Heritage \ Writings \

Mendel J. Bialy (1852-1948)
Political Biography.

1924 Political Bio. (Added Mar, 2005)

Michigan Biographies
Michigan Historical Commission - 1924 (Page 80)


Senator, 1895-6, from the Twenty-fourth District, counties of Arenac, Bay and Midland.
Was born in London, England, Feb. 18, 1852.
He attended the common schools of London until 1863
when he came with his parents to the United States, locating at Detroit, Mich.
Three years later he removed to Bay City where he made his home,
with the exception of three years’ absence, from 1870-3, when he was at Au Sable and Tawas.
Formerly he was engaged as accountant and clerk in mercantile trade,
and then engaged in the lumber manufacturing business,
being a member of the firm of Hitchcock & Bialy.
He was a member of the First Presbyterian church of Bay City,
of the Masonic fraternity and other secret orders.
In politics, a Republican.
He served his ward as Alderman,
and as President of the City Council.

1942: News article. (Contributed by Jim Petrimoulx, Apr., 2009)

The Bay City Times - February 18, 1942 (Page 4)

M. J. Bialy, Pioneer Manufacturer,
Feted by Club on His 90th Birthday.

Mendel J. Bialy, president and treasurer of the West Bay City Sugar Co., is pictured above receiving congratulations from Walter H. Graveline, acting president of the Orphan’s club in the absence of Oscar W. Baker Sr, who was unable to be present. The occasion was a birthday party given in his honor at the Republic hotel this noon by the Orphans.

Congratulations on his 90th birthday were offered today to Mendel J. Bialy, president and treasurer of the West Bay City Sugar Co., at a party at the Republic hotel this noon given in his honor by the Orphan’s club.

Dislikes Time Change

Known by many Bay Cityans as the man who gave the Elizabeth McDowell Bialy Memorial Nurses Home, few people are aware of the fact that he is still the active head of once one of the city’s most flourishing industries.

On the job at 8 o’clock every morning (and it might be said he refuses to set his clock ahead an hour to comply with the war time savings plan), Bialy still puts in a full day at the office five days a week returning home punctually at 5:30 o’clock in the afternoon.

“I still have the job of disposing of my sugar plant to take care of” he says “and when that is done I’ll be ready to retire. I want to find a buyer, however, who will operate it once again as I used to”

Born in London, England February 18, 1852, Bialy came to this country at the age of 12, where his family first settled in Detroit. Two years later they moved to Bay City where the young English boy was to receive the first of more than 30 years of experience in the lumbering business.

During his career while helping to make local history himself, he became the friend of many men famous in the annals of Michigan, most of whom have long since passed away.

He’ll Finish Job

“When I try to find out now what has become of my old friends” he remarks with a whimsical look on his face” all I have to do is go out to Elm Lawn or St. Patrick’s cemetery and look around for a while , and soon I find all their names.”

“That’s the trouble with living so long. You leave everyone else along the way, and soon you’re all alone.”

“I’ve been mighty fortunate in that respect in as much as I have had a job to do, and I have been blessed with good health necessary to keep going.”

“I’ll finish the job” he continues with determination “and when that’s taken care of I’ll be ready to go, and I’ll not be sorry.”

1922: West Bay City Sugar Company. (Added Apr., 2009)

Facts about sugar, by Domestic Sugar Producers, 1922

West Bay City Dividend.

Bay City, Mich., Dec. 26. -- A stock dividend of 400 per cent has been declared by the West Bay City Sugar Company, increasing its authorized capitalization from $200,000 to $1,000,000.

This is the first additional stock issue made since the company was organized twenty-five years ago, at which time a bond issue was put out to meet the cost of plant construction in excess of the $200,000 capital provided for. Since that time, the bonds have been retired and several hundred thousand dollars have been spent in improvements, all coming out of earnings, while some large dividends have also been paid. The new stock issue is being made to transfer assets representing plant investment, and carried as surplus, to the stock account. The stock of the company is practically all held by President M. J. Bialy and members of his family, the heirs of the late Charles J. Smith, and the heirs of the late John M. Kelton, all three of whom were among the original incorporators.

