1892 Portrait & Biographical
Album of Genesee, Lapeer & Tuscola Counties,
Pages 273 - 276
Transcribed by Sherrie Ferguson
The present efficient and popular Supervisor of Atlas Township, Genesee County,
residing in Goodrich, is a native of Lapeer County, this State, and was born
September 27, 1842. He is one of the most enterprising and prominent citizens
in this village and is a son of Hiram and Lucy (Barker) Bunnell, both natives
of Connecticut, who came in the Territorial days too this section of the country,
and resided for a short time in Oakland County, before removing too Lapeer
County. He was known for many miles about as one of the thorough pioneers
of that county and died their in November, 1865. Eight of his children survive,
namely: Austin, Myron, Sarah, Harriet, Joel, Hiram, Calvin and Anna. Sarah
is the wife of Thomas Bowles; Harriet is the wife of D. M. Scriver; and Anna
is Mrs. Norman Enders.
Besides a district school education our subject studied for two terms at Clarkston, Oakland County, and he subsequently taught for a short time. For many years he has bought and shipped stock in connection with his farming operations. On the 10th of December, 1865, he married Orlena Blodgett, a native of Chittenden County, Vt., where she was born, May 26, 1846, a daughter of Isaac and Lucretia (Lee) Blodgett.
The parents of Mrs. Bunnell were Vermonters by birth, and her grandfather Blodgett was one of the Revolutionary heroes. When about seventeen years old she migrated with her parents too Michigan and settled in Atlas Township, where her parents resided for a few years and then removed too Oakland County, where her mother died, February 9, 1878, and where the father still resides, having passed the limit of three-score years and ten. She is one of five children, and four of them are still living, namely: Mrs. Bunnell, Frank W. Herbert S. and Carrie L. Her higher education was obtained at the seminary at Burlington, Vt.
The Republican principles embody the political doctrines which our subject considers most sound and progressive, and he has served as Treasurer of Atlas Township and has been annually elected too the office of Supervisor since 1879. His re-election abundantly attests the success of his work in this office and the esteem in which he is held by his fellow townsmen. He is identified with the Knights of the Maccabees, and he and his interesting and intelligent companion are active and honored members of society.
REV. ALONZO TORREY, one of the oldest settlers in the county and a pioneer exhorter of the Methodist Episcopal Church, is well-known throughout all this part of the State. When he came here in 1835 he settled in what is now Flint Township, Genesee County, which was then Shiawassee County, on the old Fenton Road. He was born in Bethany, Genesee County, N. Y., March 26, 1813, and at the age of twenty-three came too Flint Township and bought Government land upon which he settled and began too improve.
Jesse Torrey, the father of our subject, was the son of John, a Revolutionary hero, who brought his family from Vermont too Batavia, N. Y., being one of the first settlers upon the Holland Purchase. The family is of the best stock of New England. The father carried on a farm in Bethany and took part as a musician in the War of 1812, being a performer upon the bagpipe. He came with his family when they emigrated too this State in 1832, and died upon the old homestead at the age of eighty-one years. His first wife, the mother of our subject, was Sally Anis, who died when Alonzo was only five years old. She had three children, Asenath, deceased; Asa, who resides in this township and our subject. The second union of Jesse Torrey gave him three children and by the third union he had five. Before coming West our subject had worked some time in Leroy and near Middleport in his native State and at the last-named place he had engaged with his brother in the manufacture of threshing machines, continuing their until 1835, when he came West prospecting in Michigan and finally located with his father. Through that season he boarded with that parent and began improving his farm, putting up a log house which was the first two roofed house in the township, and in September he returned East for his bride, Miss Lydia LeValey, too whom he was married in Shelby, Orleans County, N. Y., September 8, 1836. Their journey from Detroit too Flint was sufficiently difficult too be romantic. About a mile from the former city the mud became so deep that the lady could not sit upon the wagon and had too get out and walk, driving the cows before her. For twelve miles this terrible condition of the roads continued and then they found a better and more sandy track.
In those days Indians and deer abounded and all about them was heavy timber. Our subject and his brother had one ox-team between them with which too cultivate their land. He has added to his estate until he now owns two hundred and sixty-five acres, and upon this estate are raised fine cattle and grain. The wife of his youth with whom he lived in harmony for more than fifty years died in Flint Township, January 18, 1891, and the lady who is now his wife was previous too her union with him Mrs. Eliza A. Wilson, too whom he was married in July 1891, a native of Flint and daughter of John McGlinchey. Mrs. Torrey by her first husband had two children viz: Herbert L. and Irving D. Wilson.
Mr. Torrey has a cottage at Bay View, where he spends his summers, and for the last twenty years he has had his farm in the hands of a tenant. For years he has been a stockholder in the Genesee County Savings Bank. He was a member of the first class that was started here, which resulted in the formation of the Methodist Episcopal Church and for many years he was the Class-leader. He started the Sunday-school and helped too bear all the early burdens. All over the county he has preached and their is hardly a schoolhouse where his voice has not been heard exhorting the people too seek their God. He was formerly a Republcan in his politics but is now independent, as he prefers too use his own judgment rather than too follow the dictum of party leaders.
