest he possesses in the welfare of the city of his residence, he has won the sincere respect of all who know him. [Biographical History of Northern Michigan B.F. Bowen & Co. 1905]
The subject of this sketch, who is the efficient and popular superintendent of the Alpena Portland Cement Works, at Alpena, this state, is a native of Greenwich, New York, and is the son of Henry and Ann (Rafferty) Hughes, both natives of county Down, Ireland, who removed to Glens Falls, New York, in 1848. Mr. Hughes was reared in his native state and received there a good education in the public schools, residing in his native state for forty years. He early became identified with the Glens Falls Cement Company, with whom he remained for ten years, during which time he became familiar with every detail of the manufacture of cement. He then became engaged with the Cayuga Lake Cement Company, in the same state, and subsequently became assistant superintendent of the Hecla Portland Cement Company, at Bay City, Michigan, remaining in this position for fifteen months, and during that time completing the construction of the plant. In 1904 Mr. Hughes came to Alpena and assumed the superintendency of the Alpena Portland Cement Company’s plant, in which position he has evinced qualities of the highest order tending to increase the efficiency and productive capacity of the plant. He possesses good business and executive ability and stands high in the regard of the stockholders of the company with which he is connected. In subsequent paragraphs will be found a brief description of the plant, which is considered one of the best works of the kind in northern Michigan. Mr. Hughes married Miss Bertha Allen, of Saratoga county, New York, and to them have been born two children, Dorothy and James Francis. Fraternally the subject is a member of the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks, the Ancient Order of Hibernians and the Knights of Columbus, while his religious affiliation is with St. Bernard’s Catholic church at Alpena. Though a resident of Alpena but a comparatively short time, Mr. Hughes has already won a warm place in the hearts of his acquaintances, who have not been slow to recognize his sterling qualities and ability.
The Alpena Portland Cement Company was organized in 1900 and the mammoth plant was erected the same year. The present officers of the company are Patrick Culligan, president; C. R. Reynolds, vice-president; John Monaghan, secretary; W. H. Johnson, treasurer, and J. P. Hughes, superintendent. The plant as originally constructed consisted of but six kilns, and was intended as a marl plant, but was subsequently changed to stone, under the wet process. In 1903-4 it was changed to the dry process and the capacity increased to thirty-eight thousand barrels per month. The buildings are substantially constructed and are complete in every particular for the purpose intended. The raw material building is two hundred by one hundred and five feet in size, built of stone; the finishing room, one hundred and seventy by one hundred and five feet; drying department, sixty by one hundred and ten feet; clay shed, three hundred by one hundred feet; stock house, two hundred and four by one hundred and two feet, besides which there are shops, round house, cooper shop, store house, laboratory and the office, all fitted with the most up-to- date machinery and conveniences for the successful manufacture and handling of the product. The company owns two hundred acres of land, and a railway seven miles long connects the works with a clay bed where the company owns several sections of land, including marl beds, clay and natural cement rock. Altogether the plant gives employment to about one hundred and sixty men. The stone and clay deposits are practically inexhaustible, while the mill is in charge of men of large experience, who know the importance of great care and vigilance in every part of the process of manufacture. The company’s shipping facilities are unsurpassed, as. located as they are on Thunder bay, with a depth of water sufficient to accommodate large steamers, they can reach all the cities on the Great Lakes by water freights. The raw materials for manufacturing Portland cement are nowhere found in the correct proportions of lime, silica, alumina, iron and sulphate of lime, of which it is composed. It is only by careful selection and intimate mixing of materials found in nature containing the necessary properties that the highest grade of Portland cement can be made. The pure coraline limestone and clay shales found in abundance in Alpena county are peculiarly adapted to the production of the highest grade of cement, and for this reason, as well as the guidance of a master hand in their manipulation, that the Alpena cement has attained the high reputation accorded it by all competent to judge. [Biographical History of Northern Michigan B.F. Bowen & Co. 1905]
Lewis T. Kline
One of the important industries of Alpena. Michigan, is that conducted by the subject of this sketch, who is engaged in the manufacture of Kline's excelsior and wood turning machinery, the former of which is in use in all the wood-producing counties of the state and indeed of the country. Mr. Kline is a native of the Wolverine state. having been born at Flint, Michigan, on January 4, 1857, and is the son of Joseph Kline, who came to Flint in 1837, at the age of fourteen years. The subject’s greatgrandfather came to America from Frankfort-on-the-Rhine. Germany, while his son, the subject’s grandfather, was one of the pioneer settlers of Michigan. The subject himself saw the first train run over the Pere Marquette Railroad. The subject received a fair education in the public schools and upon attaining his majority started out on his own account. In 1879 he came to Alpena and was first employed by C. B. Warren and was later engineer for the Minor Lumber Company. In 1883 he obtained a patent for a log roller and in 1887 a patent for a log roller and log deck apparatus, which have come into extensive use in the United States and Canada and other parts of the world. He later obtained patents on a steam feed valve, an automatic lathe and his excelsior machinery, all of them being marvels of ingenuity and greatly simplifying and cheapening the cost of production, The factory for the manufacture of these articles was at first a modest affair, but has rapidly grown in response to the demand for the product, until it ranks with the leading enterprises of this city. Mr. Kline does not allow his attention to he diverted from his business interests and is rapidly acquiring a reputation throughout the trade for the value of his productions and high quality of their manufacture.
