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History of Calhoun county, Michigan : a narrative account of its historical progress, its people, and its principle interests (Volume 1) online

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temporary president, ilrs. Robert Percy, temporary secretary and Mrs.
A. S. Parker, temporary treasurer. A committee of three on aiTange-
ments was appointed by the temporary president to co-operate with a
committee from Farragut Post in obtaining a charter and supplies. An
assessment of one dollar on each charter member was voted to defray the
expenses of organization. The charter members were 12 in number and
were as follows: i\Irs. Geo. II. Lunt. Mrs. Geo H. Rowell, Mrs. R. W.
Surby. Mrs. H. ilattoon, :Mrs. James H. Cleveland. :\Irs. A. D. Gifford,
Mrs. A. S. Parker. Mrs AV. H. Hall, :\lrs John Hill, :\Irs. Albert Gris-
wold, Mrs. James R. Cooper and Mrs. James Finlay.

A second meeting was called bv the committee on arrangements
January 29, 1884, at 2 :30 p. m., in "G. A. R. Hall. Col. S. S. French
was elected chairman of the meeting and Mi-s. Y. E. Revere as secretary.
At the command of the national president, Mrs. E. Florence Barker. Col.
S. S. French, commander of Farragut Post, instituted a branch of the W.
R. C. by giving our corps its name and numlier. Farragut Coi-ps. Xo. 4.,


Dept. of Michigan. At this meeting the following officers were elected by
ballot: President, Miss M. Therese French; senior vice-president, Mrs.
Geo. H. Rowell ; junior vice-president, Mrs. A. E. Preston ; secretary,
Mrs. Julia E. Revere; treasurer, Mrs. A. S. Parker; chaplain, Mrs. R. W.
Surby ; conductor, ilrs. James Finley ; guard, ]\Iiss Jennie Harris. The
officers were installed by Col. P^rench, who delivered the supplies, in-
cluding a sealed package of the instructions on the secret work, to our
president and left the hall to the newly organized corps. The president
appointed her several committees ; assessments amounting to $11.00 were
collected and paid over to the treasurer, Mrs. Parker, $5.00 of which
had been appropriated in the previous meeting to pay the charter fee.
The remainder of the afternoon was devoted to the secret work, until
adjournment to February 5, 1884, when Farragut Post, No. 4, had its
first meeting.

The first work taken up by the corps was the admission of several
candidates. It was decided that they should be voted on separately and
initiated in a body. A conmiittee was appointed at this meeting to draft
the rules and by-laws for the government of the corps, which were read
and accepted at a later date, with the exception of one clause on as-
sessments. That clause was laid on the table until the members were
larger in number. It was voted about this time that none but soldiers'
wives, widows and daughters, would be received into the order and the
regular meeting day of the corps was set for the first and third Tuesday
of each month. At a later day, December 16, 1884, the meeting day was
changed to Thursday, which day has remained to the present time. Up
to this time they met once a week. The Post, then as now were very
generous, giving the corps all the aid they could in every way They
donated the use of their hall and fire free of charge, the ladies to furnish
their own janitor, who was paid according to his services rendered,
usually fift.v cents for a meeting. In the spring the help of the janitor
was dispensed with after the fire was built at noon and a lady appointed
by the president at the beginning of each meeting to superintend the fire.

The first summer no meetings were held during the hot weather
from June until September, but the members enjoyed several social
afternoons at lawn parties, etc., at the homes of the different members,
by invitation. The first of these was held at the home of ^liss French
early in July, and all business of the corps was finished for the summer.
On August 19, 20 and 21, a re-union was held at Battle Creek and a com-
mittee was appointed at a special meeting, to decorate the tent and
provide lodging for the department officers. The corps was growing
rapidly, and the members were becoming more interested in other lines
of work. A motion was made that the ladies bring calicoes and busy
their hands during the session for the benefit of the corps, and later
a sewing society was organized which met once a week to sew for poor
families, etc. Poor families were not given charity, however, until
thoroughly investigated as will be seen by the following incidents taken
from the minutes of a meeting held July 16, 1885. The president,
having gained some information relative to the Houston family, de-
cided that they were not objects of charity, having a horse, cow. and a
a sewing machine, and can make a living if so disposed, and be in-


depeudeut. The president imported having; srcii .Mrs. Tlidiiipsiin, also,
aud she would like sometliiiiij to make a pair of pants lor licr youngest
boy. At another meeting, a ramily was unable to cook food sent to
theui on aceount of sickness, and a eoniinittee of two was appointed each
week to see that tlie food was properly ])re]iaretl. Another family was
reported as being destitute of shoes and tlircc pairs were purehased
aud sent to them.

