Heritage \ Writings \

Joseph M. Trombley (1839-?)
Historical biography.
  • Transcribed November 2007.
  • Portrait and Biographical Record of Saginaw and Bay Counties, Michigan.
    Portrait Publishing Co., Chicago (1892)


    Joseph M. Trombley, wholesale and retail dealer in fish, is justly proud of the fact that he is the oldest survivor among the native-born citizens of Bay County. He was born in the old Centre House, which was the first frame building ever erected in Bay County and was located at the corner of Water and 24th Streets, in what is now Bay City. The date of his birth was January 8, 1839, and a sketch of his father, Joseph, is presented on another page. He removed to what was then known as Bangor, but is now the first ward of West Bay City, and here he has spent almost his entire life. After coming to West Bay City he attended school during the winter seasons until he was eigthteen and to reach the “temple of learning” he was compelled to cross the river on the ice.

    During the summer season Mr. Trombley was employed on farms until he was fourteen and then he began fishing on the boat “Eagle.” At the age of twenty-one his father gave him the boat and an outfit, and he began to fish on his own account. Two years later he sold the “Eagle” and bought the “Nimrod” in which he sailed for four seasons and met with considerable success. In 1873, in connection with his brother, David, he built the “Morning Star” and the two fished in partnership until 1889 when our subject purchased David’s interest and is now sole owner. The vessel has a capacity of eight tons. On December 5, 1890, Mr. Trombley commenced in the wholesale and retail fish business on water lots No. 1, 2, 3 and 4, in Banks, where he has a substantial ice-house with docks. He buys and sells fish, and ships East, South and West.

    The elegant residence which Mr. Trombley now occupies was erected by him in 1872 and is located on the corner of Elm and Sophia Street. Besides that property, he owns other real estate in the city. He was married in 1863, at Banks, to Miss Nancy Beebe, who was born in Owosso, Mich., and dying left one son, Theodore, now engage as a fisherman. On February 22, 1868, Mr. Trombley was united in marriage with Miss Susan Bennett, the daughter of Capt. John Bennett, a native of Queens County, Ireland. Her grandfather, Andrew, brought his family from Ireland to Canada and improved a farm in Prescott, where he died. John Bennett was fourteen years old when he accompanied his father to America and was a sailor from his boyhood. While still young he became a master and sailed on the lakes for more than twenty years. He also owned a farm near Prescott, whence he removed to Corunna and retired from active life with a competency. His death occurred in 1871 at the age of seventy-one years and six months. During the Canadian Rebellion he served as a McKenzie man and was a picket guard.

    Mrs. Trombley’s mother was known in maidenhood as Mary Tierney and was born in Monahan, Ireland, whence she emigrated at the age of eighteen years to New York, and six years later came to Michigan. Mrs. Trombley was next to the youngest among ten children, and was born in Prescott, where she remained until nine years old. From that place she accompanied her parents to Corunna and in 1867 came to Bay City to make her home with a sister. Of the union of Mr. and Mrs. Trombley eight children have been born, namely: Mary, Mrs Bush, of Banks; Henry, whose home is in Cheboygan; Kate, who died at the age of three years; Leoand Casper, who died in infancy; Blanche, Reuben B. and Irene, who are still under the parental roof.

    It is with pleasure that Mr. Trombley recalls incidents of pioneer days and these he relates with evident interest and animation. He remembers when there were only four buildings in Bay City and recalls the erection of the first brick structure in 1863. During the early days Indians were his frequent companions and he learned to speak the Chippewa language with fluency. He was a personal friend of the renowned Nock Chickamee, Chief of the Tawas, with whom he used to work. In his political sentiments he is allied with the Republican party and never neglects an opportunity to cast his ballot for the promulgation of its principles. He and his family are devoted members of the St. Mary’s Catholic Church, and occupy a prominent position in society.

    Related Pages/Notes

    Trombley, Adeliine(sister)
    Trombley, David (bro.)
    Trombley, James M.(bro.)
    Trombley, Joseph (father)
    Trombley, Sarah (mother)
    Trombley, Theodore (bro.)
    Trombley Genealogy
    People Referenced
    Beebe, Nancy (1st wife)
    Bennett, Andrew
    Bennett, John Capt.
    Bennett, Susan (2nd wife)
    Bush, Mrs.
    Chickamee, Nock Chief
    Tierney, Mary
    Trombley, Blanche (dau.)
    Trombley, David (bro.)
    Trombley, Casper (son)
    Trombley, Henry (son)
    Trombley, Irene (dau.)
    Trombley, Joseph (father)
    Trombley, Kate (dau.)
    Trombley, Leo (son)
    Trombley, Mary (dau.)
    Trombley, Reuben B. (son)
    Trombley, Theodore (son)
    Subjects Referenced
    Banks (village), MI Bangor (aka Banks), MI
    Bay City, MI
    Bay Co., MI
    Candian Rebellion
    Cheboygan, MI
    Corunna, Canada
    McKenzie man
    Monahan, Ireland
    New York
    Owosso, MI
    Prescott, Canada
    Queens Co., Ireland
    St. Mary's Catholic Ch.
    West Bay City, MI
    WRITINGS: History As It Was Written Then.