John D. Mersereau
Source: Memorial Record of the Northern Peninsula of Michigan; Chicago; Lewis Publishing Company, 1895, p. 166 - 167
J.D. MERSEREAU.—This is an age of progress, and America is the exponent of the spirit of the age. In the beginning of this century our country was in its infancy, and history shows no parallel for its growth and achievements. No other country has made as great advancement along the lines of science, and the superiority of her inventions has been widely acknowledged. Michigan has nobly borne her part. Each community has its enterprising men,—the type of American progress,—and Manistique finds one of its representatives of this class in the gentleman whose name heads this record, and to whose history we now direct attention.
Mr. Mersereau, who is the well-known secretary and treasurer of the Chicago Lumbering Company of Manistique, was born in Portville, New York, on the 20th of June, 1854, and is a son of Samuei J. and Esther C. (Butts) Mersereau, who were also natives of New York. On his father's side he descended from good French Huguenot stock. The first Mersereau who emigrated from France to America was an officer of rank in the French army, who sought refuge on this side the Atlantic because of his faith. The family won honorable distinction in the Revolutionary war. His mother was a descendant of the historic Governor William Bradford, of the immortal Mayflower band. Both of Mr. Mersereau's parents died during the early childhood of their son, who was thus left without a parent's care. He acquired his education at Williston Seminary, at East Hampton, Massachusetts and was also at Sheffield Scientific School, a department of Yale College. Thus was he ably fitted for the practical and responsible duties of life, but it remained for him to take advantage of the opportunities that might be presented to him. He first engaged in business in his native city, and in the spring of 1876 came to Manistique aboard the schooner Fame. He secured the position of secretary and treasurer of the Chicago Lumbering Company and has served in that capacity continuously since, placing the business on a firm financial basis and making its income a satisfactory one. His interests, however, are not centered alone in this enterprise. He is connected with various other industries, holding stock and serving as an officer in various concerns of importance. He was one of the organizers of the Weston Lumber Company, also the White Marble Lime Company. He was instrumental in establishing the Weston Furnace Company and the Manistique Lumbering Company; and banking interests also claim his attention, through his connection with the Manistique Bank. He is a director in all these organizations, save the Manistique Lumbering Company, having resigned the directorship of that in 1893. With a laudable ambition and creditable determination he has grasped eagerly every opportunity for raising himself to the level of the high standard which he placed before him, and his resolute purpose and commendable diligence have attained the goal of his hopes. His success has come to him not as the result of propitious circumstances but as the reward for far-sighted dealings, executive ability and discrimination.
For four years Mr. Mersereau held the office of County Treasurer and for four years was Deputy County Treasurer. For some years he was President of the village and has held all other offices connected with the local government. Watchful of its interests, he has labored for its welfare and advanced its improvements. Education and morality have been befriended by him, and schools and churches receive his support. He was one of the organizers of the Presbyterian Church in Manistique in 1887, is an active and consistent member, and has served as Elder and Trustee from the beginning.
The lady who bears the name and graces the home of Mr. Mersereau was in her maidenhood Miss Nellie May Coleman. She is a native of Missouri and a graduate of the Michigan University at Ann Arbor, of the class of 1831. Their marriage was celebrated in 1883. and has been blessed with one daughter, Irene.