Mr. Kline has been twice married. His first wife was Miss Gazlay. of Flint. Michigan, by which union were born two sons. Arthur L. of Detroit, and Herman J., who graduated from the Alpena high school and is now taking a course in mechanical engineering at the State University, at Ann Arbor. Mr. Kline's second union was with Miss Elizabeth McKinnon, of Alpena, and to them have been born four children, DeEtte, Joseph and George, twins, and Flora. Mr. Kline is a gentleman who in all circumstances in which he has been placed has borne himself with that spirit which brings to a man the respect and esteem of the entire community. He has in all respects been the architect of his own fortunes and has built wisely and well. [Biographical History of Northern Michigan B.F. Bowen & Co. 1905]
Among the leading industries of Alpena, Michigan, is that of tanning, and among those who have been instrumental in promoting the success of the enterprise specific mention should be made of William Krebs. Mr. Krebs came to Alpena to make his permanent home in 1896. though in the preceding year he had been here superintending the construction of the C. Moench Sons Company plant, one of the largest tanneries in northern Michigan. This plant gives employment to one hundred men and has a capacity of seven hundred and fifty finished sides of sole leather per day. The buildings cover a large area, the company properly embracing fifty-five acres of ground. The main building is six hundred by sixty feet, with an I, sixty by one hundred feet: the boiler house is sixty by ninety feet, and the leech house fifty by one hundred and twenty- five feet. Since coming to Alpena Mr. Krebs has had entire control of this large plant, and, having been engaged in the tanning business for twenty-one years, is well qualified to conduct it. The company also own one upper leather tannery, a glue plant and a gas plant at Gowanda. New York, and an upper leather tannery at Salamanca, that state, these being among the largest plants in the United States, and in all branches of its business the company gives employment to about seven hundred men. Mr. Krebs is one of the vice-presidents of the company and in the performance of his duties spends part of his lime at Gowanda and Salamanca. His brother John is general foreman of the Alpena plant, while a nephew, Walter J. Krebs, is bookkeeper, having taken the highest honors at the Alpena Business College. The subject is a director of the Alpena National Bank and is vice-president of the Lakeside Cranberry Company, which controls four hundred acres of cranberries. Fraternally he is a member of the Free and Accepted Masons, belonging to all the subordinate bodies, and also belongs to the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks. Mr. Krebs married Miss Amelia Moench of Cattaraugus, New York, the daughter of Christopher Moench, the founder of the firm of C. Moench Sons Company. Mrs. Krebs died on December 17, 1902, having become the mother of three children, Carrie, William H. and Adolph E. Mr. Krebs has evinced business and executive qualities of the highest order and has been to a large degree instrumental in promoting the success of the enterprise with which he is so closely identified. The possessor of many fine personal traits of character, he has won and retains a host of warm personal friends. [Biographical History of Northern Michigan B.F. Bowen & Co. 1905]
William Mark Levyn
Born in Alpena, (Alpena Co) Mich., Apr. 20, 1876; son of Jacob and Amelia (Roth) Levyn; educated in public schools of Alpena; married at Detroit, June 14, 1904, Harriet Solomon. Began active career as inspector, Boston Store, Chicago, 1892; next became identified with the Vitrified Emery Wheel Co., and later was proprietor of hardware store at Hillman, Mich.; out out his business and removed to Detroit, 1906, and has since been secretary and treasurer of the American Lubricator Co., manufacturers of brass specialties. Recreation: Traveling. Office: 93 Catherine St. Residence: 276 Frederick Av. [Source: The Book of Detroiters. Edited by Albert Nelson Marquis Copyright, 1908 by Albert Nelson Marquis]
Edward E. McKnight
