8 Biography: Algernon S. Munger (1821-1899) / BAY-journal

Heritage \ Writings \

Algernon Sidney Munger (1821-1899)
Native of Bergen, N.Y., mayor of Bay City, prominent business man.

Biography. - Added June, 2011.

Cyclopedia of Michigan: Historical and Biographical - 1890


of Bay City, was born in Bergen, Genesee County, New York, March 1, 1821. Both his parents were natives of Connecticut, and that they were of original Puritan stock is apparent from their names, which were, respectively, Jesse and Huldah. The father had removed from Guilford, Connecticut, to the farm in New York, where Algenon was born about the year 1806, and was thus one of the pioneer farmers of Western New York, as his son subsequently became one of the pioneers of Michigan. Algenon was the youngest of a family of eight, six of whom (four brothers and two sisters) lived to grow up, and one brother and one sister are still living. His mother died when he was only two years of age, and four years later his father married Miss Prudence Brandt, who died when Algenon was ten years old. The step-mother proved as step-mothers often do, notwithstanding the popular impression to the contrary a genuine mother to the children; and, although they were soon bereft of a mother's care for the second time, Mr. Munger still refers to the only mother whom he ever knew, with words of filial affection. As is true of so many men now prominent in Michigan, Mr. Munger was throw upon his own resources at a very early age.

His father having lost his property, the son, when only ten year old, started out to earn his own living, working at first for four dollars a month, and attending school during the winter. The age of fifteen finds him at work on the Tonawanda Railroad, the first road built west of Rochester. It seems like a dream, in these days of palace cars, running at sixty miles an hour, to look back to that day, and to recall the fact that the first cars on the Tonawanda Road were hauled by horses instead of locomotive. In his seventeenth year we find our lad learning the cooper's trade which really brought him to Michigan. Coming into Oakland County in his eighteenth year, he traveled from town to town, working at his trade and saving a little money, until in his nineteenth year he opened a shop of his own in the town of Franklin. Here he was joined by his brother Curtis, and, better still, by a wife whom he took to himself at the early age of twenty Miss Adeline Crego, daughter of Rulef Crego, a Cass County farmer. The wedding took place October 15, 1841.

Three years ended his life as a cooper, and the two following years were spent o a farm at Adrian, from which he removed to a farm he had purchased in Cass County, where he remained for the next five years. There his young wife died, and unable to endure the place which continually awakened painful memories, he left the farm and went to Elkhart, Indiana, were he opened a grocery-store and built up an excellent business. Selling out in 1854, he came again to Michigan, and wth his brother Curtis opened a general store at what was then known as Lower Saginaw, now Bay City. For twenty years, Mr. Munger's chief energies were devoted to this business. Beginning in a small way, at the end of ten years' time it was the boast of the brothers that a customer at their store could not ask for anything that they were unable to furnish.

In politics, Mr. Munger is a Democrat, though not a strong partisan. He has never been an office seeker, but has been literally pushed into office by the people, as the one best qualified to fill it. In 1862 he was elected to the Board of Trustees, in order to assist in breaking up a ring which had obtained control of Bay County. The same year he was chosen county treasurer, an office which he filled for six years with credit to himself and benefit to the county. In 1871 he was elected mayor of Bay City, against a strong opponent. But the filling of public office and his legitimate work as a merchant represent only a small part of the good which Mr. Munger has done to the community in which the prime years of his life have been spent.

A large part of Bay County, as is well known, is only a few feet above the waters of Saginaw Bay, and the county contains vast tracts of swamp-land. Mr. Munger has been intimately associated with schemes for the drainage of these lands, and has succeeded in redeeming thousands of acres from their swampy condition and rendering them fit for tillage. He has thus accomplished much more than the traditional feat of the typical man who makes two blades of grass grow where one only grew before. In addition to this beneficent work he has also built some of the substantial business blocks in Bay City. In fact, so extensive did his real estate transactions become that his mercantile business had to be abandoned. In 1864 it had already been changed from a general store to a dry-goods business, and in 1874 the brothers disposed o this also; and, being already largely interested in lands in Bay and other counties, opened a real estate office. It is doubtful if the people of Bay City really appreciate their indebtedness to Mr. Munger for te position their city now occupies as a business center.

After the Flint and Pere Maquette Railroad reached East Saginaw, the live men of Bay City saw at once the necessity of extending a line to this point. But the road was controlled practically by inhabitants of the rival city of East Saginaw, and they were naturally averse to extending it to Bay City. In this emergency a company of the business men of Bay City was organized to build a railroad to East Saginaw. The Company was able to control only a limited amount of capital, and the road, running mainly through swamps, would be a difficult one to build. Mr. Munger was chosen by the Company as the man best fitted to contend with the difficulties before them. Appointed superintendent of construction, by his good judgment in selecting a route, and his indomitable energy ad perseverance amid the most discouraging circumstances, the road-bed was successfully built and graded, and the Flint and Pere Marquette Company were thus forced to carry their work to completion. But for the efforts of Mr. Munger, the building of this road to Bay City might have been long delayed. An elegant gold watch, highly prized by Mr. Munger, was presented to him as a token of their appreciation of his work,by those whom he had so faithfully served.

Mr. Munger has been esteemed as an energetic and public-spirited man, of the most perfect integrity. He is now residing on a farm at Munger's Station, near Bay City, and in the evening of life is enjoying each day as fully as when as when more actively employed. In his sixty-ninth year he does not feel old, neither does he seem old. His first wife died in 1850, leaving two daughters Laura A., wife of the Hon. George P. Cobb, of Bay City, and Harriet C., wife of Julius Benedict, of Adrian. In 1853 he married Miss Susan Strong, of St. Joseph County. She died in 1887. A busy, useful and honorable life, will be the final verdict pronounced upon Mr. Algernon S. Munger.

