— PART TWO —
Shortly after daughter Sarah’s, birth, early 1844, Frederick and his brother Moses traveled across the Erie Canal and on to Michigan for the first time. 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.
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 Plummer 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 to a steam powered grist and sawmill.
After selling the mill, it appears that he operated a machine shop which performed machining operations on parts from the foundries in town.
In 1844, Joel P. Muzzy and Mr. Barrows established a foundry. The business operated both foundry and machining operations. Mr. Barrows first name is not known with any certainty. A Dennis Barrows lived in Imlay City and Eber Barrows lived in Metamora. If Dennis Barrows was Joel Muzzy’s partner, his death in 1851 may have been the reason Mr. Barrows’ share of Muzzy & Barrows was sold. In 1851, Frederick P. Currier bought out Mr. Barrows creating the firm of Muzzy and Currier. 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.
As the years went by, Muzzy and Currier added more agricultural products to their product line. One product of particular importance was the “stump puller”. Michigan’s thumb area was primarily first purchased by logging companies. The logging companies logged off the trees and then sold the land to farmers. The farmers essentially purchased a “stump farm”.
Their initial plantings were done amongst the stumps. The “stump puller” allowed these farmers to clear the field of the stump. The stumps were then used to fence off fields and pastures.
Sometime between 1854 and 1860, Frederick Currier bought Joel P. Muzzy’s share of Muzzy and Currier. He changed the name of the firm to the Currier Agricultural Works.
In the late 1850s, Frederick’s son Henry joined the firm. He was an inventor, and over the years he received several patents for his inventions. The firm prospered and the building underwent several expansions and renovations.
In 1869 at the age of 57, Frederick sold the Currier Agricultural Works to his son Henry. Henry then brought in his younger brother, Frederick Plummer Currier Jr. as a partner. The firm was renamed the Henry Currier Agricultural Works.
He took the money from the sale of his business to go into partnership with Uriel Townsend to create the banking firm of Townsend and Currier. The firm was successful, especially dealing in real estate and logging/lumber operations. They constructed the bank building on the northeast corner of Main Street and East St. Clair Streets. To the north of the bank, they built the buildings used by S. Smith and Taylor & Hopkin (locations of European Deli and H & R Block but not the original buildings). Sometime between 1869 and 1872, Henry Stephens, James S. Johnson, Uriel Townsend and Frederick P. Currier agreed to form a company with the intent to develop a tract of lumber that extended from eight miles northeast of Lapeer to Fish Lake. At a cost of $75,000, they would purchase the uncut forest and construct a saw mill.
Uncertainty of the business climate caused Mr. Johnson, Mr. Townsend, and Mr. Currier to want to get out of the enterprise. Mr. Stephens – taking a huge risk – bought them out giving each a good price for their interest in the venture.
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.