A great many little ineideuts haxc happened during the history of
our corps that most of y(ui, aiul especially the ohh'r members will be
interested in.

May 27, 1884. Record of the pre\ious uu'cting was reail but not ac-
cepted as the names of the ladies who paid their dues was inserted.

June 10. It was moved and supported that the corps receive and
entertain a.s guests any true and loyal woman who served her country
and its defenders in its time of need as nurse or attendant.

August 5, 1884. Special meeting. A motion was made to have
the charter framed. The frame was purchased of George Steele for the
sum of two dollars.

November 4. 1884. Treasurer reports, $110.4!) on hand.

February 5, 1885. The president read the by-laws of the Woman's
Relief Corps in Lansing, Farragut Coi-jis, thought them more perfect
than ours, and voted to adopt them, with some amendments.

April 2, 1886. Ladies decide to make a handsome spread for the
new altar for the Post to show their appreciation of the many acts
of kindness shown them.

I\Iay 6. 1886. It was moved and supported that a retpiest be made
through the press of the city, for citizens not to decorate any but sol-
diers' graves on ^lay -M. Flowers were undoubtedly very scarce at
that time.

June 17, 1886. A vote of thanks was teiulered to :\lr. A. S. Parker
for the picture, The Battle of Shiloh.

August .'), 1886. Meeting could not be called to ordei', as there was
not a (piorum.

August 1!), 1886. Janitor went to Kalamazoo and forgot to leave
keys to hall, so no meeting was held.

January 6, 1887. Mrs. Carrie Surby, newly eleeted presitlent, in
Iier remarks, gave a thrilling account of her experience during the re-
bellion between the North and South. She gave up her husband for a
soldier, there worked through the long weary mouths soliciting the
many little necessities for the boys in blue, that oidy a devoted wife
or mother could prepare. She also made many beautiful i-emarks
about Gen. John A. Logan.

February 7, 1889. Organ with stool was purchased for the sum
of seventy-five dollars.

The first member to be laid to rest was Mrs. Anderson, who died
shortly after the corps was organized. ]\Iiss Therese French, the
Corp's first president, was the second member to pass away, her death
occurring in April, 1887. An order was drawn on the treasury for
four dollars to pay for flowers for her funeral, the first flowei-s sent to


any funeral by the corps. It was not a practice then but became cus-
tomary later.

Mrs. A. S. Parker is the only member with us now who attended
the first meeting of the Farragut Corps, being a charter member. She
was the first treasurer, first delegate to the department meeting at
Lansing, April 2, 1884, first delegate to the National Convention, May
6, 1886, and also department treasurer in 1890. A few other older
members are as follows :

IMrs. Ellen Taylor, initiated February 29, 1884, the first year of
the corps; Mrs. Flagg, initiated, February 5, 1885; Mi-s. Mary E.
Beach, balloted on and duly initiated April 1, 1886 ; and Mrs. Ann Howe,
initiated, March 7, 1889 ; Mrs. Flagg was elected department president
in 1900 and appointed Mrs. Willard, her secretary.

Following is a list of past presidents:

1884 — Miss Therese French, deceased.

1885 — Mrs Nichols, withdrawn.

1886— Mrs. N. J. Roberts, deceased.

1887 — Mrs. Carrie Surby. deceased.

1888— Mrs. Stella L. Parker.

1889 — Mrs. Amity Manchester, withdrawn.

1890— Mrs. Eliz. Rhodes, -srithdrawai.

1891 — Mrs. May Percv, withdrawn.

1892— Mrs. Abbie Flagg.

1893 — Mrs. Nettie Cummings, deceased.

1894 — Ellen Raynor, deceased.

1895 — May M. Perring, deceased.

1896 — Sara J. Cooper.

1897 — Laura L. Barrows.

1898— Mrs. Alary Beach.

1899— Mrs. Lillian M. Proceus.

1900 — Mrs. Mary Flowers, deceased.

1901 — Mrs. Julia Stayman, deceased.

1902— Mrs. Marie Traver.

1903— Mrs. Eliz. Dowsett.

1904 — Mrs. Mary 0. Hayes.

1905— Mrs. F. Bellinger.

1906 — Mrs. Dennison.

1907— ilrs. Allen.

