Alvah L. (Alvah Littlefield) Sawyer.

A history of the northern peninsula of Michigan and its people; its mining, lumber and agricultural industries (Volume 3) online

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on the 4th of July, 1863. The five children of this union are Earl, Vir-
ginia E., Irving, Francis and Harris. Mrs. Daniell is a member of the
Menominee Presbyterian church and, like her husband, is popular in
the home community.

Joseph M. Hambitzeb. — The old saying that some men are born
great, and that some men achieve greatness, is exemplified in the case
of Joseph M. Hambitzer, of Houghton, who has climbed the ladder
of attainments, step by step, through his own efl'orts, his undaunted
courage, self-reliance and perseverance having won him success in
life's battle. He was born, December 13, 1857, in Fond du Lac, Wis-
consin, a son of Dr. William Hambitzer, a physician, who came to
Michigan from his native place, Colon, Germany, in 1852.

Brought up in Grant county, Wisconsin, Joseph M. Hambitzer at-
tended the village school at British Hollow until fourteen years of
age, when he began work as errand boy in a dry goods store at
Platteville, Wisconsin, where he remained two years. Coming then
to Michigan, this brave lad sought employment in Hancock, and after
looking about for awhile found nothing better than the position of
a trammer in the concord mine, now a part of the Arcadian Copper
Company's property. After running a drill there for six months, he
became complete master of that implement, and was subsequently
employed as a miner until 1878. Ambitious, however, to further ad-
vance his education, Mr. Hambitzer then took up the study of
arithmetic, grammar and history, and used his time and brain to
such good purpose that in the fall of the same year he successfully
passed the teacher's examination, securing a third grade certificate.
The ensuing year he taught in Franklin township, receiving sixty-
five dollars per month wages. Retiring from that profession, Mr.
Hambitzer was clerk in the Hancock Post Office under Thomas N.
Lee for three years, and the succeeding five years served as deputy
postmaster under M. L. Cardell.

Taking up the study of law, Mr. Hambitzer read with Chandler,
Grant & Gray for two years, when, in the fall of 1886, he was
elected county treasurer of Houghton county, and served with such
ability that in 1888 he was re-elected to the same responsible position
without opposition. In the fall of 1892 Mr. Hambitzer was nominated
for state treasurer of Michigan on the Republic ticket in opposition


to the Republican State Committee, and won the election. In the
spring of 1894, Mr. Hambitzer, in company with other members of
the State Board of Canvassers, the secretary of state and the state
land commissioner, was asked to resign his office as state treasurer
for failing to discover that the tabulation of votes made in the state
secretary's office had been padded and forged.

Refusing to accede to the demand made upon- him, Mr. Hambitzer
fought the case in the Supreme Court and was defeated, that tribunal
deciding that the governor was sole judge of what constituted a
negligence for which he could remove state officials, and in March,
1894, resigned the state treasurership. Returning to Houghton, he
remained there a brief time before going to Marquette, where he en-
tered the law firm of Ball & Ball, in whose office he completed his
law studies. On March 6, 1895, Mr. Hambitzer was admitted to the
bar by Judge John W. Stone, and has since been actively and success-
fully engaged in the practice of his profession at Houghton, where
he has gained an extensive and remunerative clientele, being known
as one of the leading attorneys of the Upper Peninsula. Previous to
this time, from July 1, 1897, until July 5, 1899, he served as deputy
oil inspector.

Mr. Hambitzer married, in 1882, at Hancock, Michigan, Emma
Nichols, a daughter of Stephen Nichols, a carpenter boss in Quincy,
Mich., and their two daughters, their only children, Blanche and
Mabel, are students in the Chicago Conservatory of Music. Fra-
ternally Mr. Hambitzer is a member of the Ancient Free and Ac-
cepted Order of Masons ; of the Knights of Pythias ; of the Benevolent
and Protective Order of Elks; and of the Knights of the Maccabees.

