Heritage \ Writings \

Thomas Lincoln Handy (1866-1922)
Native of Decatur, IL, prominent business man in Bay City.

Obituary. - Contributed by Patrick Cain, Mar., 2011.

The Bay City Times October 23, 1922


One of the Me Who Had a Great Share in Development of Bay City.

Thomas L. Handy, railroad builder and operator, coal operator and manufacturer and one of the men who, in the past 35 odd years has had a great deal to do with the development of Bay City, died at his home on Euclid Avenue shortly before noon today after an illness of several weeks. Mr. Handy came Bay City about 1885 when almost a youth, and engaged with a box manufacturing business, the firm name being known as u>Handy & Cramer. Within a year or two Mr. Cramer was succeeded by Charles W. Handy, the firm being known as Handy Bros. Later Geo. W. and Frank S. Handy came here and entered the business and it was incorporated under the name of Handy Bros. This business grew to immense proportions and Thomas L. Handy with his brothers branched out into the coal business within a few years after coal was discovered in paying quantities in this vicinity. Their first mine was located in Bangor township near Wenonah beach. Later they bought what was known as the Wolverine Mine No. 2 and also developed Wolverine Mine No. 3 and in connection with these mines, they built and operated for a time the Huron & Western railroad connecting the Wolverine mines with the several railroads operating into Bay City. These mines and the railroads were sold to interests representing the Pere Marquette railroad and the Consolidated Coal Co., and Handy Bros. then developed another mine in Monitor township which was operated for a time. The leased and tested a large tract of land in Saginaw, which was later sold, to Saginaw parties and on which the Uncle Henry mine is located, and built and operated mines in Tuscola County, the first being the Akron mine and later the Unionville mine. In the meantime, Mr. Handy bought and operated for a short time and then sold the Pontiac Oxford & Northern railroad, the Grand Trunk system being the purchaser from him.

To Mr. Handy, Bay City owes the fact that it has direct railroad connection with Port Huron. At various times for half a century projects for the construction of such a road had been sprung on Bay City always with a demand for a bonus, some of which was on at least two occasions, subscribed.

When Handy Bros. were developing their coal properties in Tuscola County they found a need for a railroad and started on the construction of the Detroit, Bay City and Western road, building first from Bay City to Caro, and later to Port Huron. They then bought the Port Huron to Marine City, and started securing a right of way into Detroit. This latter road proved a valuable piece of property as it is the only steam road running through Marysville, which was then a mere village, but which has since become the scene of great industrial development. Another industrial enterprise in which T. L. Handy was the leader was the organization of the Independent Sugar Co., and the purchase of a plant at Marine City, which had not been operated for several years, which was remolded by the new owners and has been run for several years.

Mr. Handy was also a large owner of Bay City real estate and was one of the most liberal givers to all public propositions. Notable among his gifts was the site of the Thomas L. Handy Junior High School, the building of which is now nearing completion.

Mr. Handy was married about 30 years ago to Miss Harriet Emery, a daughter of the late Mr. and Mrs. Hiram and they have four children, Mrs. John White, of Utica, New York; Thomas L., Hiram and Paul of this city.

He is also survived by two brothers George W. and Charles W., and one sister, Alida R., all of this city. He was an active member of the First M.E. Church and belonged to numerous fraternal organizations.

  • Note: Burial was at Elm Lawn Cemetery.

    Obituary. - Added Mar., 2011.

    Facts about sugar, by Domestic Sugar Producers, 1922


    Known as Railroad Builder and Head of Independent Sugar Company Properties in Receivership.

    Bay City, Mich., Oct. 30. -- Thomas L. Handy, president of Handy Bros., Inc., who owned and operated the sugar factory at Marine City and the Detroit, Bay City & Western Railroad, died at his home last Monday, after an illness of several weeks. Mr. Handy's death came just as the railroad line he and his brothers built had been placed in the hands of a receiver, some weeks after similar action had been taken with respect to the Independent Sugar Company, the Handy enterprise at Marine City.

    Operated Marine City Property.

    Mr. Handy had been a resident of Bay City since 1885. Starting as a box maker, he built up, with his three brothers, a large and prosperous business. Subsequently, they engaged in coal mining operations in this section and later on branched out into the railroad business, building the Detroit, Bay City & Western line to connect this city with Port Huron. Still later another line, the Port Huron & Southern was built by the Handy's between Port Huron and Marine City, where they had acquired the sugar factory formerly owned by the Western Sugar Refining Company. This property, which had been idle for some years was reorganized under the name of the Independent Sugar Company until this year, when financial difficulties brought about the appointment of the Detroit Trust Company as receiver, and the sale of the beet contracts for this season to other sugar companies.

