Fred. (Frederick) Carlisle.

Chronography of notable events in the history of the Northwest territory and Wayne County online

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tendency of the Great Western Railway of Canada, (then under con-
struction), and after its completion to Windsor, was sent by the Great
Western Railway Company to take the management of the Detroit &
Milwaukee Railway in 1857, and to complete it to Grand Haven,
since then has become identified with the following enterprises, which
have had so great an influence upon the growth of our city and State,
in morals, education, material wealth, and population.

First, The completion of the Detroit, Grand Haven & Milwaukee
Railway across the State, and establishing connection with the Wiscon-
sin railways by means of steam ferryage across Lake Michigan.

Second, In 1865, as Assistant-General Superintendent of the
Michigan Central Railway, was instrumental in devising the system by
which passengers, baggage, and freight, are transported from Chicago
to New York and Boston intact, without change of cars or transfer.

Third, In 1867, as Manager of the Great Western Railway of
Canada, changing the guage of its road from broad to American stan-
dard, and thoroughly equipping it with engines and cars, conforming to
those used on American railways.

Fourth, As General Superintendent of the then demoralized
Canada Southern Railway, systemizing its operating management, and
promoting alliances, making it a part and connecting link between the
Michigan Central and the New York Central & Hudson River, and
Boston & Albany Railways.

Since his voluntary retirement as Superintendent of the last named
railway he accepted the Presidency and Management of the Eureka
Iron and Rolling Mills at Wyandotte, the Presidency of the Star Line

— 436 —

Steamers, Vice-President of the Belle Isle Ice Company, President of
the Detroit Dix Electric R. R., and of the Detroit Omnibus Company,
President of several car loaning companies, and is also a stockholder in
various other banking and manufacturing enterprises, which have had
so much to do in building up the city and adding to its business facili-
ties. He is at present President of the Board of Commissioners of the
City Poor, and of two other benevolent institutions in Detroit. It is
difficult to estimate the benefits which the city and State have derived
as the product of the energy, genius, and money expended by such
men as Mr. Muir, in the promotion of enterprises and industries such as
he has been engaged in, since his advent to Michigan, but they have
been of sufficient magnitude to entitle him to recognition as being of
the number contributing to make Detroit, and the State prosperous
financially, and progressive in industrial, benevolent and educational

Personally, Mr. Muir is courteous and kind, with no ostentation in
manner or address, and easily approached by poor or rich.

Mr. Muir has been twice married. First in Jersey City, to a Miss
Steele, of Ayr, Scotland. His second wife was Miss Hendrie, sister of
Mr. George Hendrie. They have two children, one daughter and one


" As for any merchandise you have brought, ye shall have your return in mer-
chandise or in gold." — Bacon.

" A man who cannot mind his own, is not to be trusted with the king's busi-
ness." — Savelle.

Although not an early pioneer, the subject of this sketch is recog-
nized as one who has contributed to the substantial growth of our city
and State, and therefore this record of early pioneers would be incom-
plete without his name.

Allan Shelden is a native of the State of New York. He was
born at Kinderkook, July i6th, 1832.

The parents of Mr. Shelden, being desirous of making him a busi-
ness man, his early education was such as to give a practical knowledge
of the laws of business. Like all men of enterprise he came west, enter-
ing the wholesale house of Z. Chandler & Co.

The late Senator remarked soon after Mr. Shelden's arrival, point-
ing towards him, " That young man is destined to become the most suc-
cessful merchant 'in the west, and we old heads," turning to Reuben
Town, " will be on the back seat." Mr. Chandler and Reuben Town
were both men of excellent judgment as regards men or business (a

— 437 —

short sketch of the life of each will be found elsewhere in this volume),
and time would seem to have confirmed their judgment of Mr. Shelden,
for we find him at the end of two years a partner in the house, and since
1863 down to this date, the head.

During this time he has maintained a high reputation, adding
largely to its business importance as a Detroit wholesale house, and in
the same proportion increased its income.

Mr. Shelden was the confidential business manager of Mr.
Chandler and all his personal affairs were referred to him.