The medical profession is well represented in Alpena county, Michigan, and among: the younger members of the fraternity who are noticeable in this community for their professional ability and successful treatment of the ills that afflict humanity will be found the subject of this sketch. Dr. McKnight was born in the city of Grand Rapids, this state, and is the son of Thomas McKnight, who settled in Kent county. Michigan, in 1843 and is still an honored and respected resident of that community. The subject of this sketch received a good practical education in the public schools of his native county, and then entered the Northern Indiana Normal School at Valparaiso, that state, from which he graduated in 1887. He then engaged for three years in teaching school, after which he took up the study of medicine in the office of a well-known physician and also in hospitals in Grand Rapids and Chicago. He then matriculated in the medical department of the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor, graduating there in 1894 and receiving his degree of Doctor of Medicine. In 1897 the Doctor came to Alpena and has since that time been engaged here in the general practice of his profession. He has felt no regret at his selection of this city as the field for the exercise of his ability as a physician, his patrons being of the better class of citizens and his remuneration quite satisfactory. The Doctor is a versatile reader and a close student and keeps abreast of the latest advances in the healing art. His courteous manners, kind sympathy and intense interest in everything that he undertakes has won for him the well wishes and warm support of a large circle of loyal personal friends. Dr. McKnight married Miss Elizabeth Potvin, the daughter of Jules Potvin, now deceased, a pioneer settler of Alpena, who built and owned the Alpena House. To the subject and his wife has been born one child, Paul. In politics the subject supports the Democratic party and stands high in the councils of his party. He was at one time the candidate of his party for mayor of Alpena and although there is here a normal Republican majority of six hundred and fifty, the Doctor was defeated by only eleven votes, a marked tribute to his popularity. In fraternal circles he is identified with the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks and the Knights of Columbus, while religiously he is a member of St. Bernard’s Catholic church. Every movement having for its object the material, moral, social or educational advancement of the community receives his warm support and earnest co-operation. [Biographical History of Northern Michigan B.F. Bowen & Co. 1905]
William H. Sanborn
The Empire state of the Union has contributed many men of rugged strength and sterling character to the splendid population which characterizes the state of Michigan, and among these may be consistently mentioned William H. Sanborn, of Alpena, who in a variety of ways is connected with the business interests of this section. Mr. Sanborn came to Alpena county in 1873 and has since then been continuously identified with the lumbering industry. For eight years he was secretary and treasurer of the Minor Lumber Company, one of the largest concerns ever operated in this part of the state, but which closed out its business in 1898. Since the latter date Mr. Sanborn has engaged on his own account in the cedar and lumber business and has met with a most gratifying success in the enterprise. He was also one of the organizers of the Lakeside Cranberry Company, being now treasurer of that company. This concern, which is capitalized at twenty-five thousand dollars, has six hundred acres of land in cranberries, controlling Devil Lake reservoir and all the land adjacent thereto. He is also a stockholder in the Alpena National Hank and in the Alpena County Savings Bank, was one of the organizers and is a large stockholder in the Churchill Lumber Company, of which he is treasurer, and has other commercial interests. Mr. Sanborn is thoroughly familiar with every detail of the timber and lumber business and is fully qualified to judge as to the merits of any feature of the business submitted to him. Possessing also marked business and executive ability, he has been enabled to so manage his business interests that his own success has been conserved to the greatest possible degree. Mr. Sanborn is a member of the Free and Accepted Masons, having passed all of the York rite degrees up to and including that of Knight Templar, and he has also crossed the burning sands which entitle him to membership in that adjunct organization, the Ancient Arabic Order of Nobles of the Mystic Shrine, belonging to the Temple at Detroit. In all that goes to make up true, honest manhood the subject stands pre-eminent and because of the many fine qualities he possesses he has won and retains the highest respect and esteem of the entire community. [Biographical History of Northern Michigan B.F. Bowen & Co. 1905]
