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Alexander Zagelmeyer (1858-1914)
Native of Saginaw, and prominent business man of West Bay City, MI.

1905 biography. (Added Mar., 2009)

The History of Bay County, Michigan, by Augustus H. Gansser, 1905


Hon. Alexander Zagelmeyer, a prominent citizen of Bay City, Michigan, is at present county treasurer of Bay County. He was born in Saginaw, Michigan, October 28, 1858, and is a son of Louis and Paulina (Grahlow) Zagelmeyer, natives of Germany.

Louis Zagelmeyer, who was born in Germany, January 31, 1825, was for many years engaged in the lime business. He came to America in 1850 and settled in Saginaw, Michigan in 1852, having spent two years in New York City. On arriving at Saginaw, he was employed as clerk in a store, where he remained a year and a half. He then engaged in the manufacturer of vinegar, and subsequently cleared a farm. In 1866 he located at West Bay City and opened a lime kiln, and in 1875 organized the Marine Ice Company, which afterward passed into the hands of his son. He was treasure of the town of Bangor the year previous to its being merged into the corporation of West Bay City. During his last years he lived a retired life, dying June 15, 1898, at the age of 73 years.

Alexander Zagelmeyer received his early mental training in the public schools of West Bay City, and when a young man learned from his father all about the lime business. In this he was associated with his father until 1879, and during the last three years of the partnership the large ice concern before mentioned was organized. Of this he took charge, in connection with his brother Frank. In the spring of 1887, the Bay County Ice Company was incorporated, being a merger of the Marine Ice Company, the Bay City Ice Company and the Union Ice Company, and our subject as secretary and treasurer of the company proceeded to revolutionize the methods of operation then in vogue. It is the only concern> dealing in lake ice in the Saginaw Valley, and has the largest ice plant in the State, having a capacity of 40,000 tons. Its product is in demand both winter and summer, and is shipped extensively to points in Michigan, Indiana and Ohio. The Bay County Ice Company has its office, ice depot and barn at the foot of Center avenue, Bay City.

Alexander Zagelmeyer has been truly termed the father of the coal industry in Bay County. What the development of coal fields means to a community has been demonstrated in Bay City in recent years. Not only is the coal industry of great value by reason of the employment it gives to hundreds of men and the cheap fuel furnished the citizens, but also as an inducement to factories to locate in the vicinity and benefit by the decreased cost of production. Bay City for many years was dependent upon her forests for fuel and the sawmills were the basis of her prosperity, but as the pine in this section grew more scarce, it became apparent that the city would experience a set-back unless fuel could be procured more cheaply than by transportation from Ohio and Pennsylvania coal fields. As early as 1861 a vein of coal was discovered in the county while drilling a salt-well, and frequently afterward various parties discovered veins but owing to the plentiful supply of pine nothing in the way of mining was undertaken. It remained for Mr. Zagelmeyer, in August, 1894, to set in motion the wheels of what to-day is the most important of Bay County's industries. At his suggestion, four prominent citizens accompanied him to the sawmill of Zill Brothers, five miles west of West Bay City, in Monitor township, where coal had been discovered in drilling a well. These gentlemen secured a lease, although others had failed in an attempt at leasing the property, and a company was organized for the purpose of testing the land. On June 18, 1895, they commenced sinking a shaft which was completed in October and has been in active operation ever since. They had many obstacles with which to contend, as operations were begun at a time of panic and it was hard to interest capital. In fact public prejudice was so great that the operators often met with ridicule and sometimes persecution. With greater hindrance than encouragement from the public, they persevered and had the satisfaction of seeing their efforts crowned with success. In the spring of 1895, the Monitor Coal Company was incorporated with a capital stock of $50,000 and the following officers: Alexander Zagelmeyer, president; George Penniman, vice-president; E. L. Mather, secretary; Frank Zagelmeyer, treasurer. These officers with Christ Heinzmann for the board of directors. The company has a daily capacity of 300 tons, and is about to sink another shaft in the immediate vicinity. Thus was the Monitor coal mine started as the first in Bay County. In a review of the development of the coal fields of Michigan, a prominent writer has this to say of our subject: I wish to say in this connection that the people of Bay County owe Alexander Zagelmeyer a debt of gratitude that it is difficult to repay. He not only started the coal development, but it was also through his personal efforts that the North American Chemical Company decided to locate their American plant in Bay City.

The Bay Coal Mining Company, of which Mr. Zagelmeyer is secretary and general manager, was organized March 16, 1896, with a capital of $50,000, and is now controlled by the North American Chemical Company. The mine is located across the road from the Monitor mine, on a branch of the Michigan Central Railroad, and has a producing capacity of 400 tones per day. The subject of this sketch is also president of the Zagelmeyer Coal Mining Company, with mines in Jackson County, Ohio.

