Washington Gardner.

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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000.00; Cook forgeries, .$52,000.00; suppressed deposits, ovei' $S(l. ()()(), (H),
leaving a balance of about $70,000.00 whieh has disappeared and still
remains a mystery.

All three, Henry M. Bearing, Palmer M. Bearing and Miss Atidie
M. IloUon, were indicted and confessed to their crime. On Ai)ril 18,
1912, Henry M. Bearing and Palmer M. Bearing were sentenced five
years each in the Federal penitentiary at Leavenworth. Kansas, and
Miss Hollon w'as given a year in the Betroit house of corrertion. After-
wards her term was changed to three months.

And thus passed two men from honor and position to disgrace.

^Ir. Frank Irwin was appointed receiver of the National Bank and
through his careful and prudent management, the bank up to writing
has paid 20 per cent in dividends, with good prospects for later divi-

Throughout the evil, dark days whieh followed the bank's failure,
the people of Albion bravely faced the issues, fought their personal
trials with fortitude and courage. Business prui^ii'ssed as usual, which
speaks volumes for the stability of Albion penjile and Albion institu-

Br. Willoughby O'Bonoughue, president of the First National
Bank, was born in Bergen, Genesee county. New Yoilv, A]iril lA. 1882.
His medical education was completed in Albany ^ledical College in
1853. He came to Albion, ^Michigan, shortly afterwards and practiced
medicine until the fall of 1861. He then entered the army as assistant
surgeon of the First Michigan Engineers and Mechanics, in 1S65. he
was mustered out as surgeon and afterwards engaged in connnercial
activities. He w-as elected president of the First National Bank in ISIIO.

At the time of the failure of the bank and all during the trying days
that followed, the Boctor was at his post answering (|uestions of the
depositors. It is a tribute to the man that today, after the tremendous


failure, depositors and non-depositors of the bank liave a profound re-
spect for this aged gentleman and his character is above suspicion and

Henry ilontgomery Bearing was born August 15, 1839, at Pough-
keepsie. New York. He was educated in the public schools and attended
Albion college for a few terms. His first commercial activity was in a
dry goods store beginning at the age of 17. In 1877, he was elected
cashier of the National Exchange Bank of Albion. He still retained this
position throughout the re-organization, as explained in the above nar-
ative, until the failure of the bank, January 1. 1!)112.

The Albion State Bank received its charter from the commonwealth
of Michigan, March 29, 1895. It had for its organizer, Eugene P. Robert-
son, who, since the daj' of its birth, has been identitied with all of its

In 1863, Mr. Robertson entered the employment of Messrs. Mayhew &
Irwin, who were operating a private bank in the then village of Albion.
At a later date, during that same year, Mr. Mayhew sold out his interest
to his son-in-law, Mr. Sutton, who became active in the affairs of the bank.

At the dissolution of the firm of Mayhew & Irwin, ^Ir. Robertson
went as clerk with Mr. James W. Sheldon, a private banker in the village.
This bank was known as the Albion Exchange Bank. Robertson event-
uallv became a partner in this institution and continued as such until
the death of Mr. Sheldon, September 24, 1894.

It was at this period that Mr. Robei-tson conceived the idea of organiz-
ing a state bank. It was organized, and April 2, 1895, found the Albion
State Bank inviting the public to its home.

It has a capital stock of $50,000, with surplus and undivided profits of
over $20,000.

From the first, this bank has appealed to the depositing public as a
safe, sane and substantial institution. Along with this spirit of confid-
ence has gone a steady increase in deposits in the savings and com-
merciiil (l(']iartiiients. until today the total deposits in both departments
aggregate the sum of $370, 395. 02.

A uni(|ue feMture of the l>ank is a very progressive school savings
department, which is having a marked influence upon the youths of the
city. In this department, as well as in the regular savings department
and upon certificates of deposits, three per cent interest is paid upon
deposits if left in the bank for three months.

There has been but a slight change in the personnel of the officers and
directors of the bank since its organization. At present, Seth Hyney
is cashier and T. W. Brockway, assistant cashier, with 0. A. Leonarcl,
George T. Bullen and D. M. ilcAuliffe occupying the positions as direc-
tors, with S. Y. Hill, W. H. Rodenbach, G. W. Schneider, W. S. Kessler,
D. A. Garfield and Eugene P. Robertson.

The bank at all times has been a most prosperous and useful institu-
tion, serving its patrons in a most courteous and efficient manner. It
has been a favorite institution with small and large depositors, pru-
dently managed and well officered.

