— PART ONE —
Frederick Plumer Currier Sr. was born November 11, 1812 in the township of Newbury in Orange County, Vermont to Moses Currier (1784-1845) and Mary Carter Currier (1787-1875). Mary’s mother was a Hoyt and might be a distant relative of mine.
He was the third child and third son. He had a twin sister, Pamelia. He also had four younger sisters and three younger brothers.
His fourth great-grandparents, Richard Currier (1616-1686) and Ann Currier ( -1676), came to the colonies about 1640 and were some of the original settlers of Amesbury, Massachusetts. Ann’s date of birth and maiden name are not known.
He was raised on the family farm but received little formal schooling. Between the ages of nineteen and twenty-one, he attended the Newbury Seminary and the Adkinson Seminary in New Hampshire. To pay for his education, he hired out on a monthly basis and learned the carpentry trade and the joiner’s trade.
At twenty-one he moved to Haverhill, Massachusetts. (I question this being Massachusetts–Haverhill, New Hampshire is on the border of Newbury Township in Orange County, Vermont.) Over the next three years, he learned the shoemaker’s trade during the winter months and worked as a mason during the summer months. Once becoming proficient as a shoemaker, he hired a number of skilled workers and opened his own shop.
At twenty-four, he returned to Newbury, Vermont. He partnered with a Mr. Keys to start a business that manufactured bricks.
On November 7, 1837 probably in Newbury, he married Mary P. Clark. Mary was born July 5, 1813 in New Hampshire to Jonathan Clark (1784-1864) and Martha [maiden name unknown] Clark (1791-1871).
Shortly after their marriage, they moved to Topsham and Frederick partnered with his brother Moses (1822-1883) to construct a large tannery. After operating the tannery for a couple of years, he sold his interest in the tannery to his brother and bought a farm. He operated the farm for about a year.
During this time Frederick and Mary’s first three children were born in Topsham. Their first child, Charlotte died before the age of one. Son Henry was born April 23, 1840, followed by Sarah on December 26, 1843.
Shortly after Sarah’s birth, Frederick and his brother Moses traveled across the Erie Canal and on to Michigan for the first time. Frederick had become captivated by the tales of Michigan’s wilderness and endless possibilities. There is also a family history that Frederick was seeking a climate better for Mary’s tuberculosis. The “pine air” of Michigan was thought to be beneficial to those with tuberculosis. Mary and the children stayed in Vermont while Frederick and Moses explored Michigan.
Once in Michigan, Frederick built a large steam powered sawmill in Imlay Township for the Beach, Imlay & Morse Company. While here he purchased multiple pieces of property adjacent to creeks, which could be used to power mills. He only stayed a year and then returned to Vermont with Moses.
Once back in Vermont, he moved the family to Connecticut. He split his time between operating a paper mill and building other mills.
In 1846, he returned to Almont and worked as a millwright (mill builder) and built his own factory to manufacture starch (King’s Mill). Starch was produced by processing potatoes. He contracted with local farmers to supply potatoes at 10 cents per bushel. This became a very profitable operation.
This endeavor was so successful that he brought Mary and the children from Vermont to Michigan in 1847. Son Frederick Plumer Currier Jr. was born in Almont on September 26, 1848.
He sold the mill to Samuel Rogers in 1849, who sold it to J. S. Jenness in 1850, who sold it to Charles Kennett in 1851. The mill was purchased by Briggs & Teller in 1851 and converted it to a steam powered grist and sawmill.
In 1844, Joel P. Muzzy and Mr. Barrows established a foundry. In 1851, Frederick P. Currier bought out Mr. Barrows creating the firm of Muzzy and Currier. The business operated both foundry and machining operations. In 1853, they constructed one facility for both operations on the site previously owned by Price and Hendershot (current location of Dollar General). By wagon, they brought in iron ingots and produced plows and stoves. Once in the new building, they produced the first steam engine built in Lapeer County.
Frederick and Mary moved to a small house at 235 East St. Clair Street–the Bostick House in 1849. Located to the west of this house was an open lot. On January 4, 1849, Frederick purchased this lot for $200 from Calvin A. Shaw and Clarissa M. Shaw with the intention of constructing a substantial home for his family.
The early 1850s saw the concept of building homes in an octagon shape with tall windows –floor to ceiling. The shape of the building and the size of the windows was to allow maximum light into the building at anytime of the day and improve ventilation. Orson Fowler published a book on the principles of octagon house construction and the benefits of building an octagon shaped house.
Frederick used some of Fowler’s principles for the design but added his own individualized touches. By constructing a triangular entrance and triangular shaped closets, three of the four first floor rooms were also octagon shaped. Because of the stairway to the second floor, the fourth room was not a complete octagon. Additionally, the exterior walls are not of equal length, which was considered a violation of the principles of octagon design.
