Benjamin Boutell, A Real Son of Michigan


A flat boat aboard the creek and # 39; s bank on a summer day in 1860. An observer is forgiven for not knowing the sole occupant was a young man growing up to run two Michigan industries, hauling wood and making sugar and developing many companies in other industries that will add countless resources to Michigan's economic development & # 39;

The skiff runs in a relentless development, influenced by the waves washed against the bank and then also flows in line with the movement of steam and sloops that run along the Saginaw canal & # 39; It's channel. Its skipper, sixteen-year-old Benjamin Boutell, sighed in deep satisfaction. The shaking motion of the stream left him in deep sleep as he set off the heat of the day and # 39; s heat, dreaming of the oceanic surroundings of which he was the central figure.

He did not hear the sound of the whistling and breaking, shaking of ships off the coast, and other harrowing activities on the harbor common in Bay City, Michigan in 1860. For ten years, the town's population & # 39; erupted from fifty souls to over three thousand, with daily arrivals from Canada or Detroit to obtain jobs in one of the fifteen saw clusters along the creek. Before the tree came closer forty years later, thirty thousand people called the Bay City home and over a hundred yards lined the streams from Bay City to Saginaw, eleven. – two miles away.

His father, Daniel Boutell, owns a hotel located within walking distance of the southeast corner of the Sea and Third streets. It wasn't until recently that it became the Sherman House. Located across from the Detroit Steamboat Company & # 39; s landing, it is always the first stop for new cities in town. Daniel Boutell moved his family thirty miles north from Birch Run to manage the hotel, and after several changes hung a new shingle near the entrance. Today it is the Boutell House, a homeless shelter for seafarers in the Great Lakes that feels more like family guests than hotel patrons because many of the Boutells & # 39; nine children share the hotel

Surprised by the stories told by sailors, Ben loved the river and the great Saginaw Bay, the Great Lakes Trail, a trail he planned to pass one day. In the meantime, he obtained a call by the Fire Protection Company where he served as the first assistant foreman and assisted his father at the hotel where he wounded sailors with questions about schooners, sloops, barges, and tugboats. . An infectious grin and a sincere interest that shunned the words of sailors enjoying Ben & # 39; s enthusiasm. they gladly shared the stories of their journeys and knowledge of all the trivial things.

Knowing much about the nature of things moving from port to port on the Great Lakes, he began to pay special attention to the movement of logs covered by heavy tugboats. The task of moving timber to mills located in one of the principal towns of Saginaw, Saginaw, Bay City, or Muskegon is critical to the success of the timber industry. Water transport provides the least solution. The logs carved from Michigan & # 39; The forests were dug out, collected by river mouths, settled on floating fences, called "booms," and covered with ravines of weeds lining the river from Saginaw to Bay City. From the forests of Canada & # 39; On the Georgian Bay shoreline, tugboats hauled booms with thousands of logs across Lake Huron and into Saginaw Bay for shipment of waiting vessels.

Tugboat captains face a number of dangers: sudden storms that threaten to break loose holes in logs that have created explosions, shipwrecks, boiler explosions, and possible fires. 'g left the crew left to trample the waters far from the rocky cliffs. The idea of ‚Äč‚Äčtaking the helm of such a craft steered the hotel's son's imagination & # 39; He's a kid.

His ambition prompted his twenty-first year when the fire destroyed Boutell House. Dan Boutell fought the explosion until the overflow bin remained. His lungs cleared of smoke, he refused health until he was admitted to death the following year. The livelihood of the family & # 39; dangerously, Ben immediately signed up as a full-time sailor on the Steam Wave. During the year, she was the wife of Wave & # 39; and the following year obtained papers giving him the responsibilities of the master of a ship & # 39; He's the master.

