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Edwin Park (1822-)
Historical Biographies.

History of Saginaw and Bay Counties, Michigan - 1892


There is no resident of Saginaw Valley who is more highly esteemed than this gentleman, who since 1847 has made his home in Bay City, and therefore justly merits the honored name of pioneer. When he came here there were neither railroads, nor wagon roads, and many a time has he walked the entire distance from Bay City to Flint, or to his fisheries at Au Sable. Although he has met with misfortunes in his business adventures, his sawmills having been burned to the ground on three different occasions, he has retrieve his losses to a considerable extent and now possess sufficient of this world's goods to enable him to pass his declining years in comfort.

The family of which Mr. Park is a member traces its ancestry to England. His father, William, was born in Massachusetts and was an early settler of Tioga County, N. Y., where he engaged in farming operations. A devoted adherent of our Government, he served as a soldier in the War of 1812. In 1824 he located in Ithaca, N. Y., where he died two years later of consumption, being at that time only thirty-fives years old. The mother of our subject, whose maiden name was Bernice Whiting, and who was born in Massachusetts, was a daughter of William Whiting, a farmer in the old Bay State, whence he emigrated to New York. Upon the mother, who was a lady of great refinement, and splendid information, devolved the care of the seven children comprising her family. She was twice married after the death of Mr. Park and spent her last years in Tioga County, N. Y., where she was tenderly cared for by our subject.

The only surviving member of the family Edwin Park, was born November 5, 1822, in Speedsville, N.Y. He was a mere child when he was orphaned by his father's death, after which sad event he was taken into the home of a Mr. Williams, of Tioga County, and there remained for several years, assisting in farming operations. When he was sixteen his benefactor died and he managed the farm for one year, after which he worked out until the fall of 1842. At that early date in the history of this State Mr. Parks came hither, stopping first in Detroit and thence successively visiting Chicago, Ottawa, Buffalo and Pontiac, where he secured employment on farms. In the spring of 1846 he came to Thunder Bay Island, where for one year he engaged in fishing, and then, in 1847, located in Bay City.

Forming a partnership with C. Munger in the fishing business on Thunder Bay, Mr. Park was thus engaged until the fall of 1848, when he established a store on Water Street, between Fourth and Fifth Streets. The store which he built was a frame structure with good docks, and was well supplied with a full line of general merchandise. He made a specialty of buying and selling fish, which he shipped to various points in the East. During the early part of 1852 he went to Lake Superior in a sail boat for the purpose of trying the fishing, and landing at Eagle Harbor, continued there until June of the same year, when he sojourned on Isle Royal for a few months. In 1854 A. Munger was taken into the firm, which continued successfully in business until 1860 when Mr. Park sold his store and for a twelvemonth was landlord of the Wolverton Hotel.

Later Mr. Park, together with Mr. Munger, operated a farm, and in 1862 the former gentleman embarked in business as a tug and vessel man, continuing thus engaged for six years. He owned at one time three tugs and barges, which he later sold in order to engage in the lumber business at Hatton. He first purchased a mill and later built a sawmill, which unfortunately burned down in less than one year after its erection. Nor was this his only loss, for one year later his shingle mill was destroyed by fire and January 1, 1891, a mill which he had fitted up with first-class machinery also burned to the ground. Managing with continued heavy losses by fire, he ceased operation in the lumber business in 1891, and is now retired from the duties which formerly engaged his entire attention.

Besides considerable wild land which Mr. Park owns, he also holds some real estate in Bay City and owns a beautiful residence on the corner of Fourth and Adam Streets. This dwelling, which he erected in 1855, he still occupies, and it has been his home since a short time after his marriage. His wedded life, which began August 11, 1852, by his marriage to Miss Theresa Wells, is of great happiness. Mrs. Park is the daughter of William and and Persis (Dunham) Wells, natives of the Empire State, where their daughter was also born. Three children came to bless the union of Mr. And Mrs. Park William, who died at the age of twenty years; Bernice, who remains at home with her father; and Jennie, the wife of David Hurst, train master on the Michigan Central Road in Bay City.

While his private affairs have engaged Mr. Park's attention very closely, he has never refused his aid to public enterprises for the welfare of the city. He has always voted the Democratic ticket and is a devoted adherent to the principles of that party. He has served as Alderman of the Second Ward for three terms and filled other positions of responsibility. He is a member of the Royal Arcanum and the Order of Chosen Friends, and socially is a most agreeable companion and entertaining conversationalist.

Additional Notes:

  • 1848 - Edwin Park and Curtis Munger came to Lower Saginaw in 1848, as coopers and carried on that business successfully sometime, furnishing fish barrels to the fishermen. During the winter their shop, tools and clothing were all lost by fire, but that did not discourage them. The got new tools and went on, and commenced fishing in the spring, made money, and afterwards engaged in mercantile pursuits, and are known among the business men of the city." [Collections of Michigan Pioneer Society - 1881]
  • 1867 - Bay City Directory Edwin is listed as partner with C. McDowell, in the liquor dealer business, Third st., near bridge.
  • 1880 Census, Bay City: Edwin Park; wife Theresa; children: Jennie Hurst and Bernice.
Related Pages/Notes

Related Pages:
Munger, Curtiss
Park & Munger Co.
People Referenced

Dunahm, Persis
Hurst, David
Park, Bernice (dau.)
Park, Edwin (subject)
Park, Jennie (dau.)
Park, William (father)
Park, William (son)
McDowell, C.
Munger, A.
Munger, Curtis
Wells, Theresa (wife)
Wells, William
Whiting, Bernice (mother)
Subjects Referenced
Au Sable, MI
Au Sable River, MI
Bay city, MI
Battle Creek, MI
Buffalo, NY
Chicago, IL
Eagle Harbor, MI
Isle Royal, MI
Lake Superior, MI
Lower Saginaw, MI
Michigan Central RR
Ottawa, Canada
Pontiac, MI
Saginaw Valley, MI
Speedsville, NY
Thunder Bay, MI
Tioga Co., NY
War of 1812
Wolverton House
WRITINGS: History As It Was Written Then.