Mr. Zagelmeyer was also instrumental in the organizing the Michigan Vitrified Brick Company, which was incorporated April 15, 1904, with a capital stock of $75,000. The officers of the organization were: Alexander Zagelmeyer, president; Frank Zaglemeyer, vice-president; E. L. Mather, secretary; and C. W. Stiver, treasurer. In 1905 C. W. Stiver resigned as treasurer, and E. L. Mather assumed the duties of the offices of secretary and treasurer. This has been the only change in the personnel of the company. Immediately after the company was organized, it purchased the property known as the Dutch Creek coal mine, located about four miles southwest of Bay City, on the west side of the river, in Frankenlust township. The Pierce Dry Pressed Brick Company was also acquired at this time. The company then constructed a plant for the manufacture of vitrified paving brick, the only on of its kind in the country. It has a capacity of from 50,000 to 70,000 brick a day, and can also produce daily, in addition, 25,000 dry pressed building brick. In 1905, Mr. Mather became treasurer of the company, and in addition holds the office of secretary. The company mines its own clay and shale, also the coal to burn clay, all from the same mine. About 50 men are employed.

Politically, Mr. Zaglemeyer has always been loyal to the Republican party and has served as delegate to its State and county conventions. In public life, he has served as alderman of West Bay City and was one of the five commissioners that built the present water works plant of West Bay City on the bay shore, which cost upwards of $200,000. For three years he was supervisor of the Fifty Ward, and was comptroller of West Bay City two years. He was elected to the State Legislature in 1888, and served during 1889 and 1890, being a member of the committee on fisheries and others of minor importance. He is one of the directors of the Board of Trade of Bay City, and is interested in the German-American Sugar Company, of which he was the first president. He was elected to his present office of country treasurer by the largest vote ever polled for this office an indication of the popular estimation of his merits.

On April 3, 1881, Alexander Zagelmeyer was married in West Bay City to Emma Brenner, of Saginaw, Michigan. Four children resulted from their union, namely: Alma, wife of Charles F. Kuhlow, deputy county treasurer; Eddie, Leona and Dorothy. The family residence is an elegant home located on the corner of Ninth and Henry streets, West Bay City. Fraternally, our subject is a member of the Salzburg Arbeiter Society; the Arion Society of Bay City; is a 32nd degree Mason, a Knight Templar, a member of Moslem Temple of the Mystic Shrine in Detroit; the Royal Arcanum; the Knights of Pythias; and the Elks of Bay City.

Contributed by Jim Petrimoulx - May 2007.

Bay City Tribune - March 14, 1914 (Page 4)


Had Been Resident of Bay County for Many Years.


Was One of Pioneers of Coal Mining Industry of Bay County.

Alexander Zagelmeyer, a pioneer of Bay City died in Harper hospital, Detroit, Friday afternoon at 1:30 o'clock, following an operation, Friday morning for gall stones. The body will be brought to this city this evening.

Mr Zagelmeyer was born in Saginaw, October 18, 1858. A few years later he removed with is parents to Bay City. He was educated in the public schools of the west side and after graduation engaged in the lime and ice business with his father. In public life he had held a number of positions and during 1889-90 was a representative in the state legislature. He was superintendent of the fifth ward of West Bay City for five years and for two years was comptroller of West Bay City. Mr. Zagelmeyer was one of the commissioners who and superintended the construction of the west side water works system. Some years later he was elected county treasurer by the largest vote ever polled for that office.

Mr. Zagelmeyer was one of the pioneers in the coal mining industry in Bay county and was president of the Monitor Coal company the original coal mine of Bay county.

At the time of his death he was a member of the Zagelmeyer Cast Stove company, of this city and was also manager of the Detroit plant.

Mr. Zagelmeyer was a 32nd degree Mason, a Knight Templar, a member of the Moslem Temple, of the Mystic Shrine of Detroit, the Knights of Pythias, the Elks and the Salzburg Arbeiter socity.

He is survived by his widow, one son and three daughers.

Additional Notes.

    1870 - Census: West Bay City, Mich.

  • Zoglemeyer (Zagelmeyer), Lewis - b. 1825, Prussia.
  • Alexander, son - b. 1859, Mich.
  • Paul, son - b. 1860, Mich.

    1880 - Census: West Bay City, Mich.