As Captain Boutell, he relied on Ajax, a ring that recently became the property of First City Bank in Bay City. The bank takes it the way banks often recover property – through damaged notes. The twenty-two-year-old captain recently enlisted the help of an engineer named Samuel Jones, whose salary, as captain & # 39; s, there is a condition on the boat & # 39; s income, and a cook who she responds with affection as Aunt Kitty and has a long history and a passion for adventure. Ben, Jones, and Aunt Kitty run a tug that falls under Ben's supervision with similar speed tasks like cutting wood for the boiler and managing the boat business & # 39; It's business. The trio sold for owners $ 6,000 (about $ 84,000 in 2009 dollars), giving a young captain a reputation as a capable ship & # 39; s master with a first-rate knowledge of the Great Lakes.

It was the bravery that caught the attention of Captain William Mitchell, master of tug Union. Mitchell delighted young people with an interesting smile whose energy seemed to expand to meet any challenge. The two became fast friends and business associates, gaining in hours a fleet of tugboats, barges, schooners, and freight trains that eventually numbered more than fifty. Boutell organized large rails containing four million board feet of timber, making him one of the largest timber harvesters. In total, wood rafting and other hauling work for its tugs utilized the services of five hundred people. He considers himself among them. Despite growing in his wealth and reputation, he remained at the mark of one tug or five, five years alone as the captain of Annie Moiles, until finally the responsibilities created by his rapidly growing property he stayed on the beach.

Even before Ben left the boy trying the creeks beneath the small skiff, the capital he had prepared as the boat owner and captain of Lake Michigan, Lake Superior, Lake Huron, and the Georgian Bay at eventually providing more resources. When Ben Boutell, William Mitchell, and future partners, Peter Smith were so involved in the lumber industry that they tied themselves to a rising star but with little distance before lighting. If white pine forests were destroyed under the attack of axes and saws, Boutell's & # 39; For a time it was his plan to continue where he started, extracting logs from Canada. However, the restrictive duties put an end to any hope of benefiting from Canadian trees. With a drowning heart, Ben, who used to carry an average of one hundred million board feet of wood at a time, watched his boats dropping off the docks.

Thus Captain Benjamin Boutell, in 1897, at the age of fifty-three, found himself wealthy, but was unemployed and eager for new opportunities. Even if he is no longer the young man who inspired stories, he is still friendly, quick, and, as always, dressed in a blind suit. A shaggy mustache was all that was left of a previously prominent beard, and even if he gave a weekly sermon at Madison Avenue Methodist Episcopal Church, he painted his speech with bad phrases that give his minister's deep passages & # 39; parts if they were spoken of in his presence. One general incident, the result of several dinners prepared under the direction of Amelia, his wife of almost thirty years, robbed her of her once-athletic career. Even if the body is full, full, and less capable of hand-handling a schooner & # 39; s rigging, young inquiring young people are still visible in the eyes wearing the suggestion of walking around.

Over the course of the boards, some thirty years after Ben hung his first raft of logs, many earned Michigan's & # 39; s forests left, bringing their wealth to distant cities. Ben Boutell remained, who also cultivated much of his wealth in Michigan. He opened his mind to the possibilities of many industries. Little is known about any of them, the curiosity of curiosity guiding his direction. Before long, he owned parts of coal, shipping companies, machine shops, cement factories, banks, a telephone company, factories, and sugar factories. His interests came from the country from Boston where he owned sea boats to Redwood City, California, where he established the state & # 39; Portland's first cement factory. He eventually served as an officer or director of thirty-two companies, nine of them in the Michigan sugar industry and # 39; s sugar sugar. He also founded the sugar industries in Colorado and Canada, managing two Colorado sugar companies and serving on the boards of two Canadian companies that later became the foundation for the Canada-Dominion Sugar Company. In addition, he owns farms where he grows sugarbeets as well as a 4,000-acre ranch in the state & # 39; s north reached.

His sugar interests alone are enough to keep two or three executives busy during the year. There is not a single individual in Michigan who focuses as much of his wealth and time on the state-changing sugar industry as Captain Benjamin Boutell did. He is one of the founders of Michigan & # 39; s first sugar company, the Michigan Sugar Company, where he served as a director and vice president. He serves in the same capacities as the Bay City Sugar Company. He also founded the Saginaw Sugar Company where he served as treasurer, and held a directive. He is president of the Lansing Sugar Company and a trustee of the Marine City Sugar Company and holds directives for Mount Clemens, Carrollton, and Menominee sugar companies.

