Heritage \ Writings \

John L. Trombley (1846-?)
Historical biography.
  • Transcribed November 2007.
  • Portrait and Biographical Record of Saginaw and Bay Counties, Michigan.
    Portrait Publishing Co., Chicago (1892)


    We are pleased to be able to give a sketch of this progressive business man of South Bay City, who has resided in this city since 1858 and now belongs to the firm of Hawkins & Trombley, grocers. He is a man of more than ordinary intelligence and geniality and one whose hand is ever ready to help his neighbor and promote all movements for the prosperity of the community. He was born at Mt. Clemens, this State, February 11, 1846, and his father, Daniel Trombley, was born in Macomb County and is the son of Daniel, who came from France and located five miles west of Romeo, in what is called the Trombley Mountain. He was the first white man who ever saw it as far as records show, and he there settled and improved a farm at its foot. He died when on a visit to Saginaw and was buried there.

    The father of our subject was reared upon the frontier and had the Indians for playfellows. He was quite a huntsman and was considered the best shot in the vicinity. He spoke not only the French and English language but that of the Chippawa tribe. While still in the neighborhood of Mt. Clemens he was united in marriage with Mary, daughter of Seth Benjamin, who was an early settler in Macomb County.

    Mr. Trombley engaged in a meat market at Mt. Clemens in 1851, and in the following year went to Romeo and established a hotel and afterward carried on the same business at Shelby’ Corners and at Almont. Before coming to Bay City he devoted some time to farming and in 1858 established his meat market here and soon added to it a grocery business. After that establishment was destroyed by fire he retired from active life and died in 1876 at the age of sixty-one. His bereaved companion still resides at No. 1504 Twelfth Street and five of her seven children are living.

    Daniel Trombley, one of the brothers of our subject enlisted in 1861 in Company A, Fourteenth Michigan Regiment, and served until the close of the war. His imprisonment of thirty days at Libby Prison and fifteen days at Andersonville was mercifully shortened by the cessation of hostilities, and another brother, Benjamin S., enlisted in 1863 in the Twenty-ninth Michigan Infantry and also served until the close of the war. Both brothers became Sergeants. The former is now deceased, having died in 1879; the second has his home in Bay City.

    The early life of our subject was passed in Macomb County, and he was twelve years old when he came to Bay City. After he was sixteen years old he went to school only during the winters and in summers was employed in Peter’s mill where he was engaged for eighteen years, beginning at the edging table and having charge successfully of the boom and gang saw, and while he had charge of the boom the mill was never out of logs. In 1879 he closed his connection with the mill and started in the grocery business on Washington Street and in 1880 came to South Bay City and went into partnership with J. E. & Hiram Hawkins. The former remained in the firm for only a short time but the latter is still in partnership with our subject and they have the largest establishment for the sale of groceries and produce and occupy a double store on the corner of Fortieth and Harrison Streets.

    The marriage of Mr. Trombley with Miss Jennie, daughter of J. W. Hawkins, of Bay City, took place in 1869 and their residence in on the corner of Thirty-sixth and Ingham Streets. Their eldest son, John, is now a telegraph operator. Allie and Etta are deceased and Minnie and Alta are still at home. Mr. Trombley was a School Director for two terms and has been an active member of the Odd Fellows order since 1875 and is now connected with the Ancient Order of United Workmen. In national affairs he votes the Democratic ticket but is not radical in his political views.

    Related Pages/Notes

    Trombley Genealogy
    People Referenced
    Hawkins, J.W.
    Hawkins, Jennie (spouse)
    Trombley, Allie (dau.)
    Trombley, Alta (dau.)
    Trombley, Benjamin S. (bro.)
    Trombley, Daniel (bro.)
    Trombley, Daniel (father)
    Trombley, Etta (dau.)
    Trombley, John (son)
    Trombley, Minnie (dau.)
    Subjects Referenced
    14th MI Reg., Co. A
    29th MI Inf.
    Almont, MI
    Bay City, MI
    Chippewa tribe
    Hawkins & Trombley, grocers
    J.E. & Hiram Hawkins
    Macomb Co., MI
    Mt. Clemens, MI
    Peters mill
    Prison, Andersonville
    Prison, Libby
    Romeo, MI
    Saginaw, MI
    Shelby's Corners, MI
    South Bay City, MI
    Trombley Mountain
    WRITINGS: History As It Was Written Then.