1908— Mrs. D. McMillan.

1909— Mrs. Cora M. Quayle.

1910— Mrs. Ollie Senker.

1911 — Mrs. Jennie Stephens.

1912 — Mrs. Jennie Jones.

I am pleased to say the corps at present is in a flourishing condi-
tion and has a membership of one hundred and twelve members.

Every two weeks a social is held where the post and corps unite
in having a good time. The members who cannot attend are remem-
bered and visited and flowers are sent in sickness and death.



Banks and Banking (by Charles Austin) — Thresher and Engine
Industry — Steam Pump Industry — American Steam Pump Com-
pany — ■ Advance Pump and Compressor Company — Duplex
Printing Press Company — Battle Creek Prepared Food In-

The financial and industrial interests of Battle Creek are detailed
in the following pages.

Banks and Banking

By Charles Austin

The first bank organized in what is now the city of Battle Creek
was in 1837, when the Bank of Battle Creek was organized as a bank
of issue. It was in business for some six months and some of its bills
are still in existence among the older residents.

As money was a scarce commodity in those daj^, there was little to
deposit, but the private banks of W. H. Coleman, Leon & Sanborn
and W. H. Skinner satisfied the needs of the community by the trans-
action of the busiuess incident to a new country. This included the
selling of exchange, the buying, selling or exchanging of business
notes, the handling of due bills on individuals or firms for goods to be
delivered on demand, even the swapping of due bills where two persons
could not effect an exchange, using cash onh' to match up the uneven
ends of a trade.

In July, 1851, L. C. Kellogg started a private bank and continued
it until 1865, when he organized the First National Bank of Battle
Creek. There were others interested and the first board of directors
consisted of L. C. Kellogg, D. Miller, W. Andrus, T. Hart, H. D. Hall,
W. Wallace and "W. Brooks. Their first statement was published
October 2, 1865. and showed deposits of .$38,821.06 and total assets
$149,511.88, which constituted the total banking deposits and assets of
Battle Creek at that time. The business established at that time is still
continued by the old National Bank of Battle Creek.

In 1871 the City bank opened for Inisiness on June 7. The di-

Vol. 1—23



rectoi-s were R. Kingman, N. Eldred, C. Wakelee, J. F. Moulton, R.
P. Kingman, E. W. Pendle and A. Noble. It is still in operation as
the City Bank.

The private bank of A. C. Hamblin succeeded that of Leon & San-
born in 1859, and was continued by him until May 23, 1888, when it
was succeeded by the Merchants National Bank, organized with di-
rectors as follows, viz., A. W. Wright, F. Turner, F. A. Smith, A. C.
Hamblin, and S. Field, and in April 1895, was re-organized as the
Merchants Savings Bank and is still in business.

On November 21, 1903, the Central National Bank opened for busi-
ness with C. W. Post, H. B. Sherman, E. C. Hinman, F. Wolfe, C. L.
Post, H. P. Stewart, L. Werstein, G. L. Gilkey, L. W. Robinson and
F. G. Evans constituting its board of directors. It is now one of the
four successful banks of the city. ■

Our banks have never had a clearing house, but the establishment
of one is contemplated.

It is interesting to note how the banking interest has kept pace with
the grofli,h of the city We have seen that the total deposits on October
2, 1865, was $38,821.06, but are now, as showTi by the published state-
ment of June 14, 1912 over ten millions or to be exact the sum of
$10,603,132.89, and this immense growth is paralleled by the increase
in assets which in October, 1865, were only $149,511.88, but on June
14, 1912, were $12,273,072.29.

All banks have been liberal in advancing for the enterprises of our
city and the needs of the surrounding country, but have not permitted
sentiment to endanger the depositors, as the officers have always deter-
mined that safety must be the first consideration. As a consequence,
there has been no bank failure in our city nor has anj^ bank demanded
notice of withdrawals of deposits. It did not matter how severe the
money stringencj-, nor that New York, Chicago or Podunk were refusing
to pay their depositors cash, our tellers have always paid it smilingly,
thanking the depositor and inviting him to call again and bring his
sisters and cousins. This condition is largelj' due to the intelligence and
confidence of our citizens, both in the city and its vicinity, convincing
us rtiat while our past is bright the future is big wdth promise of still
brighter days.

Thresher and Engine Industry


Among Battle Creek's industries, that of manufacturing threshing
machinery, traction engines, etc., has been very prominent for a long
series of years. It began, as so many successful industries have started,
in a very modest way.