Much of Sugar Trust, an organization that has held the country's sugar supply to the iron mill for decades, has not supported it. As Power grew in power, he sold his stock to companies that had relinquished control and invested in independent companies, staying away from a form of business organization that had lost favor with the America.

Captain Boutell commanded the deck of sailing sloops and boardrooms with equal speed, frequently making investments that prompted the formation of hundreds of companies. However, as he made his way through the portal to his home, he entered a matriarchal organization run by his wife, Amelia, and his twin sisters, Cornelia.

Amelia Charlotte Duttlinger and her sister were born in Cleveland, Ohio in 1850 or 1851. Tragedy came early. Their father died when they were three months old, causing their mother, Catharine, to move to Bay County. There, he runs a hotel with the help of twins when they are older, two servants, and a bartender. Among the guests in 1869 was Ben Boutell, a devastated young sailor who at twenty-four had become something of a legend and a man of ability. That she was a detective who definitely couldn't escape was discovered by Amelia and Cornelia, or their widowed mother.

Amelia has a genial personality and good looks and despite being physically identical to her twin sister, she shows a difference to Ben. It may be the more friendly nature and an unwanted behavior that brings a smile to his eyes and the kind of smile that can shine through one's memory & # 39; s. Her auburn hair was curled up high and full of her shoulders, ending with ringlets that flowed through every step she made.

According to Cornelia, in comparison, being more careful and always critical of hotel guests & # 39; s, most of which are not strictly in its strict pattern of dress and separation. Amelia's relentless discussions & # 39; Ben started to sound like wedding bells to Cornelia. He found a growing love for himself.

The settlement is a short one, shaped by the busy schedule of a Great Lakes seaman. The two love each other and even when the term is used, they are soul mates. Each lost a father at a young age, each spending formal years carrying the responsibilities of adults helping to operate a hotel, and each aspiring to a life of excellence. measured by reach. The marriage took place on December 22, 1869, after the passage of the sea was closed for the winter. Ben and Amelia are expecting a long honeymoon to end when the Great Lakes fall in March.

Before the honeymoon ended, however, Cornelia, in great distress, came to their doorstep to recover from a tragic turn of events in her love life. After that, the brothers became inseparable; one goes anywhere without the other. At Amelia's request. Ben bought two of them all, clothes, and monogrammed hats to identify the twins he owned. In a nod to accept the existence of Cornelia's presence & # 39; in their lives, he named one of the barges that carried the ore "Twin Sisters." The twin he loves he calls her "Meil".

The only difference between the twins is the small mole of Amelia & # 39; s neck behind one ear. Ben, however, has a secret method for getting to know each other: the parts of Amelia & # 39; often describing contentment as the aspect of Cornelia & # 39; It's sad and angry. The birth of three sons, Frederick, William, and Bennie, provided special purpose in Amelia's life & # 39; while directing their progress to the culturally lush townspeople of the river town became a special mission for Cornelia. He gave up any hope of doing the same for his brother-in-law. His vast collective of rest made every gentle object within its reach vulnerable to disintegration; teacups, sunglasses, jewelry clasps, and fine furniture seemed broken and broken in his presence.

The brothers make sure that the time comes for the captain to build a living quarters and decorate in a manner that accurately communicates the breadth of his life and # 39; s accomplishments. At their largest, he bought four conflicting lots in Fifth Street and Fifth Street in Madison City, a block of Center Avenue. Today, Center Avenue unveils a unique show in the late nineteenth and early twentieth-century housing architecture where it won a spot on the National Register of Historic Places. For Bay City & # 39; prominent citizens of 1890 & # 39; s and by the middle of the century, it was the right place to live. Cookers and distributors of sugar cane, charcoal, shipbuilding, and other industries have built stylish homes that reflect their rich prosperity.