  • Lagelmeyer (Zagelmeyer), Louis - b. 1825, Germany - retired ice dealer.
  • Alex, son - b. 1859, Mich. - ice dealer.
  • Paul, son - b. 1860, Mich. - works in ice trade.
  • Frank, son - b. 1862, Mich.- works in ice trade.

    1883 - Directory: Bay City, Mich.

  • Zagelmeyer, Alexander, Propr. Marine Ice Co., e s Water nr Malone's mill, 3d ward, res same.
  • Zagelmeyer, Frank, collector Marine Ice Co., bds A Zagelmeyer.
  • Zagelmeyer, Louis, res s w cor Water and Main, 3d ward.
  • Zagelmeyer, Max, teamser, bds J.G. Seely.

    1889 - Michigan Marriages: Saginaw, Bay, Michigan.

  • Paul Zagelmeyer, son of Louis Zagelmeyer and Polena Gralow, married Nov. 27, 1889, Lena Brenner, daughter of William Brenner.

    1900 - Census: West Bay City, Mich. (402 Water St.)

  • Zagelmeyer, Alexander - b. Oct., 1859, Mich.
  • Emma, wife - b. Jul., 1860, Mich.
  • Alma, daughter - b. Jul., 1882, Mich.
  • Edward, son - b. Jun., 1884, Mich.
  • Leona, daughter - b. Jul., 1891, Mich.
  • Dorthea, daughter - b. Dec., 1898, Mich.

Frank Zagelmeyer, brother of Alexander. - Added Feb., 2012.

Frank, founded the Zagelmeyer Auto Company, which was located on Henry Street, and produced campers that were quite popular across the U.S.

The following was found in Pop-up Camper History on the web.

Zagelmeyer Auto Company was probably better known for its Kamper Kar, considered one ofthe best in the 1920's. On October 7, 1922, Frank Zagelmeyer of Bay City, Michigan applied for a patent for this camp trailer. Hew was graded U.S. Patent No. 1,650,253 on November 22, 1927. The Zagelmeyer auto company was located at 401 S. Henry, in Bay City.

Additional Notes:

  • Frank was married to Christina Lorenz on Oct. 19, 1892 (1892 Ohio Marriages)
  • Frank and Christina had one son, Frank Lorenz, born in 1895. (1910 Census, Bay City)

    1931 - Directory: Bay City, Mich.

  • Zagelmeyer Auto Camp Co. - n.w. Cor. Kelton and PMRy.
  • Zagelmeyer Cast Stone Block Machinery Co. - Paul Zagelmeyer pres., R. H. Fletcher v-pres., Frank L. Zagelmeyer sec-treas., 801 S. Henry.
  • Zagelmeyer, Frank (Christina) Pres. Bay City Cast Stone Block Machinery Co., h 1315 McKinley av.
  • Zagelmeyer, Frank L. (Pearl) sec-treas. Zagelmeyer Cast Stone Block Machinery Co., h 2323 Center av.
  • Zagelmeyer, Paul pres. Zagelmeyer Cast Stone Block Machinery Co., h 315 McKinley av.

More information and images can be easily found internet, also in Google Books.

Related Note & Pages

Related Pages:
Coal Mining, Sag. Valley
North American Chem. Co.
People Referenced
Brenner, Emma (wife)
Grahlow, Paulina (mother)
Fletcher, R.H.
Kuhlow, Charles F.
Lorenz, Christina (sis-inlaw)
Mather, E.L.
Penniman, George
Seely, J.G.
Stiver, C.W.
Zagelmeyer, Alexander (subject)
Zagelmeyer, Alma (dau.)
Zagelmeyer, Dorothy (dau.)
Zagelmeyer, Edward (son)
Zagelmeyer, Frank (bro.)
Zagelmeyer, Frank L. (nephew)
Zagelmeyer, Leona (dau.)
Zagelmeyer, Louis (father)
Zagelmeyer, Max
Zagelmeyer, Paul (bro)
Subjects Referenced
Bay City, MI
Bay City Ice Co.
Bay Co., MI
Bay Co. Ice Co.
Detroit, MI
Frankenlust Twp. MI
German-America Sugar Co.
Harper hospital, Detroit
Marine Ice Co.
Malone's mill
Michigan Central R.R.
MI Vitrified Brick Co.
Monitor Coal Co.
Monitor Twp., MI
New York City, NY
North American Chem. Co.
Pierce Dry Press Brick Co.
Saginaw, MI
Saginaw Valley, MI
Union Ice Co.
West Bay City, MI
Zagelmeyer Auto Co.
Zagelmeyer Cast Stove Co.
Zill Bros. sawmill
WRITINGS: History As It Was Written Then.