Heritage \ Writings \

James M. Trombley (1841-?)
Historical biography.
  • Transcribed November 2007.
  • Portrait and Biographical Record of Saginaw and Bay Counties, Michigan.
    Portrait Publishing Co., Chicago (1892)



    Those who now reside in Bay City and enjoy its splendid advantages are greatly indebted to the pioneers who braved dangers from an unknown foe and hewed the path for the coming civilization. Few of those early settlers now remain to relate the story of their adventures, but their memory is revered in the hearts of their descendants to who they have bequeathed the priceless legacy of their integrity and courage. There are those, however, who still survive and whose earliest years were passed in the Saginaw Valley amid scenes at once wild and fascinating, and of that goodly company none enjoy to fuller extent the respect of their fellow-citizens than the gentleman with whose name we introduce this sketch.

    The distinction belongs to Mr. Trombley of being one of the oldest surviving resident settlers of Banks. He is the second in a family of five living children born to Joseph and Sophia Trombley; his brothers David, Theodore and Joseph M. are represented by sketches elsewhere in this volume, as is also his father, who was one of the earliest settlers of Bay City. Our subject was born in the Old Center House, on the corner of Twenty-fourth and Water Streets, Bay City, February 25, 1841. At the age of six years he was taken by his parents to Banks where he was reared amid primitive surroundings. The country around was sparsely settled by white people, while Indians were numerous and wild animals abounded in the dense forests.

    As might naturally be supposed the school advantages offered our subject were very meager, and from his childhood he was compelled to work for himself. He found employment on a farm during the summer seasons and at the age of thirteen began fishing for his father. He remained at home he was twenty-two when he commenced to fish in partnership with his father at East Saginaw. He was married in Banks to Miss Mary Millikin, a native of Canada, and their family was gradually increased by the birth of seven children, as follows: Viola and Frances, both deceased; David, Prellia, James, George and Burt. The family residence is an attractive one, and is located on the corner of Sophia and Elm Streets in West Bay City.

    Mr. Trombley built the sailboat “Orphaned Boy,” thirty-five feet, with a capacity of seven tons, and later began in business as a butcher, conducting a shop for ten years. His success would have been greater in that business had he not through his generous disposition given credit to such an extent that the profits of the business were destroyed. He continued fishing for about thirty years, but in 1887 entered into business as a flour and feed and produce merchant. His business establishment is located on the corner of Sophia and Washington Streets, and through the exercise of sound common sense he bids fair to attain to prosperity if not wealth. He sold his boat in 1890, and has transferred his interest entirely to the land.

    A man of fine mental endowments and a clear intellect, Mr. Trombley is a pleasant companions and possesses unusual colloquial powers. He speaks French and understands some of the Indian dialects which he was accustomed to hear in boyhood. Many years ago when game was plentiful he obtained considerable local fame as an unerring shot and the family larder was constantly supplied with the finest game. Public affairs engage very little of his attention, but he believes the principles of the Republican party will best subserve the interests of the Government and accordingly cast his ballot to the candidate of that party.

    Related Pages/Notes

    Trombley, Adeliine(sister)
    Trombley, David (bro.)
    Trombley, Joseph (father)
    Trombley, Joseph M.(bro.)
    Trombley, Sarah (mother)
    Trombley, Theodore (bro.)
    Trombley Genealogy
    People Referenced
    Milliken, Mary Miss
    Trombley, Burt
    Trombley, David
    Trombley, David (son)
    Trombley, Frances
    Trombley, George
    Trombley, James
    Trombley, Joseph
    Trombley, Jospeh M.
    Trombley, Prellia
    Trombley, Sophia Mrs.
    Trombley, Theodore
    Trombley, Viola
    Subjects Referenced
    Banks (village), MI
    Bay City, MI
    Saginaw Valley
    West Bay City, MI
    WRITINGS: History As It Was Written Then.