1949 obituary. (Contributed by Jim Petrimoulx - Apr., 2009)

The Bay City Times - Saturday November 27, 1948 (Page 1)

Mendel J. Bialy Dies after a Long Illness
Nurses Home Donor, Former Manufacturer Succumbs at 96

Mendel J. Bialy, the man who gave Bay City the Elizabeth McDowell Bialy Memorial Home for Nurses, died Friday evening at 9:45 o’clock at Mercy Hospital.

The 96 year-old Bay Cityan who had been prominent here for more than 70 years was hospitalized during the past 14 months.

Funeral arrangements are incomplete. The body is at the Vallender and Penzien funeral home.

Survivors include: a brother, A.D. Bialy of Bay City; and a sister, Mrs. Elizabeth Fry, of Richmond, Va.

Although he was better known as the donor of the nurse’s home, Mr. Bialy also will be remembered as the president and treasurer of what was once one of the city’s most flourishing industries-the West Bay City Sugar Co. Although the company suspended operations more than 10 years ago, Mr. Bialy for several years continued to report to work each morning at 8 o’clock until the property was disposed of.

Born in London, England, Feb. 18 1852, he came to this country in April 1863, and settled with his parents, Mr. and Mrs. Abraham Mendel Bialy, In Detroit. During the family’s two year residence there, before they moved to Bay City, Mr. Bialy’s father enlisted in the Civil War.

It was in Detroit, in the New Biddle House, that Mr. Bialy tried to sell a Detroit newspaper to President Abraham Lincoln. He used to recall that the President “looked down on me and said “No thank you”

When the Bialy family came to Bay City, then known as Portsmouth in 1866, son Mendel elected to remain in Detroit where he had an office job. In 1867 he rejoined his family, who had carved a home out of the wilderness at what is now the northeast corner of Twenty-eighth and Marsac streets.

Mr. Bialy’s first job in Bay City was firing a lime kiln for John Coryeon. The senior Bialy had timber interests on the AuSable River and young Mendel worked there from 1872 to 1873. He then returned to Bay City, where he worked as a bookkeeper at the Hitchcock & Ingraham sawmill, foot of Cass Avenue. He later bought an interest in the business and alternated between the company’s local office and its lumber camps at AuGres, Hale Lake and in the Upper Peninsula.

In later years Mr. Bialy enjoyed recalling logging days in conversations with his younger friends.

Mr. Bialy was once treasurer of the Village of Wenona, later alderman of the old seventh ward, taking a special interest in the police department. He was state senator from 1892 to 1894 and also served a term in the House of Representatives.

With his brother Robert, Frank Wheeler, S.O. Fisher, J.M. Kelton, P.C. and C. J. Smith, Mr. Bialy helped organize the West Bay City Sugar Co. in 1898-1899 with a capitalization of $200,000.

At that time the state of Michigan was paying a bounty of a cent a pound for the manufacture of beet sugar. He obtained controlling interest in the sugar company following the death of his brother in 1920 and was the last of the original stockholders. When the company suspended operations he was the president and treasurer.

Mr. Bialy nevertheless continued “to report to work” at his office six days a week - rain or shine, in spite of his advanced age. He could observe changing business trends with an eagle eye and was ever the alert “trader”.

He took pride in “paying cash on the barrel-head” for anything he bought and his persistence in “driving a bargain” was known and respected-throughout the industry.

Mr. Bialy personally participated in negotiations which in April, 1943 resulted in the sale of the sugar company’s buildings and real estate to the Dow Chemical Co. He reserved the right to use his office on the company property until his sugar refining machinery could be sold.

Mr. Bialy married the former Miss Elizabeth McDowell, of Bay City, Nov. 28, 1877. She died in November 1924. They had no children. He built and gave to Mercy Hospital, in memory of his wife, the nurses home. In other ways, too, he was perhaps the hospital’s greatest single benefactor. He also erected a lodge building for the IOOF at Thirty-second and Broadway.