In 1848 or thereabouts, John Nichols and David Shepard opened
up a foundry and machine shop on what is now North State street,
doing such job and custom work as such a shop was capable of handling.

The firm started under the title of Nichols & Shepard. It ran along


a number of years, building plows, harrows and similar implements, and
in the early sixties produced what was at that time kuo\ra as tlie
Vibrator thresher.

Previous to that time, grain threshmg was accoini)lished by what
■was known as the endless apron type of thresher, whieh was eoiuprised
of an endless web back of the cylinder carrying the intermingled straw,
chaff and grain partiallj- through the machine and delivering it upon
an open raddle. Both the web and the raddle received some agitation,
which was given to them by their running over elliptically-shaped rollers,
and beaters and pickere were used to further shake up or agitate the

The Vibrator thresher which was brought out by Nichols & Shepard
was built and designed upon an entirely different plan, using an entirely
new method for separation. It consisted of two shakers extending from
the cylinder to practically the rear of the threshei', the upper one open
so as to permit loose grain to fall through it upon the lower shaker,
whieh upper shaker was provided with lifting fingers which tossed and
beat the straw as the shakers s^^■^ulg back and forth. The grain and fine
chaff' fell through this shaker upon the lower shaker, or grain pan as
more commonly called, which vibrated lengthwise of the machine, carry-
ing the gi-ain and chaff to the fanning or cleaning mill, to whieh it was
delivered for the purpose of thoroughly cleaning from dust and chaff.
This machine was such an innovation in thresher building that it met the
aggressive opposition of all the old builders. But notwithstanding that
fact it became i-apidly popular.

The business management of this company at an early date fell to
Mr. Edwin C. Nichols, the son of John Nichols, who is today president
and at the head of the Nichols & Shepard Company factory, and who is
recognized as the dean of the threshing maeliine industry througliout the
United States. While the company had the u.sual experiences of an
institution growing from a modest beginning, it became one of the large
thresher industries of the country through the great, merit, effectiveness
and popularity of its machine and the business ability which Mr. Nichols
brought into the management of the institution.

This new thresher, to designate it from the old endless apron type
that had been previously built, was termed the "Vibrator," the word
being coined and copyrighted by the company. Notwithstanding the
opposition which it met from competitors, it became so noted for its
meritorious qualities and .so popular among threshermen of the country
that competitors were compelled to change their designs and follow the
type of the Vibrator as closely as they could. In within practically
twenty years from the advent of the Vibrator, the endless apron type
of machine had been abandoned and all builders had designed and were
constructing threshers using the vibrating or agitating principle.

In 1854 Mr. Roswell T. Merrill began the manufacture of a
thresher which was called the "Double-mill separator." In 1856 his
son-in-law. I\Ir. William Brown, assumed the business. Mr. Brown aban-
doned the double-mill machine in 1859 and began the manufacture of a
separator or thresher which wa.s so near like the then popular Joseph


Hall, Rochester, N. Y., machine that the United States court decided it
an infringement and rendered a judgment against him. At about that
same time, James S. Upton became his partner, the firm being styled
Upton & Brown. In 1863 they began building and selling a thresher
called the "Michigan Sweepstakes." In 1867 they took in Mr. WiUiam
Brooks as a partner, and Mr. Parley Upton became a member of the firm
in 1869, at which time the firm was styled Upton, Brown & Company. In
1874 a new firm or company was organized, consistng of William Brown,
James S. Upton and Henry M. Strong; and two years later, 1876, they
were incorporated under the name of the Upton Manufacturing Company,
remaining in business until 1885. when the business and plant were
removed to Port Huron, Michigan, forming the basis of what is now
kno-rni as the Port Huron Engine and Thresher Company.

In the early eighties Mr. C. G. Case, who had been in the employ
of Nichols & Shepard Company to some extent, designed, invented and
patented a new thresher which was afterwards named the Advance. A
company to manufacture it was organized imder the name of Case &
Willard. Mr. Charles Willard was induced to contribute towards the
building of this new thresher and a number of other business men of
Battle Creek as well, among them IMr. William H. ]\Iason, Mr. James
Green, Mr. B. T. Skinner, Mr. F. M. Rathbun and Mr. Charles E. Thomas.