    Mr. Handy's severe illness further complicated his affairs, and the appointment of a receiver for the railroad, in person of A. C. McDonnel of this city, who has been general manager of the line for some years, followed. Operation of the road will be continued under the direction of Mr. McDonnel.

    High School to Bear Name.

    Mr. Handy was a man of great energy and enterprise, as the variety and extent of his business undertakings testified. He was also a man of marked public spirit and charitable nature, being known as a giver of generous benefactions. Among his gifts was one to Bay City of land on which a new high school is now being built, to be known as the Thomas L. Handy Junior High School.

    He is survived by a widow, a daughter, and three sons. Two of his brothers, George W. and Charles W. Handy, both of Bay City are also living.

    New company. - Added Mar., 2011.

    Michigan Manufacturer & Financial Record, Vol, Issue 15, 1910


    Charles W., Thomas L., George W. and Frank S. Handy, of Bay City, and John H. Allerdyce of Detroit constitute the Bay County Construction Company, of Bay City. The purpose of the company is to carry on a general engineering, contracting and equipment business, and to do and perform all things necessary for the building and construction of railroads. The company is capitalized at $10,000.

    Railroad news. - Added Mar., 2011.

    The Financial Review, Railroad Stocks and Bonds Feb., 1914

    DETROIT BAY CITY & WESTERN R.R. -- Owns Bay City, Mich., to Wilmot, 40 miles; extensions proposed southeasterly to Port Huron and also north from Akron, 10 miles. Stock authorized, all out, $450,000. The 1st gold 5s ($1,250,00 authorized issue) are redeemable at par prior to Oct. 1, 1922, thereafter at 105. The $950,000 unissued are reserved for extensions at not exceeding $8,000 per mile and 75% of cost of additional terminal facilities, provided the annual net earnings are twice the interest charges, including bonds to be issued. Annual sinking fund to retire and cancel over 25% of bonds: 1917 to 1922. 1% of bonds outstanding; 1922 to 1927, 2%; 1927 to 1932, 3%. V. 95, p 1273. Year ending Aug. 31, 1912, gross, $95,193; net after taxes, $39,792; int. on present bonds out, $15,000; bal., sur., $24,792. Pres. Thomas L. Handy; V-Pres., C. W. Handy; Treas., G. W. Handy; Sec., F. S. Handy. Office Bay City, Mich.

    Thomas' death. - Added May, 2012.

    Michigan Manufacturer & Financial Record, Vol.30, 1922


    Thomas L. Handy, manufacturer, railroad builder, coal operator and prominent figure in the development of Bay City and the entire "thumb" district, died October 23, at his Bay City home after a brief illness.

    Additional Notes:

      1880 Census: Decatur, Macon, Ill.

    • Handy, Mary E., widow - b. 1836, Virginia
    • Alida R., dau. - b. 1861 Ill.
    • Charles W., son b. 1864 Ill.
    • Thomas, son b. 1866, Ill.
    • Frank, son b. 1868, Ill.

      1892 Michigan Marriages: West Bay City, Mich.

    • Date: April 20, 1891.
    • Groom: Thomas L. Handy, b. 1866 IL, son of Thomas Handy and Mary E. Houseworth.
    • Bride: Harriet G. Emery, b. 1871 MI, daughter of Hiram A. Emery and Ernice N. Anderson.
    • Official: W.P. Miller, clergyman.
    • Witnesses: D. M. Shane and Wm. Jennison.

      1896 Directory, Bay City , Mich.

    • Handy, Thomas L (The Peninsula Planing Mill), bds Mrs. Seth Phelps.
    • McCluney, Handy & Cramer (Frank McCluney, Thomas L. Handy and John C. Cramer), proprs the Peninsula Planing Mill, s e cor Main and Jackson, 5h ward, West Bay City
    • Phelps, Fanny (wid Seth), res s w cor Chilson Ave and Morre, 3d ward, West Bay City.

      1900 Census: West Bay City, Mich.

    • Handy, Thomas L b. Feb., 1866 Illinois.
    • Harriet, spouse b. Oct., 1870 Mich.
    • Doretha, dau. - b. May, 1893, Mich.
    • Thomas, son b. Mar., 1896, Mich.
    • Albert H. E., son b. Apr., 1900 Mich.

      1906 - Annual Report, Michigan Bureau of Labor and Industrial Statistics.

    • Handy Mine. Thomas Handy, Manager -- This is a new mine, located between the Michigan Central Railroad and the Midland Rock Road, five miles from Bay City They have a good shaft, well timbered, depth 141 feet, thickness of the vein five feet. Superintendent, John McMullen.

      1909 Annual Report, Michigan Bureau of Labor and Industrial Statistics.

    • The Handy Bros. company owned two coal mines, one in Bay County and one in Tuscola County. Thomas L Handy was manager, and Charles Handy was underground manager.