Mr. Sheldon has been interested in railway matters somewhat, hav-
ing been one of the builders of the Hillsdale and Indiana and Butler
Railway, which, while not resulting in profit to himself, has been of
value to Detroit and to the farming and business communities traversed
by them. He is one of the directors in the Detroit Union Railroad and
Depot Company, and also a director in the Detroit National Bank.
Mr. Shelden is a man who attends closely to his business, but in doing
so is not unmindful of his obligations to society and public interests,
alwa3'S heartily and generously responding to the demands which may
be made to encourage movements of a benevolent character.

He is an intelligent politician, in the sense that he keeps thor-
oughly advised as to party officials and party measures, carefully digest-
ing the conduct and acts of each, that he may judge where to throw his
influence to promote the interests of business and protection to the
people engaged therein.

In 1859 Mr. Shelden married Miss Catherine Dusenbury, of New
York. They have one son, who in 1888, married the eldest daughter
of Gen. Russell A. Alger.

Mr. Shelden is a life member of this Society.


Martin S. Smith is a native of New York State and was born at
Lima, Livingston county, in 1834. ^^^ father, Ira D., and his mother,
whose maiden name was Sarah Snyder, were both natives of Columbia
county. New York. They spent some years in Livini^ston county and
in 1844 came to Michigan, bringing Martin with them. Mr. Smith
was then ten years of age. Not liking the farm he, at the age of four-
teen, decided upon a business life, and commenced as clerk in a clothing
store at Pontiac.

William M. Thompson then published the Pontiac Gazette and
persuaded Mr. Smith to leave the clothing business and become a
printer. He remained with Mr. Thompson two years when Mr. J. C.

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Goodsell, a merchant at Pontiac, offered him a situation in his store,
which he accepted. In 1851 he came to Detroit and entering the store
of Messrs. Holmes & Company, sold goods for them one year, and
then became connected with L. P. Durkee & Company, in the jewelry
business. He subsequently purchased the stock of Durkee & Co., and
continued the business alone until August, 1864, when he took his
brothers, Frank G. and Edward J. Smith, as partners, and carried on
the business under the name of M. S. Smith & Company until about a
year ago, when the firm name was changed to Frank G. Smith, Sons
& Company,

Mr, Smith enjoys the confidence of his fellow; citizens to almost an
unlimited extent. He has never sought public honors or office,
although he has been a member of the Board of Police Commissioners
since 1872, It was unsought but accepted because of the importunity
of the late Governor Bagley, That he has filled the position well is
evidenced from the fact of his successive reappointments by Governor
Bagley's successors.

Mr, Smith is vice-president of the American National Bank, vice-
president of the State Savings Bank, also of the Michigan Mutual Life
Insurance Company, treasurer of the Woodmere Cemetery Associa-
tion, treasurer of the Alger, Smith & Company and Manistique
Lumber Company, and vice-president of the Detroit, Bay City and
Alpena Railroad Company. He is also prominently identified with
other manufacturing industries of the city and State.

He is a liberal giver of time and mone}^ to the literary and bene-
volent institutions of both city and State, readily responding to all
reasonable demands made upon him.

Personally, his manner is unassuming; he is inclined to reticence,
preferring to act rather than talk.

In 1862 Mr. Smith married Miss Mary E. Judson, of Detroit.

His success in business is the result of close attention to details,
strict regard for the rights of others, as well as of his own, economical
but not parsimonious and untiring in the prosecution of whatever he
undertakes. He has thus accumulated a large fortune, which all who
know him concede he is justly entitled to.


Josiah Dixon Hayes, was born January 16, 1825, in Jefferson
county, N. Y.

On the father's side he was of Scotch descent. His ancestors emi-
grated from Scotland to Salem, Massachusetts, in the days of the
Puritans. At an early age he removed with his father from Jefferson

— 439 —

to Monroe county, N. Y. At the age of thirteen he engaged in the
mercantile business with Messrs, Hopkins & Hewitt, at Pittsford, and
continued with them three years. In settling the estate of Mr. Hopkins,
the business took him to Canada, where he engaged in other business
with John M. Grover, of Colborne.

In 1847, he formed a partnership with Messrs. Shaw & Comstock,
of New York City, to which place he then went. In 1849 he pur-
chased the interests of his partners, which he subsequently sold, and
returning to Colborne, engaged in the mercantile business until 1852,
when he became the agent of the Grand Trunk Railway at Cobourg.
In 1859 he came to Detroit, as the General Agent of the Company,
and Treasurer of the Detroit, Canada and Grand Trunk Junction Rail-
way Company. In 1861, he engaged with the Michigan Central Rail-
way Company, and became the General Eastern Freight Agent of
that road, with headquarters at Buffalo.