Tlie orignal officers were as follows: President, Eugene P. Robertson;


vice-presideut, W. S. Kessler; cashier, U. A. (iiirlifld : dirci-tdis, A. .1.
Gale, S. Y. Hill, M. 0. Shepard, W. H. Rodcniuu-li, (i. W. Scliiuir(i. liou^uiil thrill Dut in l.'^4!l. and ;\Ir. James ilonroe bought out
Peabnily & lirci. in is.')!! and eoiiduetcd tlie fai-tories employing about
twentv-tivc i 'i.') i iin'ii.

In 185
Sheldon, a
of Elm sti

, :\Ir. .Mdiiroe sold out the business to Messrs. Finch and
id tlii'N. Iiaving abandoned the upper factory cto the corner
et in 1854, continued making threshing machines until 1862,

when they sold out to Jlessrs. Lane & Ensign, who, in 1863 began the

manufacture of a general line of implements. In 1864, Mr. Ensign sold

out his interest to W. G. Porter.

Mr. 0. C. Gale came to Albion in 1861 and started in the hardware

business. In a year or so, E. W. Hollingsworth, Horatio Gale, and


Augustus Gale came here, entering in business with O. V. Gale and
forming the 0. C. Gale & Company.

In 1863, 0. C. Gale & Company built an implement factory on the
northwest corner of Superior and Cass streets, which was enlarged from
time to time until tlieir plant covered the entire block at Superior, Cass
and Clinton streets and the river. Before building this plant they had
bought out W. G. Porter in 1863-1864.

In 1863, the company was incorporated with $58,000 capital, 0. C.
Gale, president, and J. Hyde Monroe, secretary-treasurer. On De-
cember 10, 1884, the works was partially destroyed by fire.

July 19, 1887. the entire stock of this company was sold to a com-
pany consisting of li. Kirke White, II. R. Stoepel, G. H. Gale, Horatio
Gale, A. J. Gale, K. C. Lester and F. A. Alsdorf.

The present plant was built in 1888, enlarging from time to time,
until it now contains 248,729 square feet of floor space, equal to 5.71

July 7, 1890, the above company purchased the Albion Manufacturing
Company. In 1903, the company was re-incorporated.

Previous to 1888, this company used a building for the storage of
eastings on the south side of Cass street now owned by the city of Albion
and used for fire department headtiuarters and council rooms.

It was very interesting to hear Mr. 0. C. Gale, who was born in
L'Acadie, Lower Canada, June 3, 1823, and, at the age of eighty-eight,
passed away on the 29th of February 1912, relate the difficulties they were
put to when located at Moscow as compared \\-ith the present facilities.
At that time all iron, bolts, screws, etc., had to be hauled l>y teams over
the road from Toledo, Ohio. It was necessary to make nearly everything
by hand, modern machinery being unknown.

At the time the company was located on the southeast corner of
Superior and Cass streets only two employees worked in the foundry,
and the same number in the wood-working department.

The following list shows some of the prominent persons, residents
of Albion, who have been connected with the company : 0. C. Gale,
president, 1873-1879; E. W. HoUingsworth, vice-president, 1873-1879;
president, 1879-1884 ; Augustus J. Gale, superintendent, 1873-1878, 1880-
1887 ; Horatio Gale, general agent, 1873-1876 ; vice-president 1887-1892 ;
J. Hyde Monroe, secretary and treasurer, 1873-1875; S. P. Brockway,
secretary and treasurer, 1875-1881 ; general agent, 1879-1881 ; J. W.
Sheldon, vice-president, 1880; president, 1881-1887; C. C. Lane, gen-
eral agent, 1876-1879, 1881-1883; Chas. Blanchard; W. O'Donoghue,
vice-president, 1879-1884; E. P. Robertson; R. Y. Finch; C. II. :\Iann,
vice-president, 1884-1887; G. H. Gale, superintendent, 1878; J. J.
Alley ; W. H. Brockway ; F. A. Alsdorf, secretary and treasurer, 1881-
1889; D. P. Biglow, superintendent, 1881; S. W. Hill, general agent.
1883-1887; H. Kirke White, president, 1887: H. R. Stoepel, general
agent, 1887-1889; secretary and treasurer, 1889-1894; treasurer and
general manager, 1895-1904; E. W. Backus, superintendent, 1888; E.
C. Lester, 1888-1897; C. D. Wiselogel; A. E. F. White, vice-president,
1892-1897; H. K. AVhite, Jr., secretarv, 1895; L. E. White, auditor,


1896; secretary, 1892-1904; treasurer, 1904; W. D. Brundage, as-
sistant superintendent, 1896; superintendent, 1898-1904; M. T. Conk-
lin, vice-president, 1897 ; A. J. Brosseau secretary and general man-
ager, 1904; W. L. Beall, superintendent, 1904; Geo. W. Bortles, as-
sistant secretary, 1904 ; Earl Knight, assistant treasurer, 1904-1906.