Harry R. Solomon
Born, Au Sable, Mich., (Iosco Co) July 18, 1875; son of Selig and Rachael (Rosenthal) Solomon; educated in public schools of Au Sable, 1881-91; Detroit Business University, 1893-94; Detroit College of Law, 1895-98, graduating, LL.B., 1898; married at Alpena, Mich., Sept. 4, 1902, Esther S. Levyn. Began active career at Au Sable, in lumber business with his father, continuing until 1893; after entering the bar practiced law at Detroit, 1898-02; was actively identified with the Solomon Lumber Co. and The Morris Co. (manufacturers of collars and cuffs) until 1906; has been secretary and treasurer American Machine Manufacturing Co. since 1906, manufacturers of motor trucks. Also secretary and treasurer Solomon Lumber Co. Republican. Member B'nai B'rith. Recreations: Outdoor sports. Office; Champlain and Beaubien Sts. Residence; 109 Watson St. [Source: The Book of Detroiters. Edited by Albert Nelson Marquis Copyright, 1908 by Albert Nelson Marquis]
As proprietor of one of the leading industries of Alpena, Michigan, the subject of this sketch has achieved a splendid position among the leading citizens of the place and has done much to advance the city’s best interests. He was born in Farmington township. Oakland county. Michigan, and is the son of Andrew C. and Angeline (Ingersol) Walker. The father was a native of Clairmont, New Hampshire, and with his father, Solomon Walker, came to Michigan about 1812, when there was not a white man in the state west of Oakland county. They were both farmers and also conducted a hotel. Andrew C. Walker’s death occurred in February, 1869. Had he lived until the following July he would have been a justice of the peace for thirty-two consecutive years, he held other positions of trust and was active along many lines of effort. The subject's maternal grandfather, Erastus fngersol, settled in Oakland county. Michigan, in 1814. and was a prominent man locally. In 1872 the subject came to Alpena and engaged in the business of buying and selling lumber. He also engaged in the manufacture of excelsior, being a pioneer here in that business and one of the organizers of the Alpena Excelsior Company. In 1896 he engaged in the exclusive manufacture of bird's-eye maple veneer, an enterprise in which he has achieved a phenomenal success. The factory owned by him has a capacity of forty thousand feet of veneer daily and is worked to its full capacity. He was the first to engage in this business in northern Michigan, and also the first in the Northern Peninsula, having erected a plant at Grand Marat's. Alger county, in 1903. but which he sold the following year. The demand for veneer is rapidly growing as the purposes for which it is used are multiplying. and shipments are made from this factory to all parts of the United States and to many foreign countries. Aside from this particular industry. Mr. Walker has taken a decided interest in the welfare of the city along other lines and has borne a large part in advancing the welfare of the place along material, moral, social and educational lines. He served on the board of aldermen and for several terms was an efficient member of the city school board. His fraternal relations are with the Free and Accepted Masons. Mr. Walker wedded Miss Carrie E. Wilcox, of Wayne county, this state, the daughter of Julins Wilcox, a prominent farmer. To them have been born three sons, namely: Lewis is a member of the firm of Shaw, Walker & Company, of Muskegon. Michigan, manufacturers of office furniture: Harry C. is a manufacturer’s agent in Chicago; Lawrence H., of Muskegon. The subject’s brother, Frank, was a soldier for the Union during the Civil war, serving in the navy, and afterwards finished a law course at the Michigan State University, locating permanently at Memphis, Tennessee, where he became prominent along several lines. He was president of the Masonic Relief Association of Memphis and during- the yellow fever epidemic there in 1878 he refused to leave the city, remaining to give aid and assistance to suffering brother Masons. His own life was the forfeit, however, as he himself succumbed to the dread disease, a martyr to his devotion to others. [Biographical History of Northern Michigan B.F. Bowen & Co. 1905]
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