In 1865, he succeeded the late C. H. Hurd, as Assistant-Superin-
tendent of the Michigan Central Railway. To Mr. Hayes belongs the
credit of founding the European Express Freight Line, as up to that
time all freight from or to the West, from or to Europe, was subjected
to detentions and excessive charges at New York and Boston. After
repeated efforts, he induced the railway and steamship companies to
make one bill of lading cover both land and water transportation. This
was the first step toward the enactment by Congress of the law
authorizing "dutiable merchandise to be transported to the interior
port of destination without first going through the appraiser's store
and the bonded warehouse."

Mr. Hayes was also the originator of shipping fresh beef from the
West and to Europe, by means of refrigerator cars on land, and refri-
gerator apartments on the steamer. In 1866 he became General
Manager of the Blue Line. He continued in this capacity eight years,
and meantime, with others, built the largest flouring mill in Michigan.

Mr. Hayes having made the subject of transportation a study, he
was recognized as authority upon all questions relating to it. The
compiler of this book very well remembers his testimony before a
committee of the U. S. Senate, on Transportation Routes, and the favor-
able impression it made upon that committee; so much so, that his
entire testimony was ordered printed with the report of the committee.

Mr. Hayes was a member of the convention which provided for
the formation of the National Board of Trade, and became a member
of its Executive Council. He was for a number of years President of
the Millers' Association of Michigan. In 1871 he largely contributed to
the establishment of the Merchants' and Manufacturers' Bank of
Detroit, and for a number of years was its Vice-President.

He made a very strong argument before the Ways and Means

— 440 —

Committee of Congress against the double taxation of banking capital,
February, 1877, as the representative of the National Bankers' Asso-

He married Miss Elura Mary Wood, May 10, 1849, only daughter
of Col. Peleg Wood, of Colborne, Ont., who survives him, as does one
son and one daughter, Frederick W. Hayes, Vice-President of the
Preston National Bank of Detroit, and Mrs. Frederick A. Robinson.

Mr. Hayes was a member of the Wayne County Historical
Societ}', and by virtue of its having been merged into the Wayne
County Pioneer Society, April 21, 1871, he has been recognized as a
member of the latter.

He died September 24, 1888, and leaves as a legacy to the financial
and railway world, the evidences of what can be accomplished by the
intelligent application of the principles of pure business, morality and


Russell A. Alger, although not among the earliest settlers of the
State, was born in that portion of the Territory west of the Alleghanies
of which Michigan was once a part, viz: In the township of Lafayette,
Medina county, Ohio, February 27th, 1836, and besides has been, since
1859, so intimately connected with it, and the events and enterprises
which have contributed to make it the third among its sister States in
point of productions and manufactures, that the future will recog-
nize him as entitled to be classed with those pioneers who have made
Michigan what it is to-day.

At the early age of twelve, by the death of his parents, he was
left to depend upon himself and for the seven subsequent years was
able to accumulate, by working on a farm, sufficient means to defray
his expenses at the Richfield Academy during the winter, and thus
obtained a good English education, enabling him to teach and prepare
for the profession of law. He commenced his law studies in the office
of Messrs. Wolcott & Upson, of Akron, Ohio, in March, 1857, and was
admitted to the bar by the Supreme Court of that State in 1859. Soon
after, he entered the office of Messrs. Otis & Coffinbury, at Cleveland,
Ohio, with whom he remained until the faU of 1859, when he removed
to Grand Rapids, but was compelled, on account of ill health, to aban-
don the practice of law, and at once engaged in the lumber business.

The General married Annette H. Henry, daughter of W. G.
Henrv, of Grand' Rapids, April 2d, 1861, and in August following
enlisted in the Second Michigan Cavalry and was mustered into the
United States service as captain.

— 441 —

July 2d, 1862, he was wounded at the battle of Boonville, Miss.
For his conduct in this engagement he was promoted to the rank of
major, at the same time his colonel (the late General Sheridan) was
promoted to the rank of brigadier general. October i6th, he was pro-
moted to the lieutenant colonelcy of the Sixth Michigan Cavalry and
and was ordered with his regiment to the Army of the Potomac. On
the 2d of June, 1862, was made colonel of the Fifth Michigan Cavalry,
which was a part of Custer's Michigan Cavalry Brigade, justly named
" the fighting brigade of the Army of the Potomac." At the battle of
Boonesborough, Maryland, July 8th, 1863, he was severely wounded.
He resigned from the army in September, 1864. His record shows
that he was an active participant in sixty-six battles and was breveted
brigadier and major general " for gallant and meritorious services in
the field."