Charles Briggs. — Calumet may well congratulate herself upon the
possession of men such as Charles Briggs, president of the Merchants'
& Miners' Bank, whose enlightened business methods and unswerving
civic loyalty have in large measure contributed to the high standing
which as a community this city enjoys. His presidency of the Mer-
chants' & Miners' Bank dates from the year 1873, when the bank was
organized. Mr. Briggs was born in Cincinnatus, Cortland county, New
York, the date of his birth being November 12, 1837. His forbears were
New Englanders, his father, Dr. Isaac Briggs, having been bom in
Plymouth, Massachusetts, while he is a direct descendant of the Aller-
ton family, whose annals have added to the interest and lustre of that

When Charles Briggs was very young the family removed to Dry-
den, in Tompkins county. New York, and in order that he might en-
joy superior educational advantages, he was sent at the age of eight
years to Homer Academy, at Homer, New York. He pursued his studies
there for a number of years and when he was in his fourteenth year,
his uncle who operated a general store at Lake Geneva, Wisconsin, of-
fered him a position as a clerk. This he accepted, remaining in such
capacity for nine years. The trend of his future activities was deter-
mined when he accepted a position as cashier in the Lake Geneva Bank,
which he held for one year, although this is not to say that he confined
himself to banking. Attracted by the possibilities afforded by the Up-
per Peninsula of Michigan, he removed to Rockland in Ontonagon
county and secured a position as bookkeeper in the general store of
S. D. North. The following year he found himself in financial position
to purchase a partnership in the concern, the name being changed to
North & Briggs. Remarkable success was the portion of the new firm,


this being, no doubt, in great part due to the unusual executive ability
of the junior partner. The next year the branch store was started at
the Quiney mine at Hancock and in 1868 they established a store at
Calumet, closing the Rockland store. In 1870, a third store was brought
into being at Lake Linden. Six years later the company was dissolved,
Mr. Briggs taking the store at Calumet, Mr. North that at Quiney Mine,
and the silent partner, AVilliam Harris, that at Lake Linden. Mr.
Briggs took into association Avith him H. K. Cole and they, under the
firm name of Briggs & Cole, enlarged the Hecla store. The partnership
which lasted for a number of years was dissolved in 1884, when Mr.
Cole withdrew, leaving I\Ir. Briggs sole proprietor. The business con-
tinued without change until the fall of 1908 when Mr. Briggs disposed
of the stock and retired from mercantile life.

Mr. Briggs was one of the principal organizers of the Calumet &
Arizona Mining Company and of Superior & Pittsburg Mining Com-
pany. He is president of both these companies and devotes most of his
time to their affairs; also president of the E. F. Sutton Company of
Lake Linden and president of the Calumet Gas Company. Mr. Briggs
has been president of all the above companies from their organization.

In 1879-80, he received the compliment of being sent as a member
to the ]\Iichigan legislature. He is the stanch friend of the cause of
education and for thirty years, from 1879 to 1909, has acted as trustee
of the school district of Calumet township. From 1891 to 1895 he was
president of the board and in the latter year assumed the position of
secretary, again president of the board from 1903 to 1909, declining
re-election to the board on account of his health. It is a matter of per-
sonal gratification to him that his district, (District No. 1) is without
doubt the largest township school district in the United States, in 1908
having 6,299 pupils enrolled, twenty school buildings, a general high
school, a manual training school and a staff of one hundred and eighty-
six teachers.

Mr. Briggs was married in 1865, at Lake Geneva, Wisconsin, Miss
Sarah E. Hanna becoming his wife. They have one son, Charles Edwin
Briggs, who is a practicing surgeon in Cleveland, Ohio. He is connected
with the Lakeside Hospital in that city and the Rainbow Hospital for
Children, and lectures at the medical college connected with Western
Reserve University.

Edward Pierce Lockart, M. D. — A well known physician and sur-
geon of Norway, Edward Pierce Lockart, M. D., has not only gamed
marked prestige in his profession, but is known as a progressive and
public spirited citizen, ever ready to do his part in advancing the
welfare of the community in which he lives. He was born, March 15,
1858, at Prairie du Chien, Wisconsin, being the third in direct line of
descent to bear the name.

His grandfather, Edward Pierce Lockart, the first, was born at
Glengarry, Scotland, of pure Scotch ancestry. Emigrating to Amer-
ica, he settled in Crawford county, Pennsylvania, and there followed
his trade of a millwright the remainder of his life. One of his sons
subsequently migrated to Houston, Texas, and there bought a planta-
tion which he operated by slave labor until after the Civil war, when
his former slaves remained -with him, working the land on shares.