Phillip C. Floeter, a prominent architect who for some years had designed the Trinity Episcopal Church was found to supplement the plans and then build a mansion calculated on dwarf Center Avenue homes of the same size. and ornamentation.

The floor imports marble and marble tile for eleven fireplaces and commands large amounts of mahogany, maple, birch, and pine for both home and interior paneling. The parlor shows love for Ben & # 39; in the Great Lakes. It was in the shape of a bow in a boat, and in the distance stood a mirror on the ceiling that surrounded each side by tall, glass cabinets. Another homage to the Great Lakes – bright rocks brought from Lake Erie and placed inside a front-facing gable – attracted the attention of passers-by. The panels cover the inner walls at five feet high with the surface covered with canvas and then decorated with gold leaf. Lighting fixtures are made for better money.

In addition to storage rooms, the basement has a kitchen and dining area where Ben entertained business associates and friends who preferred cigars while paying Bacchic tribute to each other, activities that included banned elsewhere in the area. Two private balconies open the second-floor bedrooms, and one-story floors run across the length of both sides of the house. From that vantage point, one could see the stream and hear the sigh of sloops passing through the night. The house is painted green with white trim – with sea paint, of course. A large barn, mounted on four horse-drawn carriages, stands in the backyard.

Boutell has a small key. He avoids the limelight often favored by business executives and community leaders, previous talks, public office management or any other trappings that accompany success. Compared to those who hang out in the pulpit or show business groups in the Bay City & # 39; s, Benjamin is exhausted, about to retire. In addition to his mansion, a consort of his wife with whom he had no objection, he avoided public displays of wealth. She especially encouraged the children who gathered in her vast ranch where she set up a slide show, rather than getting involved in politics and spending more time with her family than at business conventions.

January in the Saginaw Bay region is a cold season. The ice is abundant on the coast and in the river & # 39; It's fast enough to snatch and then finally stop completely. Each day also leads to the development of cooler days to come as winter settles to hold the region in a cold embrace until spring. It was 1902 and the Bay City was no longer incarcerated on frozen waterways five months each year; The railroad now allows travel to the places where Ben does business. He regularly enjoys traveling to the United States and Canada where he attends board of director meetings and shareholder meetings or to discover new investment opportunities.

Upon returning from one such trip in late January 1902, he entered his home where he found Amelia and Cornelia in the living room. Cornelia's hands & # 39; seamlessly sewing a shawl, one of the many gifts she and Amelia make throughout the year for family and church members. Amelia's hands & # 39; on her lap, the one curled up on the other, an unusual posture for Amelia, who, like Ben, had been busy with work from dawn to dusk.

Another caught his attention, sending a cold shiver to his spine. The twins are not the same! True, their clothes were, as always, the same, fashionable in Edwardian nightwear, in black, and in keeping with strict Methodist-style looks, not decorated with jewelry. Each time she wore her hair pulled back and secured with a chignon on the back of the head. However, Amelia's looks & # 39; changed in a few weeks when he was gone, or at any moment, he noticed a series of changes that had escaped his attention when he saw him daily.

He lost weight, his face was drawn and narrow; his shoulders felt like a loss, and, worst of all, the advantage remained in his eyes. She put her head to her left and found a pair of baby gloves sitting on the couch and drops of moisture on the floor. Even as they set the scene, he guessed that the two had reached their home before him and quickly set themselves up to deceive him into believing they were there during the day. Holding needles explodes in Cornelia & # 39; It's busy hands. Her gaze flew first to Amelia, and then to Ben. Amelia asks to get up to feel his wife but Ben, seeing her in distress, rushes to the little space between them and hugs her.

She called the Answers to her side and brought her to those who could not visit her at home. She is worse. Cancer was the sixth leading cause of death in Michigan at the time, behind tuberculosis, heart disease, pneumonia, cholera, and influenza. Despite Ben & # 39; s heavy efforts; to save her, she went on to worse.