The company's line of tools now embraces a complete assortment
as follows: Foot Lift Gang Plows, combination or all steel; Foot Lift
Sulky Plows, chilled, combination or all steel; Lever Lift Sulky Plows,
chilled, combination or all steel; Walking Plows, all kinds (wood or steel
beam) in chilled, combination or all steel; Disc Harrows, Regular, Cut-
Out or Plow-Cut, also Tongue Trucks; Single Row Stalk Cutters, 5-
Knife or 7-Knife; Steel Spike-Tooth Lever Harrows (all sizes) ; Wood
Bar Spike-Tooth Harrows (all sizes) ; Flexible Wood Bar Spike-Tooth
Harrows (all sizes) ; Steel Frame Spring-Tooth Lever Harrows (all
sizes) ; Wood Frame Spring-Tooth Harrows (Lined or Uuliued) ; Listers
and Combined Listers and Drills (Walking or Riding) ; One-Horse
Planters, with or without Fertilizer Attachment ; Sure Drop Two-Horse
Planters, with or without Fertilizer Attachment for checking or drill-
ing; Riding Cultivators, Single or Double Row with shovels, spring-
teeth, or disc gangs; Walking Two-Horse Cultivators, with shovel or
spring-teeth gangs; Walking One-Horse Cultivators, with spike-teeth,
spring-teeth, or regular shovels; Garden (Hand) Cultivators; Wagon
Loadei's, for Manure, Sand, Gravel, etc. ; Spalding Deep Tilling Ma-

The Albion Malle.\ble Iron Company

By Raymond H. Gardner

As indicated by its name, this is a corporation engaged in the manu-
facture of malleable iron. This commodity differs from ordinary "cast"
or grey iron in that it is much stronger and tougher and to a certain de-
gree, ductile or malleable. The product of any malleable iron plant is
not of itself a finished article to be placed in the hands of the iiltimate
consumer, but goes to manufacturers of automobiles, carriages, wagons,
agricultural implements, railroad cars, etc., etc., of which it forms a

The Albion Company the only one of its kind in the county, was
founded in December, 1888, b.y W. S. Kessler, then of Chicago.

Mr. Kessler was largely influenced to locate in Albion by Horatio
Gale and B. P. Burrall. The factory formerly occupied by the Gale
Manufacturing Company, located on the corner of Superior and Cass
streets, was remodelled and the necessary equipment installed. It soon
became evident that a considerable amount of capital would be re-
quired for improvements and additional equipment. Therefore, in June,
1889, a meeting of Albion citizens was called for the purpose of forming
a stock company. The names of a large number of Albion's most promi-
nent men are found in the original list of stock holders. These selected
J. C. Eslow as president; R. J. Frost, vice-president; W. S. Kessler,
secretary and treasurer and Horatio Gale, J. C. Eslow, W. S. Kessler, J.


G. Browu and R. J. Frost constituted the board of directors. The newly
fonned company started out with about twenty-five employees.

E. P. Burrall, R. J. Frost, and J. G. Brown successively held the office
of president until October, 1894, when W. S. Kessler the present in-
cumbent, was elected. From the first Mr. Kessler, however, was the
active manager.

In 1891, after a number of discouraging set backs, the outlook began
to brighten and the board of directors authorized a considerable addition
to the factory, which addition was built on the north side of the old
plant, over the Kalamazoo river. The number of employees soon rose
to about one hundred.

The company gradually acquired an enviable reputation as producers
of high grade eastings and the volume of business steadily increased
until in 1898 the necessity for a much larger plant became imperative.
A piece of land sixty-seven acres in extent, on the west side of the city
was purchased. Here a thoroughly modern plant was erected, under the
management of W. S. Kessler, president, H. B. Parker, vice-president
and M. B. Murray, secretary and treasurer. The new factory covered
about four acres of ground and employed three hundred men and had
a capacity of from 8,000 to 10,000 tons annually.

The new ((uarters were ample for the first few years, but business
grew steadily and in about seven years after occupying its lai"ge, new
plant, the company's operation and output were again hampered by the
congestion in its various departments.

In 1906 plans for extensive improvements were drawn up. The work
of erecting the buildings laid out covei-ed a period of five years, and when
completed, the factory as it stands today, was the result. It covers eight
acres of ground, and has the capacity to produce 25,000 tons of castings
annually to do which requires from nine hundred to one thousand em-

Having provided itself with sufficient buildings and machinery, the
managemeut was next confronted with the problem of securing labor.

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 54 of 74)