Edward Pierce Lockart, second, the doctor's father, was born, bred
and educated in Crawford county, Pennsylvania. Going to Wisconsin
when a young man, he located at Prairie du Chien, and for a time was
connected with the garrison at Fort Crawford, subsequently serving


as sheriff of Crawford county. After his marriage he moved to Chip-
pewa Falls, loeatiBg there when all of that part of Wisconsin was a
vast wilderness through which the Indians roamed. He put up a saw
mill, which he operated by horse power, and there he and his wife,
who was the only white woman within a radius of thirty miles, lived
the simple life for a time. Returning to Prairie du Chien, he was
there prosperously employed in the lumber business for a number of
years, after which he removed to Chicago, where he lived retired
until his death, at the age of seventy-seven years.

Edward Pierce Lockart, second, married Mrs. Esther Ann (Dand-
ley) Lester, who was born in Meadville, Pennsylvania, a daughter of
Rev. Jesse and Sarah (Lane) Dandley, and widow of Robert Lester.
Her father was born, it is thought, on the Isle of Ardmore, Ireland, of
Scotch ancestry. Coming to this country, he settled in Pennsylvania,
where he became a local preacher in the Wesleyan Methodist church,
preaching in A'arious places. He was subsequently one of a colony
that migrated from Pennsylvania to Wisconsin, making the removal
with flat boats, via the Ohio and Mississippi river to Prairie du Chien,
each family taking a framed house as a part of its equipment. Taking
up his residence in Prairie du Chien, he and his wife there spent their
remaining years. Robert Lester was also a pioneer of that place, and
one of the first sheriffs of Crawford county. While acting in that
capacity, he was shot by an Indian while going down the Mississippi
river in a canoe. His widow married I\Ir. Lockart, as above stated.
Mr. Lockart was subsequently elected sheriff, and served several years.
His widow survived him a short time, passing away in Chicago at the
advanced age of seventy-eight years. She reared four children, all
by her marriage with Mr. Lockart, namely: Mary, Wilhelmina, Mar-
tha W., and Edward Pierce, third, the subject of this sketch.

After leaving the public schools of Prairie du Chien, Edward
Pierce Lockart, third, continued his studies at Beloit College, after
which he began the study of medicine with Dr. Darius Mason. He
afterwards attended lectures at the Iowa Medical College, and
in the spring of 1883 was graduated from the Columbia Medical Col-
lege with the degree of M. D. The following September Dr. Lockart
came to the Upper Peninsula, locating in Norway, where he has since
been actively and successfully engaged in the practice of his profes-
sion. A few years after coming here, the doctor established a hospital,
which was later destroyed by the cave in. He then erected his present
hospital on Norway street. It is a commodious and substantial build-
ing, conveniently arranged, and fitted with all the most modern
equipments and appliances. In 1901 the Doctor opened a drug store
at his old location, and in 1909 removed to his present quarters, where
he has a well stocked, and a well patronized, drug store.

On October 23, 1902, Dr. Loekhart married Martha M. James, who
was born in Oshkosh, Wisconsin. Her father, Ebenezer James, was
born in Philadelphia, of Quaker parents, and of English lineage, while
her mother, whose maiden name was Mary Fletcher, was a native of
Ohio. Dr. and Mrs. Lockart have three children, namely : Edward
Pierce, fourth ; Martha ; and Esther. The doctor is prominent in med-
ical organizations, belonging to the American Medical Society ; to the
Dickinson County Medical Society ; to the Michigan State Medical
Society; and to the Upper Peninsula Medical Society. Fraternally
he is a member of Norway Lodge, No. 362, F. & A. M. ; of Iron Moun-
tain Chapter, No. 121, R. A. IM. ; to Hugh McCurdy Commandery,
No. 43, K. T. ; and to Ahmed Temple, Order of the Mystic Shrine, at


Marquette. Politically he is a straightforward Republican, and has
served as a member of the Board of Public Works, and as mayor of
the city.