Through Thanksgiving, Ben realizes that Amelia understands that the end is near. He puts his chair close to his bed when in a lewd motion he asks him to come closer. With a voice that was too thin to travel more than a few feet, he announced his final wishes. Cornelia, she was reminded, was a part of her life from the time of her birth and a part of Ben & # 39; s from the time of her wedding. She asks him to marry Cornelia to protect the family estate that could threaten division or complete loss once Benjamin is married to another. Marry, Cornelia, he said, and it all came together where it belonged.

He held Ben's hand. the little energy left and asked that he promise her now. During his thirty-three years of marriage, Ben gave him everything he wanted; he doesn't see any reason for demotion now. He made the promise, then smiled and told her that this was an easy pledge to make because she would be right as it was Christmas rains, at least!

Amelia died five days later on November 25, 1902. Ben kept his vows and married Cornelia ten & # 39; g four months later on February 11, 1904.

Ben has expanded his activities, formed companies, expanded others, and spent more time on community projects, such as establishing the YMCA and the YWCA, serving as a church administrator, and giving free time and money to local needs. .

In April 1912, he attended a stockholders' meeting at the Wallaceburg Sugar Company in Wallaceburg, Ontario. To meet the meeting and # 39; When he arrived, he arrived at the Chatham train station for the return trip as the engine was heating up. The black smoke explodes from the smokestack. The spinning engine seemed to scream in a hurry! Hurry! The conductor, impatient with a late second boarder, leaned as if to remove the small wooden step used by passengers on the train. Ben broke into a lope. Just as he grabbed the bar that would allow him to drive the boat, the train suddenly accelerated. He held out a hand, taking the ride but not having the strength to complete the maneuver. She broke her ribbon and fell to the stage. At first, he believed himself to be no less shaken. On the way home, she began to feel nervous, then in pain, then in pain. For a short time, he fell into a state of mindlessness from where he died on October 26, 1912.

In Benjamin Boutell's history, Michigan lost a member of a cadre of courageous men and women born near the state. He injects energy and a character that poses a danger to the supreme states that has made himself a pioneer in the Great Lakes and in Michigan & # 39; s field and to raise many concerns in the industry. When Michigan faced economic turmoil with the exit from the timber industry, it ignored the safer pathways and instead, new industries expanding Michigan's economic opportunity & # 39; small towns at risk of uncertain financial return for itself while others in its wake brought Michigan's far-flung, safe harbors, New York, Cleveland, and Boston. For this alone, he is remembered as a true son of Michigan.


Butterfield, George, Bay County Past and Present, Centennial Edition, George Butterfield, Board of Education, Bay City, Michigan, 1957, pages 117, 195 (mansion photo), 89, 118, and 142.

Gansser, Augustus, History of Bay County, MI and Representative Citizens, Richmond & Arnold, Chicago, IL, 1905, pages 491-2.

Gutleben, Dan, The Sugar Tramp – 1954, Bay Cities Duplicating Co, San Francisco, California, 1954.

Mansfield, JB History of the Great Lakes, Volume 1, Waterwater Press, Cleveland, Ohio, 1972

Evening Press, West Bay City, Bay, MI, Friday, 26 Nov 1880, in connection with the death of Benjamin Boutell & # 39; It's mother.

Cyclopedia of Michigan: Historical and Biographical Synopsis of Historical State and Biographical Sketches of Men which, in their various spheres, contributed to its development., Western Publishing and Engraving Co., New York and Detroit, 227-8, 230 -1, Bay City Public Library, Bay, Michigan

History of the Great Lakes with Disease., JH Beers & Co, Chicago, 1899. Vol. II, pages 18-22.

INJURY ADJUSTMENT: Pre-1975 data are Consumer Index statistics from the United States Historical Statistics (USGPO, 1975). All data from the past is from the annual Statistical Abstract of the United States. Recorded at

MICHIGAN ANNUAL REPORTS, Michigan Archives, Lansing, Michigan


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