He installed a stove built at the Muzzy and Currier Foundry to heat the home. At the back he attached a carriage house, which is the modern predecessor to a garage. Normally, the carriage house was a separate structure.
The tower room–or third floor–is a small room about nine feet on a side and windows looking in all directions. It is also known as the cupola.
This structure is unique because of these features but what makes it totally unique is the indoor “outhouse”. A 40 foot corridor leads from the kitchen to the back of the carriage house to a three-hole outhouse– no going outside in the winter.
The house was completed in 1856 and the family moved next door.
The house was owned by the family until 1961. It was sold to William and Mary Hahn. The Hahn’s modernized the kitchen and put in a bath room. Sometime after Mr. Hahn’s death in 1985, the house went through several hands before it was purchased by the Four County Community Foundation.
1. Portrait & Biographical Album of Genesee, Lapeer & Tuscola Counties (1892), page 420-421.
2. Yale Expositor, May 18, 1900
3. Melanie Meyers and Frank Angelo: An Octagon for the Curriers, 1995
4. Ancestry.com Public Tree: Currier, PA March 14, 2021; owner, Patricia Rongey
5. Ancestry.com Public Tree: Shock-Gilmore Family Tree; owner, wishius
6. Ancestry.com Public Tree: Mark Derbin; owner, Debra Derbin
7. Find A Grave Memorial #37263184 – Frederick Plummer Currier – Hough Cemetery, Almont, Lapeer, MI
8. Find A Grave Memorial #37263261 – Mary P. Clark Currier – Hough Cemetery, Almont, Lapeer, MI
9. Find A Grave Memorial #233690022 – Mahala Ordway Doe Currier Currier – East Corinth Cemetery Old, East Corinth, Orange, VT
10. Find A Grave Memorial #233262981 – John Doe – East Corinth Cemetery Old, East Corinth, Orange, VT
11. Find A Grave Memorial #233263000 – Lydia R. Ordway Doe – East Corinth Cemetery Old, East Corinth, Orange, VT
12. Find A Grave Memorial #198408309 – Jonathan Clark – Oxbow Cemetery, Newbury, Orange, VT
13. Find A Grave Memorial #198408312 – Martha Clark – Oxbow Cemetery, Newbury, Orange, VT
14. Find A Grave Memorial #22030698 – Thomas Jefferson Currier Hawks Cemetery, Georgetown, Madison, MY
15. Find A Grave Memorial #195708923 – Bagley Carter Currier – Upper Plain Cemetery, Bradford, Orange, VT
16. Find A Grave Memorial #76392092 – Pamelia H. Currier – Currier Hill Cemetery, East Topsham, Orange, VT
17. Find A Grave Memorial #232012915 – Emeline Currier Smith – East Corinth Cemetery Old, East Corinth, Orange, VT
18. Find A Grave Memorial #76392037 – Mary Jane Currier – Currier Hill Cemetery, East Topsham, Orange, VT
19. Find A Grave Memorial #72449658 – Elizabeth P. Currier Abbott – Currier Hill Cemetery, East Topsham, Orange, VT
20. Find A Grave Memorial #233680040 – Moses Currier – East Corinth Cemetery Old, East Corinth, Orange, VT
21. Find A Grave Memorial #76392184 – Harriet B. Currier – Currier Hill Cemetery, East Topsham, Orange, VT
22. Find A Grave Memorial #15312047 – Richard B. Currier – Hough Cemetery, Almont, Lapeer, MI
23. Find A Grave Memorial #207130139 – James Carter Currier – Graceland Park Cemetery, Sioux City, Woodbury, IA
24. Find A Grave Memorial #15312050 – Augusta Frances Gibbs – Hough Cemetery, Almont, Lapeer, MI
25. Michigan, U. S., Marriage Records, 1867-1952, page 106
26. 1850 U. S. Census, Topsham, Orange, VT, page 10
27. 1850 U. S. Census, Almont, Lapeer, MI. page 6
28. 1860 U. S. Census, Almont, Lapeer, MI. page 26
29. 1870 U. S. Census, Almont, Lapeer, MI. page 11
30. 1880 U. S. Census, Almont, Lapeer, MI. pages 10 and 41
31. Orange County Vermont History and Genealogy – VTGenWeb
32. Vermont Genealogy Resources Orange County
33. Vermont County maps – GIS Geography
Copies of the Almont Historical Society’s various books can be purchased by contacting Jim Wade at 810-796-3355 or email@example.com or stopping by the museum on Saturdays from 1-4 p.m.