GuSTAvus A. Blesch. — The efficient and popular cashier of the First
National Bank of ]\Ienominee has been a resident of this city since 1884
and he is a prominent figure in the financial circles of the Upper Penin-
sula, where he is known as an administrative officer of great ability
and perspicacity and where he holds a commanding position in popular
confidence and esteem. He has thoroughly identified himself with the
business and civic affairs of this section of the state, and his enterprise
and progressive ideas have been potent in advancing the social and
material upbuildng of the city in which he maintains his home. Here
his interests are of wide scope and importance and he is one of the hon-
ored and influential business men of Menominee. Gustavus A. Blesch
was born in the first frame building erected on the west side of the Fox
River at Fort Howard, Green Bay, Wisconsin, and the date of his
nativity was January 4th, 1859. He is a son of Francis and Antoinette
(Schneider) Blesch, sterling pioneers of the Badger state. The father
was born at historical old Bingen on the Rhine in 1834, and his death
occurred in 1879, at Fort Howard, Wisconsin. His wife was born in
the city of Brussels, Belgium, and still retains her home at Fort Howard,
a place hallowed to her by the memories and associations of many
years. Her marriage to Mr. Blesch was solemnized in the state of Penn-
sylvania. Of the six children of this union, three are now living, —
Clara, who is the wife of Charles AV. Monroe, a representative member
of the bar of the city of Chicago ; Gustavus A., who is the immediate
subject of this sketch; and Frank T., who is a successful business man
of Green Bay, Wisconsin. The father was reared and educated in his
native land and as a young man he came to America, making the voy-
age on a sailing vessel and landing in the port of New York city.
Thence he made his way to Pennsylvania, where he resided for a short
time, within which he met the young woman who later became his wife.
In 1848 he came to the West and located at Fort Howard, Wisconsin.
In 1850 he returned to Pennsylvania, where his marriage was sol-
emnized in that year. He forthwith came with his bride to his home in
Fort Howard, Wisconsin, where he had established himself in the work
of his trade, that of cooper. Later he erected and equipped the first
brewery in that village, and the same was one of the first built in the
the entire state. He successfully conducted this institution until 1875,
when he disposed of the property and business, after which he devoted
the remainder of his active career to agricultural pursuits. In politics
he was independent.

Gusta^Tis A. Blesch secured his early educational discipline in the
public schools of his native town and at the age of fifteen years he se-
cured the position of office boy in the Kellogg National Bank of Green
Bay, Wisconsin, in which institution he won promotion through faith-
ful and efficient service and in which he became teller when but twenty
years of age. He retained this office until the 18th of August, 1884,
when he came to Menominee, Michigan, and effected the organization
of the First National Bank, in the promotion of which he enlisted the
support of representative capitalists and business men and the new
banking house opened its doors for business on the 20th of November of
that year. He has been cashier of this bank throughout the entire
period of its existence, and it is uniformly conceded that much of its
success is due to his able management of its affairs. The Fii-st National


Bank of ]\Ienominee was originally incorporated with a capital stock of
fifty thousand dollars and in 1890 this was increased to one hundred
thousand dollars. On the 1st of October, 1904, came further evidence
of the splendid success of the institution, when its capital stock was in-
creased to the noteworthy amount of two hundred thousand dollars.
The bank is one of the strongest and best known in the Upper Peninsula
and its annual transactions represent more than fifty million dollars.
It first occupied quarters in the Stephenson hotel block, where the busi-
ness was continued until May 3, 1909, when the bank was moved to its
present splendid building, one of the finest structures erected for this
purpose in the northwest. Mr. Blesch is recognized as a particularly
discriminating and able financier, and his services in connection with
the bank of which he is cashier have inured not only to the upbuilding
of its substantial business but also to the commercial and' industrial
prestige of the city in which it is located. He is treasurer of the Menom-
inee River Sugar Company, which has an extensive modern plant for
the manufacture of beet sugar in Menominee ; is president of the Menom-
inee Brick Company ; vice-president of the Menominee-Marinette Light
& Traction Company, and is treasurer of the Peninsula Land Company.
Besides which he is interested financially and in an executive capacity
with various other enterprises which tend to conserve the advancement
and prosperity of his home city and state. In politics he accords a
stanch allegiance to the Republican party, and though he has never
had aught of desire for political preferment, he has shown a loyal in-
terest in public affairs, especially those of a local nature. He is at
present president of the board of education of Menominee, this being
the only public office in which he has consented to serve. In the Ma-
sonic fraternity his affiliations are with Menominee Lodge, No. 269,
Free & Accepted Masons; Menominee Chapter, No. 107, Knights Tem-
plar ; Ahmed Temple, Ancient Arabic Order of the Nobles of the Mystic
Shrine, in the city of Marquette. His church relations are with the
Baptist denomination.

On the 15th of February, 1893, Mr. Blesch was united in marriage
to Miss Bertha Grant Walton, who was born at Bloomington, Illinois,
where her marriage was solemnized. Her parents, John T. and Susan
E. (Kitchell) Walton, still reside in that city, where the father has
lived virtually retired for the past twenty years, after having been a
successful manufacturer of plows. Mr. and Mrs. Blesch have one son, —
Francis Walton, who was born on the 10th of April, 1897, and is now
attending the public schools of Menominee.