This company grew and thrived, afterwards becoming the Advance
Thresher Company. Mr. A. W. Wright of Alma, Michigan, purchased
a large interest in the comjiany and was its president for a great many
years. The stock of this company was, in the latter part of 1911, pur-
chased by the M. Rumely Company, also thresher manufacturers of
La Porte, Indiana, and while it maintains a separate existence to some
extent is practically managed at the present time by the said Rumely

These two thresher factories have grown in magnitude until the city
of Battle Creek produces practically ten per cent of the threshing ma-
chinery and traction engines built in the entire United States. Their
prosperity has been of incalculable benefit to the community, and they
are at the present time furnishing employment to not less than one
thousand men.

Other industries sprung up in their wake in the city of Battle Creek
and have helped to give it its present growth, but the base of its pros-
perity and its enterprise is practically the threshing machine industry.
Instead of the little light threshers with limited capacity, and the old
"do'wn" horse powers trailed around the country under the trucks of
a wagon, these companies now produce the largest threshing machine
outfits built.

The steam engine for threshing came into use in the latter part of
the sixties, and in the seventies was built into a traction or self-propeller.
Instead of the old small thresher with a capacity to thresh not to exceed
300 to 500 bushels of wheat per day, these factories now produce a
thresher with a capacity of 4,000 to 6,000 bushels of wheat per day and
traction steam engines that will develop not less than 125 to 150 brake
horse power.


The policy of these companies toward their employees has always
beeu the best. They have insisted upon skilled labor and clean, honest
workmen. Employees have been treated in a manner so different from
other communities that today Battle Creek has no impoverished settle-
ment but is built up with mechanics' and shopmen's homes, which they
own and in which they take pride, until the visitor from other parts is
amazed at the clean town and comfortable homes for working men, with
their well-kept lawns and bright surroundings.

There have been efforts made at dift'erent times in a meager way to
introduce into Battle Creek the building of other lines of farm imple-
ments and machinery, but never to any considerable extent, nor have
any such institutions or efforts been considerably developed.

Ste.vm Pump Industry


In 1886 Elou A. Marsh was cinpldyrd by the Battle Creek Machinery
Company to develop a boiler feed pinn]) tor traction engines — his early
efforts were dii-ected with the idea of (ipeiating the same by the engine's
exhaust, which was at considerable pressure for the purpose of forcing
draught in the smoke stack through a reduced exhaust nozzle. He worked
along these lines for about two years, making what he termed a "gravity
pump" of vertical design and single acting — work being done on the
"up" stroke, and the heavily weighted piston falling for renewed action
by gravity. This scheme proved a complete failure, and was abandoned
early in 1888, all patterns and eastings being scrapped. He kept at work,
however, experimenting on other designs, and December 18, 1888, issued
his tirst patent. No. 394.656, for a single-acting plunger pump the piston
of which was operated both ways by high pressure steam direct from the

This constriietion, while obviously more practical than the first, was
decidedly faulty, and soon followed its predecessor, never arriving at the
stage of marketability. His next attempt brought out the double-acting
piston pattern patented August 27, 1889, No. 409,851. This was practical
from the start, and with modifications and later improvements formed
a basis for the immense business interests represented by Battle Creek
pump makers today. From the peculiar construction of the Marsh
piston — and the fact that it was made in the form of an extended spool,
the space between the heads being constantly under live steam pressure
much difficulty was experienced in providing the heads with a suitable
packing that would be perfectly tight under all conditions, and to meet
this emergency the improved process of making piston i-ings which was
patented by Fo-ster ]\I. Metcalf September 3, 1889, No. 410,426, was
developed, and is now universally used by all pump and engine builders.
Its adoption was vital to the success of Marsh pumps, and proved the
needed link to prevent another impending failure.

The original Marsh pumps were made and intended for but small and
comparatively short stroke machines, and as the business grew and



demands for larger pumps increased, a new design was brought out by
Metcalf and patented December 16, 1890, No. 442,905, and all Marsh
pumps except the few small sizes have been made under this patent.

The most important subsequent patent taken out by Battle Creek in-
ventors and mechanics in the pump line are as follows : No. 452,312, May
12, 1891, by Foster il. Metcalf ; deflecting valve for directing the exliaust
steam used to run the pump into the water being pumped whereby it is
condensed and returned to the boiler from which it came in the form of

No. 469,230, February 9, 1892, by Frank A. Burnham; improvement
in deflecting valves, for the same purpose as last.

Online LibraryWashington GardnerHistory of Calhoun county, Michigan : a narrative account of its historical progress, its people, and its principle interests (Volume 1) → online text (page 44 of 74)