A member of the Oddfellows for approximately 65 years belonging to Valley Lodge, he was a 32nd degree Mason, life member of the Joppa Lodge 315, F. &. A. M. Bay City Chapter 59, R.A.M. Bay City Commandery Knights Templar 26 and an emeritus member of the Bay City Consistory. He was the oldest member of the Chamber of Commerce and was affiliated with the First Presbyterian Church. He was also a member of Lulu Temple of the Shrine and Hanany Corinthian Commandery 53, both of Philadelphia, Pa.

Of its original compliment of 75 men, Mr. Bialy was the “last man” of the Bay City Peninsulars organized in 1872.

With his wife and mother he revisited his native England in 1890 and with his wife he sailed to the Hawaiian Islands in 1916.

1948: Funeral. (Contributed by Jim Petrimoulx - Apr., 2009)

The Bay City Times - Monday, November 29, 1948 (Page 3)

Rites Are Held for M. J. Baily
Knights Templar Service Conducted

Rites for Mendel J. Bialy, 96 year-old prominent Bay Cityan who died Friday, were conducted at the First Presbyterian church this afternoon under the auspices of Knights Templar 26.

A Bay City Commandary guard of honor acted as pallbearers and burial was in Elm Lawn cemetery. Dr. Frederick A Roblee officated.

The body lay in state at the church being removed from the Vallender and Penzien furneral home.

London-born Mr. Baily is remembered as donor of the Elizabeth McDowell Memorial Home for Nurses. He was president and treasurer of the West Bay City Sugar Co. until it suspended operations. He had live in Bay City for more than 70 years.

Additional notes:

  • 1880 Census: Bialy a bookeeper, mother's name was Lowaritia, born in England; and his wife's name was Elizabeth, born in Canada.
  • Nov. 28, 1877 -- Marriage of Mendal J. Bialy, age 25, of Bay City, born in England, mill laborer, to Elizabeth McDonall, age 28, Bay City, born in Canada. Pastor W. A. Wight, First Presbyterian Church, witnesses were Mrs. Mary J. Chvon (?) and J. W. McDonald. (Source: Rootsweb Mailing List, Bay Co., Marriages, Feb. 8, 1997.)
Related Pages/Notes

Mendel J. Bialy

West Bay City Sugar Co.

The West Bay City Sugar Co. opened in 1900 along the west side bank of the Saginaw River just east of the Independence Bridge.
Related Pages:
None at this time.
People Referenced
{Link} to Heritage Page
{Baker, Oscar W.}
Bialy, A. D. (bro.)
Bialy, Abraham M. (father)
Bialy, Mendel J. (subject)
Bialy, Robert (bro.)
Chvon, Mary J. Mrs.
Coryeon, John
{Fisher, S.O.}
Fry, Elizabeth Mrs. (sister)
Graveline, Walter H.
Kelton, John M.
Lincoln, Abraham Pres.
McDonald, J. W.
McDowell, Elizabeth (wife)
-- aka: McDonall
Roblee, Frederick
Smith, Charles J.
{Wheeler, Frank}
{Wight, W.A. Rev.}
Subjects Referenced
Arenac County, MI
Augres, MI
AuSable, MI
AuSable river
Bay City, MI
Bay City Peninsulars
Bay County, MI
City Council
Detroit, MI
Dow Chemical Co.
Elm Lawn cemetery
First Presbyterian Church
Hale Lake, MI
Hitchcock & Bialy mill
Hitchcock & Ingrahma mill
London, England
Lumber manufacturing
Masonic fraternity
Merchantile business
Mercy Hospital
MI Senator
MI Representative
Midland County
Orphan's club
Portsmouth, MI
Republic Hotel
St. Patrick's cemetery
Senator (24th Dist. US Congress)
Tawas, MI
Vallender-Penzien Funeral Home
Wenona Village, MI
West Bay City Sugar Co.
Internet References
None at this time.
WRITINGS: History As It Was Written Then.