William J. Vivian. — One of the representative citizens of Houghton
county is he whose name initiates this review and in this compilation
there is further propriety in according to him consideration by reason
of the fact that he is a native son of the LTpper Peninsula and a scion of
one of its sterling pioneer families. He resides in the city of Houghton,
where he is giving his supervision to his varied business and property

William J. Vivian was born at Copper Falls, Keweenaw county,
Michigan, on the 10th of January, 1858, and is a son of Johnson and
Elizabeth (Simmons) Vivian. On other pages of this work is incor-
porated a sketch of the career of his honored father so that repetition of
the data in the present connection is not deemed necessary. Mr. Vivian
is indebted to the public schools of Copper Falls and Hancock for his
early educational discipline and after leaving the public schools he was
employed for a time as a machinist at the Franklin mine at Hancock.

(2___ -^T^vn^-j^-^W^^A-^'^-Tn^^


He then entered the University of Michigan where he continued his
educational work for one year. After leaving the university he was em-
ploj-ed in the Franklin Mills as machinist until 1879. In 1880 he as-
sumed charge of the Pewabic Stamp Mills of which he was superintendent
for three years, after which he had charge of the ]Michigamme mines
for one year. After leaving this position he had charge of the machinery
of the stamp mills at Huron mine for the Isle Royale Company, an
incumbency which he retained for three years. Thereafter he was em-
ployed in turn by Kleaves & Sons, owners and operators of a foundry
and machine shop at Hancock, and by the Carroll Brothers, engaged in
the same line of enterprise at Houghton. He resigned this position in
1903 and has since given his time and attention to his private business
interests. Mr. Vivian is a stanch Republican in his political proclivities
and takes a deep interest in public affaire of a local nature, although he
has never sought or held office. He has a large and attractive modern
residence on College Avenue, East Houghton and the same is the center
of most generous hospitality. He is identified with various social or-
ganizations and both he and his wife are communicants of the Methodist
Episcopal church.

On the 14th of July, 1886, Mr. Vivian was united in marriage to
Miss Jennie DeFoe, who was born in the city of Detroit, this state, and
who is a daughter of the late James DeFoe, who was for many years
engaged in mercantile pursuits in the Michigan metropolis, w^here he was
a citizen of prominence and influence. Mr. and j\Irs. Vivian are the
parents of three children : Ellen, who is the wife of Charles H. Moss,
cashier of the Citizens' National Bank, at Houghton; H. Daisy, who is
a student in the Houghton high school ; and Florence, who is also a
student of the Houghton high school.

C. Frithiop Larson, M. D., a skillful and able physician and surgeon,
and an enthusiastic worker in the medical profession, is one of the
leading practitioners of the Upper Peninsula, and not only has a large
private patronage at Crystal Falls, but is at the head of one of the best
managed hospitals of this section of Iron county. A son of Fredrik
Larson, he was born June 13, 1861, in Sodermanland, where he spent
his early life, being descended from a family, mostly farmers, who
trace their ancestry back in a direct line to the seventeenth century.

Fredrik Larson was a man of prominence in his community, and
served in various official capacities in Sodermanland, for several years
being chairman of the county jury, a position that he was filling at the
time of his death, in 1889. To him and his wife, whose maiden name
was Charlotte Anderson, four children were born as follows : Hilda,
wife of an officer in the Swedish army; C. Frithiof, the subject of the
sketch ; Arvid, engaged in farming in Sweden ; and Axel F., superin-
tendent of the Marquette Piano Works.

Laying a substantial foundation for his future education in the
public schools of Sodermanland, C. Frithiof Larson subsequently pur-
sued his studies in the Government College at Nykoping, where he
was graduated with the degree of B. S. He then attended the University
at Upsala two years, adding much to his knowledge of literature, art and
science, as well as pursuing his study of medicine.

The father having sustained severe financial losses, our subject con-
cluded to carve out his own future, and came to America in 1882. Mr.
Larson obtained employment in the Central Traffic Association, where

Online LibraryAlvah L. (Alvah Littlefield) SawyerA history of the northern peninsula of Michigan and its people; its mining, lumber and agricultural industries (Volume 3) → online text (page 65 of 71)