Death of wife, Susan. - Added June, 2011.

Michigan Historical Collections, Michigan Historical Society, 1888


Susan J. Munger died on the 7th of May, 1887, at her home in Bay City. She was born in Monroe county, New York, August 13, 1828. She was married to Algernon S. Munger in St. Joseph county, Michigan, in 1853. Mr. and Mrs. Munger emigrated to Lower Saginaw, now Bay City, in 1854. She had only one child, a boy, who died in childhood. Mrs. Munger was a lady much respected by all who knew her.

Additional Notes.

    1850 Census: Newburg, Cass, Mich.

  • Munger, Algenon b. 1821, New York.
  • Adeline, wife. - b. 1822, New York
  • Harriet S., dau. - b 1843, Mich.
  • Laura, dau. - b. 1848, Mich.

    1860 Census: Brighton, Livingston, Mich.

  • Munger, A. N. - b. 1820, New York.

    1870 - Census: Bay City, Bay, Mich.

  • Munger, Algenon b. 1821, New York.
  • Susan, wife b. 1827, New York.
  • Laura, dau. - b. 1849, Mich.

    1880 Census, Bay City, MI:

  • Munger, Algernon S. - born 1822, New York, real estate owner
  • Susan J, wife - b. 1828, New York.

    1883 Directory: Bay City, Mich.

  • Munger, Algernon S. (C & A S Munger), res 1009 Monroe.
  • Munger Block s s Center bet Saginaw and Washington.
  • Munger, Curtis (C & A S Munger), res 1020 Madison.
  • Munger C & A S (Curtis and Algernon S) real estate, room 5 Munger Block.

    1890 Michigan Marriages: Bay City, Bay, Mich.

  • Date: Mar. 12, 1890.
  • Groom: Algernon S. Munger, farmer, b. 1821, New York, son of Jesse and Ahulda Munger.
  • Bride: Annie E. Funnell Tulett, seamstress, b. 1859, England, daughter of John Tulett and Mary Ann Woods.
  • Official: Bust Ester Howard, pastor Pres. Church.
  • Witnesses: Frank E. Woods and Edwin H. Bassett, both of Bay City.

    1895 Michigan Marriages: Bay City, Bay, Michigan.

  • Date: Oct. 16, 1895.
  • Groom: A. S. Munger, of Merritt Twp., b. 1822, New York, son of Jesse and Hulda Munger.
  • Bride: S. L. Deforest, of Bay City, b. 1840, New York, daughter of Clark and unknown.
  • Official: C. J. Patchel, clergyman.
  • Witnesses: G. A. Cobb and Ethel Deforest, both of Bay Cty.

    1905 History of Bay County, Michigan Gansser (Page 437)

  • Page 123: Algernon was a Bay City assessor in 1859.
  • Page 127: Algernon was mayor of Bay City in 1870.
  • Page 145: Munger township was named in honor of Curtis and Algernon Munger, both were long-time merchants in Bay City.
  • Page 221: Algernon and his brother, Curtis, were partners in the Bay City Salt Company formed on May 18, 1860.
  • Page 392: Laura, daughter of Algernon and Susan, married Judge George P. Cobb, on November 1, 1871
  • Page 437: Algernon's sister Huldah, born Oct. 20, 1810, in Conn., married Stephen Blodgett.

    Genealogy: Children of Jesse and Rebecca Munger:

  • Alanson - who was early settler in Genesee Co., Mich., where is supposedly died.
  • Horace - born about 1814, Bergen, N.Y.
  • Huldah - none
  • Olive none
  • Curtis born 1820, Bergen, N.Y., died Feb. 5, 1891, Clio, Genesee Co., Mich.; married Juliet Warner. No children.
  • Algernon S. - born Mar. 1, 1822, Bergen, N.Y.; died April 26, 1899, Munger, Bay Co., Mich.
Related Pages/Notes

Related Pages:
Munger, Curtis Bro
Munger, Merritt Twp.
Park & Munger Co.
People Referenced
Bassett, Edwin H.
Benedick, Julius (s-inlaw)
Brandt, Prudence (s-mother)
Cobb, Geo. B. (s-inlaw)
Crego, Adeline (1-wife)
Crego, Rulef
Clark, S.L. (4-wife)
Deforest, Ethel
Howard, Bust E. (pastor)
Munger, Alanson (bro)
Munger, Algernon S. (subject)
Munger, Alanson (bro)
Munger, Curtis (bro)
Munger, Harriet C. (dau)
Munger, Horace (bro)
Munger, Hulda (sis)
Munger, Jesse (father)
Munger, Laura A (dau)
Munger, Olive (sis)
Munger, Rebecca (mother)
Patchel, C.J. (pastor)
Strong, Susan J. (2-wife)
Tulett, Annie E. (3-wife)
Tulett, John (inlaw)
Warner, Juliet
Woods, Frank E.
Woods, Mary (inlaw)
Subjects Referenced
Adrian, MI
Bay City, Bay Co., MI
Bay City mayor
Bergen, Genesee Co., NY
Brighton, MI
Cass County, MI
Clio, Genesee, MI
Detroit, MI
East Saginaw, MI
Elkhart, IN
Flint Pere Marqutte RR
Franklin, MI
Guilford, CT
Livingston County. MI
Lower Saginaw, MI
Monroe County, NY
Munger block
Munger & Co.
Munger Station, MI
Oakland Co., MI
Rochester, NY
St. Joseph Co., MI
Saginaw Bay
Tonawanda Railroad
WRITINGS: History As It Was Written Then.