      1910 Cenus: Bangor, Bay, Mich.

    • Handy, Thomas L. - age 44, b. IL
    • Harriet E., spouse age 39, b. MI
    • Dorothy, dau. - age 17, b. MI
    • Thomas L., son age 14, b. MI
    • Hiram E., son age 9, b. MI
    • Paul A., son age 4, b. MI
    • Emery, Eunice W., mother-in-law - age 62, b. Maine (widow)

      1916 Sons of the American Revolution Magazine, Vols. 11-13

    • Thomas Lincoln Handy, Jr., Bay City, Mich. (29749). Great-grandson of Richard Godfrey, Member of Taunton Committee of Safety, Major in Colonel Doty's Mass. Regt.

      1919 Michigan History Magazine, Vol. 3

    • Mrs. (Harriet E.) Thomas L. Handy, was third vice-president, of the first Board of the Bay County Historical Society. (She was also member of the Daughters of the American Revolution.)

      1922 The Lyre of Alpha Chi Oemga, Vol. XXVI.

    • Beta alumni sympathize with Alida Handy of Bay City in the loss of her brother, Thomas Handy, a prominent business man of that city, who died early in November.

    Viewer contributions:

    Dec. 31, 2011 - By Andrea Kolodzinski, descendant.

      1906 wedding of my g-grandparents Frederick Kramer Handy and Helen Jane Chesbrough.

      Names: (1) Hazel Wenthworth (2) Marie Cantor (3) Wm. J. Chesbrough (4) Grace Chesbrough (5) Helen Jane Chesbrough bride, daughter of Frank P. Chesbrough) (6) Agnes Chapman (7) Frederick K. Handy (groom, son of George W. Handy) (8) Merrel Coit (9) Alis Stone (10) Florine Handy (11) Anna Kramer Handy (12) Addie McCormick Chesbrough (wife of Frank Chesbrough) (13) Robert Rose (14) Frank P. Chesbrough (son of Alonzo) (15) George W. Handy (brother of Thomas Handy) (16) Sid Knox (17) Eugene Smith (18) Bronie Morgan.

      1940s wedding reception of my grandparents Frank P. Handy and Mildred Isabel Switzer.

      Names (left-right): Chesbrough (Cheb) Handy (son of Helen and Frederick Handy), Frederick Handy Jr. (brother), Unknown Huebner (wife of Robert Huebner); bride & grome - Mildred Isabel Switzer and Frank P. Handy (son of Fred and Helen Handy).
  • Related Pages/Notes

    Thomas L. Handy

    Related Pages
    Chesbrough, Alonzo
    McDonell, Archibald
    People Referenced
    Allerdice, John H.
    Anderson, Ernice N.
    Cramer, John C.
    Emery, Harriet (wife)
    Emery, Hiram A. (f-inlaw)
    Doty, Col.
    Godfrey, Richard
    Handy, Albert (son)
    Handy, Alida R. (sis)
    Handy, Charles W. (bro)
    Handy, Dorothy (dau)
    Handy, George W. (bro)
    Handy, Frank S. (bro)
    Handy, Hiram E. (son)
    Handy, Paul A. (son)
    Handy, Thomas (father)
    Handy, Thomas L. (subject)
    Handy, Thomas L. Jr (son)
    Houseworth, Mary E. (mother)
    Jennison, William
    Mccluney, Frank
    McDonnel, A. C.
    McMullen, John
    Miller, W.P.
    Phelps, Fanny Mrs.
    Phelps, Seth
    Shane, D.M.
    White, John (s-inlaw)
    Subjects Referenced
    Akron, MI
    Bangor Twp. Bay, MI
    Bay City, MI
    Bay Co., MI
    Bay Co. Constr. Co.
    Bay Co. Historical Soc.
    Caro, MI
    Decatur, IL
    Detroit, MI
    Handy Bros.
    Coal mining
    Detroit, BC, & P.Huron
    First M.E. Church
    Grand Trunk RR
    Huron & Western RR
    Independent Sugar Co.
    Macom Co., IL
    Marine City, MI
    Michigan Central RR
    Monitor Twp. Bay, MI
    Peninsula Planing Mill
    Pere Marquette RR
    Pontiac & Northern RR
    Port Huron, MI
    Port Huron & Southern RR
    Saginaw, MI
    T.L. Handy school
    Tuscola Co., MI
    Utica, NY
    West Bay City, MI
    Wilmot, MI
    Related Images
    Sketches in 1907

    Charles W. Handy bro.

    Frank Handy bro.

    George Handy bro.

    Wife, Anna Kramer

    Son, Frederick K. Handy with his wife Helen J. Chesbrough.
    WRITINGS: History As It Was Written Then.