He has resided in Detroit since 1865, during which time he has been
actively engaged in dealing in lumbering, in building railroads, develop-
ing iron industries and mines, aiding in the establishment of numerous
manufacturing industries, necessitadng the employment of a large labor
force and the disbursement of many millions of dollars in order to
utilize the native products of our State, thus adding to its material
wealth and prosperity.

In his public life, as Governor of the State, he administered its
laws, and the responsibilities imposed thereby, with so much wisdom
and discretion as to gain the confidence of the people, irrespective of
party, and had he obtained the Presidential nomination at Chicago,
would undoubtedly have received the largest vote ever given by
Michigan for a candidate for the Presidency of the United States.

It would partake too much of fulsomeness to refer to his personal
generosity to, and practical sympathy for the unfortunate. It is
enough to state that the numerous recipients of his kind acts will do
him justice, and the future history of the man will record them.

Since writing the foregoing the General has been elected Com-
mander-in-chief of the Grand Army of the Republic, and a life mem-
ber of this Society.


Dexter Mason Ferry, of Detroit, is a native of New York, and
was born in the village of Loweville, Lewis county, August 8th, 1833.

The name Ferry indicates French origin on the paternal side, but

the family emigrated to America and settled in Springfield, Province

of Massachusetts, at which place the first Charles Ferry took the oath

of allegiance in the year 1678. His son Charles married a descendant


— 442 —

of Richard Montague, whose ancestors accompanied the Norman
invasion of England, and hence this name would seem to be Norman
French in origin.

Dexter Mason, the maternal grand parent of the subject of this
sketch, represented the ultra-Conservative district of Berkshire in the
Massachusetts Legislature, and was own cousin to the late Governor
George N. Briggs.

The paternal grand parents of Dexter M. Ferry removed from
Massachusetts to Loweville, Lewis county, N. Y., where Joseph N.
Ferry was born and reared. He married Lucy D. Mason, of Berk-
shire county, Mass.

Joseph M. Ferry died at Lowville in 1836. Shortly after the
death of his father the family removed to the township of Penfield, near
Rochester, N. Y. There Mr. Ferry spent his early boyhood, and at the
age of sixteen began life for himself. For two years he worked for a neigh-
boring farmer during the summer at ten dollars a month, attending the
district school during the winter; then, having advanced in his studies
beyond the capacity of his teachers, he entered the service of the Hon.
Ezra M. Parsons, who resided near Rochester, in order to avail himself
of the advantages which the higher schools of that city afforded, using
the opportunities thus furnished to good advantage. Through the
influence of his employer he obtained a situation, first as errand boy
and then as salesman, and last as bookkeeper with S. D. Elwood & Co.,
in Detroit.

In 1856, deeming himself competent, both by experience and
the accumulation of sufficient capital to warrant it, he organzied, with
Mr. M. T. Gardner, the firm of M. T. Gardner & Co., seedsmen, he
being the junior partner.

The fi.rm continued to do business under this name until 1865,
when Mr. Ferry purchased Mr. Gardner's interest, and Mr. Ferry from
that day until the present has remained the head. In 1867 some
changes were made in the conduct of the business, by which the style
of the firm became D. M. Ferry & Co., and was composed of D. M.
Ferry, H. K. White, C. C. Bowen and A. E. White. From the year
1867 to the present time these gentlemen have been associated with
Mr. Ferry in the conduct of the immense transactions of the house.

In 1879 ^^^ business of the firm had become of such magnitude
that it was deemed wise to become incorporated under the State laws.
Accordingly a charter was obtained under the laws of Michigan, with
the official style of D. M. Ferr}'- & Company, limited (as to time) to
thirty years, and with a paid up capital of seven hundred and fifty
thousand dollars. ' The Detroit Seed Company was then absorbed,
and its principal owners appear as members of the existing corporation,
Senator James McMillan being Vice-President. Mr. Ferry retains a
principal interest and is the President and manager.