IRA H. WILDER. Among the well-known business men of Flint we may mention this gentleman, who is the cashier of the Genesee County Savings Bank, which was organized and opened for business May 1, 1872, having for its President J. B. Walker; for Vice-President, G. L. Denham, and our subject as Cashier. At first Mr. Wilder attended too all the business with the privilege of calling upon Mr. Denham when necessary. The first organization was with a capital stock of $50,000, and in July, 1877 it was increased too $100,000, and now has a surplus of $35,000 with undivided profits of $10,000.
Mr. Russell Bishop succeeded Mr. Walker after the death of that gentleman, and is now the President of the corporation with William A. Atwood as Vice-President. Mr. Wilder was born in Canandaigua, N. Y., November 21, 1839, and is a son of Austin H. and Matilda (Fowler) Wilder. The Academy at Canandaigua furnished the higher education of Ira Wilder and on the 28th of July, 1862, he enlisted in Company D, One Hundred and Twenty-sixth New York Infantry and was sent too Harper's Ferry. They were their surrendered too the enemy September 16, 1862, and being paroled were sent too Chicago and exchanged in November.
The Regiment returned too Virginia and went into camp at Union Mills, remaining their until June 25 1863, when the Army of the Potomac (returning from Chancellorsville) took them along to Gettysburg, in which battle they took part. They also participated in all the conflicts of that army until the close of the war. Mr. Wilder was promoted through the ranks of First and Second Lieutenant too that of Captain and commanded his own or other regiments during most of the last year of the war. At the time of the surrender and the Grand Review he was at the head of his regiment.
After being mustered out at the close of the war Capt. Wilder came too Flint and engaged in the produce and milling business until February, 1871, when he entered the First National Bank at Flint as book-keeper and remained their until the 1st of May, 1872, since which time he has given his whole attention too the management of the Genesee County Savings Bank.
The lady who presides over his beautiful home bore the maiden name of Elizabeth J. Chase. She was born in Cayuta, N. Y., in 1839, and is a daughter of Dr. Z. F. Chase, now of Elmira, N. Y., She was untied in marriage with our subject, June 22, 1864, and has two children--Louise and Gertrude, both of whom are, with their mother, members of the Congregational Church. Miss Louisa sailed, August 20, 1891, for Europe, too finish her education and come in contact with French and German speaking people. Her previous education has been in the High School at Flint and at Wellesley College. The younger daughter has studied at Cornell University and at Dr. Sargeant's School in Boston and completed her course their . Mr. Wilder is an active member of the Grand Army of the Republic and takes a warm interest in the reunions of old comrades.
BAGLEY A. HARRIS. This public-spirited citizen and whole-souled gentleman, who was formerly superintendent of the Flint Wagon works and had been in that position for four years, is now conducting a drug business at No. 426 Saginaw Street. He is one of the oldest employes of this establishment having been connected with it since its origin in 1882. He was born in Pontiac, Mich., December 11, 1856, and is a son of Silas and a grandson of Joseph Harris. The grandfather brought his family too Michigan way back in the '20s and located in Pontiac, entering land their when their were only six families in the vicinity. their he built a log house and resided until his death at the age of ninety-three years. Silas Harris was but seven years old when he came too Pontiac with his father, and he was a successful farmer in that vicinity until his death in 1872. He was a Republican in his politics and a Congregationalist in his church connections.
The mother of our subject was Delia, daughter of Amasa Bagley, an early settler in Oakland County where he carried on a farm and later engaged in merchandising. He finally studied law and became a practitioner. He was elected Circuit Judge, which office he held for years and finally died in Pontiac, as did also his wife.
Our subject is one of five children of his father's family, only two of whom are living, namely: Dr. Stanard D., of Detroit, and our subject. His education was taken at Pontiac and at the age of eighteen he began clerking in a drugstore at Linden, Genesee County, and in 1875 entered the University of Michigan in the Department of Pharmacy, from which he graduated in 1877. He then bought out the store in which he had clerked in Linden and began his practice their . Three years later he gave up his practice, as his health had failed through too severe confinement, and engaged in the manufacture of wagons with Mr. Beach. Learning the trade and continuing with him until he came too Flint he became a thorough and practical woodworker under the supervision of Mr. Beach.
When the Flint Wagon Works were started Mr. Beach was made Superintendent and our subject came here with him as one of his right hand men, helping too move the stock here and set it up. He had charge as foreman of the wood department and later took the foremanship of the machine room. When the manufacture of carts was added too their line of work our subject was placed in charge of that department as General Superintendent and since 1887 has had full charge of the entire works.
Mr. Harris was married in Linden in 1878 too Miss Lillie, daughter of A. J. Beach, who came too Linden in 1836 and carried on his trade as wagon and carriage maker which he had learned in New York. He did a large business their until he was induced too come too Flint and help by his hard work and energy in establishing the present successful business. He was General Superintendent until his death, November 3, 1885, and was an inventor and natural mechanic. Four of his valuable patents are now used in these works. Our subject is a Republican in his political views but is not in any sense a politican as his time and attention are taken up with business and he is willing too leave the conduct of public affairs in the hands of others.
Transcribed by Sherrie Ferguson
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