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John Redmond Cotter (1860-?)
Born in Chicago, IL, boat builder and clerk of Essexville.

Biography, 1915. - Added Oct., 2010.

History of Michigan, Vol. 2, 1915



In business and manufacturing, in politics and in the field of outdoor sports, Mr. Cotter has won many distinctions for himself, and there are many persons in every section of the state who will at once recall some fact of interest about this well-known Bay City citizen.

Born in Chicago, Illinois, June 29, 1860, John Redmond Cotter is a son of Redmond and Annie (O'Neil) Cotter, both of whom were born in Dublin, Ireland, and after coming to America lived in Chicago until 1868. The father, a stonecutter by trade, then moved to Essexville, Michigan, a suburb of Bay City. There he continued to follow his trade as contractor and stonecutter until his death at the age of eighty-one years. His wife passed away when seventy-five years old. Of their six children two are deceased, and besides John R., the others are: Ella, wife of James Hines of Saginaw; William H. Cotter, with the Michigan Sugar Company of Bay City; James Cotter, principal of the Pinconning High School at Pinconning. It was a matter of pride to their parents to give their children the best possible educational advantages, and the second generation have proved a credit to their parents.

John R. Cotter was educated in the grammar and high schools of Bay City, where he lived from the age of eight years and in early youth learned the trade of shingle packing, a vocation which during the high tide of lumbering was considered the best paid in the entire industry. That was his regular line of work for a long period of years. In 1907, Mr. Cotter engaged in boat building. Buying an ideal location at the foot of Main Street in Essexville, he has built up a successful business in the building of gasoline powered boats, and row boats. He not only constructs these crafts, but maintains a general boat renting headquarters, and has a stock of more than fifty boats of different kinds, which are rented to his customers during the open seasons of the year. His establishment is situated on the banks of the Saginaw River, within two blocks of the car line.

Mr. Cotter has long been one of the public spirited citizens of Essexville, which suburb he served as president for one term, for eight years as marshal, also as street commissioner, for many years as town clerk, and was deputy sheriff of the county. A Democrat, in a quiet way, Mr. Cotter has worked hard in behalf of the party, and is well known in Democratic councils throughout this section of the state. It will now be in order to say something concerning Mr. Cotter's activities in the field of sports. Mr. Cotter has personal friends among the people in all walks of life, and these friendships have been due not only to this business relations and political career, but also to his intimate association with the devotees of sport, particularly with the gun. For many years Mr. Cotter was the champion trap shot in Michigan, and had the distinction of winning all the medals and pennants given as trophies by the gun clubs in Michigan, during the years when his skill was at its height. In 1887 and again in 1888 he won the diamond medal at Detroit, scoring ninety-seven out of one hundred clay pigeons, in a field comprising more than one hundred contestants. That score has never since been beaten in the state of Michigan. During the days of his prominence as a marksman, Mr. Cotter was as well known among gun enthusiasts as Ty Cobb or other great ball players are known to the devotees of the national past-time today, and the daily papers of the state gave a great deal of space to his name and achievements. Mr. Cotter is affiliated with Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks, the Modern Woodman of America, and the Knights of the Maccabees. His genial personality and honorable business efforts have gained him the respect and friendship of all the people of Bay City. Mr. Cotter was reared in the faith of the Catholic religion.

In 1895 Mr. Cotter became the owner of the racing yacht, St. Elmo, designed by Small Brothers, of Boston, and built by Lon Arnold of Bay City. After owning and racing this boat for five years, and winning many events, Mr. Cotter sold it to Charles P. Seider of Detroit, who won every race in which the St. Elmo was an entrant during the summer of 1913.

In October, 1885, Mr. Cotter married Miss Maude Kidnerman, a native of Bay City, and a daughter of Dr. Constantine Kinderman, one of the prominent pioneer physicians of Bay City, now deceased. They are the parents of two children: John R. Cotter, of Flint; and Ellen M. Cotter, living with her parents.

Article, 1899. - Added Oct., 2010.

Recreation, Vol. 1, July 1899

Page 59.

Please find enclosed $1 for RECREATION for one year. Am well pleased with it. Last winter was a severe one here, but the quail stood the cold weather better than we expected. We though a good many would have frozen to death. I think from what I hear that a large number of birds are all right. We had no spring shooting on ducks last spring. Trap shooting was great sport here last winter and will continue until fall. Team shoots, between teams for Bay City and Saginaw have been on the programme; each team won a match and the third match was postponed on account the trap getting out of order in the middle of the contest.

John R. Cotter, Essexville, Michigan.

Additional Notes.

    1889 Diectory: Essexville, Mich.

  • Cotter, John R. - shingle packer J.R. Hall and village clerk.

    1900 Census: Essexville, Bay, Mich.

  • Cotter, John R. - b. June 1861 Ill.
  • Maud, wife b. Oct. 1870 Mich.
  • John Jr., son b. Oct. 1886 Mich.
  • Ella, daughter, b. Apr. 1892 Mich.
Related Pages/Notes

Related Pages:
Cotter, Carl H. nephew
Hall, Jerry H.
People Referenced
Arnold, Lon
Cobb, Ty
Cotter, Ella (sis)
Cotter, Ellen M. (dau)
Cotter, James (bro)
Cotter, John R. (subject)
Cotter, John R. Jr. (son)
Cotter, Redmond (father)
Cotter, William H. (bro)
Hall, J.R.
Hinds, James
Kidnerman, Constantine
Kidnerman, Maud (wife)
O'Neil, Annie (mother)
Seider, Charles P.
Subjects Referenced
Bay City, MI
Bay Co., MI
Boston, MA
Chicago, IL
Detroit, MI
Dublin, Ireland
Essexville, MI
Flint, MI
J.R. Hall Mill
Michigan Sugar Co.
Pinconning, MI
Pinconning High
Saginaw, MI
Saginaw River, MI
Small Bros Co.
WRITINGS: History As It Was Written Then.