— 448 —

It would be impossible in a brief sketch to give in detail an idea of
the huge proportions to which the business of D. M. Ferry & Co. has
been brought, under the managment of Mr. Ferry and his original and
present associates. It is only by comparison that we can approximate.
In 1856 the firm of M. T. Gardner & Co. began on Monroe avenue;
the entire sales of the firm were about six thousand dollars, and its
market was confined to the western States. The struggle was hard, but
persistent care, industry and the exercise of firmness and skill triumphed.
Their sales now in a single year reach nearly two million dollars.
Their importations are the heaviest in Michigan, including transactions
reaching tens of thousands of dollars annually, with English, French,
Dutch, German and other European concerns; over one hundred thous-
and merchants are supplied; more than two hundred and fifty thousand
boxes of seeds are shipped, the boxes alone involving a cost of one
hundred and fifty thousand dollars; four carloads of seeds pass through
the doors of their warehouse daily.

The company have their own printing presses, and consume more
paper than the first-class public journals, their issues being over eight
hundred thousand copies. The number of employees exceeds one thous-
and five hundred, besides three hundred traveling men.

In January, 1886, fire destroyed their immense four story, brick
storehouse, specially designed by them; the building occupied the
easterly half of the block bounded by Brush, Croghan, Lafayette and
Randolph streets, and had five acres of floor space.

This was the first serious loss sustained by the house, but out of
the temporary chaos it was able to bring order, and at once secured other
accommodations, reorganized their force of employees and so systemized
their work that the delay in filling their orders was slight.

JAMES McMillan.

James McMillan, of Detroit, was born in Hamilton, Ontario, May
1 2th, 1838. He was the second of a family of six sons and one
daughter born to William and Grace McMillan, who came to America
from Scotland in 1834. T'he father occupied a responsible position in
connection with the Great Western railway, and when he dievl in 1874,
he left to his children a substantial fortune. James McMillan was
fitted for college, but decided to enter upon a business life. He came
to Detroit and spent several years in the hardware business. Then he
became purchasing agent of the Detroit and Milwaukee railroad, and
afterwards, while yet in his minority, he had charge of the men who
built the railroad piers at Grand Haven. In this service with a firm of
railroad contractors he rapidly developed those powers of financial fore-

_ 444 —

sight and ability to handle men which have been the sources of his suc-
cess. In 1864 Mr. McMillan, in company with John S. Newberry, E. C.
Dean and George Eaton, started the Michigan Car Co., out of which
has grown the Detroit Car Wheel Co., the Detroit Iron Furnace Co.,
the Baugh Steam Forge Co., the Fulton Iron and Engine Works, the
Newberry Furnace Co., the Detroit Pipe and Foundry Co., of all of
which corporations he is the president. He conceived and carried out
what is now the Duluth, South Shore and Atlantic railroad, which
opened to settlement the Upper Peninsula; and he is now president of
that road. He is president of the Sault St. Marie Bridge Co., of the
Detroit and Cleveland Steam Navigation Co., of the Detroit and
Duluth and Atlantic Transportation Co., and of the Michigan Tele-
phone Co. He is also a director in the Detroit Savings and the First
National Banks, in the Ferry Seed Co., and in the Detroit Dry
Dock Co.

In 1876 and again in 1886 Mr. McMillan was a member of the
Republican State Central Committee. He was elected to the United
States Senate in 1888, receiving the unanimous vote of his party, in
both the legislative caucus and the election.

In i860 Mr. McMillan married Miss Wetmore, of Detroit. They
have five children living, William C. McMillan, who is associated with
his father in business; James H. McMillan, who is about to enter upon
the practice of law ; two younger sons and a daughter. It is not easy to
find words to express the superlative degree of Mr. McMillan's useful-
ness as a public spirited cidzen. Grace Hospital in Detroit, the McMillan
Shakespeare Library at the University, the Tupper coUecdon of insects
at the Agricultural College, are only the more visible signs of a benevo-
lence at once widespread, discriminating, thoroughly helpful and
entirely without ostentation.


Some writer has given the following significance to the word
" shrewdness " as applied to men and their characteristics :

" Shrewdness is to the man of acdvity what scholarship is to the

Online LibraryFred. (Frederick) CarlisleChronography of notable events in the history of the Northwest territory and Wayne County → online text (page 47 of 51)