Archival Collection #016 - Valley City Milling Company
Archival Collection #016 - Valley City Milling Company


Comments and Tags

Alfred Xavier Cary (1811-1882) 1843 — engaged in trade on Monroe 1848 — “Algoma” steamer captain for some years 1850 — Hotelier 1850 — Grand Rapids first Marshal 1867 — began Valley City Milling operating as A. X. Cary & Co. (John B. Moon and Robert M. Collins) 1870–74 — President of Grand Rapids Savings Bank (American Exchange National Bank) (1870 Kent County Directory, 1874 ) 1882 — death and still a hotelier Named Valley City Mill after, Valley City Guards, the Grand Rapids militiaman unit his son, Charles Henry Cary, was a part of when he died. Alfred X. Cary was engaged in trade on Monroe street as early as 1843 a well known and respected citizen and business man till his death in 1882 as merchant, hotel landlord, steamboat captain, flouring mills manager and as an honorable servant of the public in various official positions. — Baxter 1891 Obituary: Alfred Xavier Cary, an old resident of Grand Rapids, died at the residence of his daughter, Mrs Elizabeth D. Collins, March 29, 1882, aged 71 years. The deceased came to this city in 1844, since which time this place has been his home. For the first two or three years he was engaged in a general mercantile business. From about 1846 for three years he was captain of the steamer Algoma, on Grand River, for Henry R. Williams. About 1849 he leased the old National Hotel which he managed for two or three years. He was the first city marshal 1850–51. In 1852 steamboat captain again. In 1853 with John Lyman and Henry R. Williams he purchased a steam tug which he ran for some months in the harbor at Chicago. In 1854 he was one of the company that built the steamer Olive Branch. He then, with John M. Fox bought the Buena Vista mills at Bear Creek in Plainfield; soon afterwards bought out the Fox interest and took into partnership Robert M. Collins, and the firm ran that mill for about fifteen years. In 1860–61 he was a member of the Common Council. He was a delegate in 1860 to the Republican National Convention which nominated Abraham Lincoln for president. About 1869 he purchased an interest in the Valley City mills with John B. Moon and Robert M. Collins; Jacob Barnes a year or two later becoming a partner and this mill was run by A. X. Cary & Co until about five years ago (1879). He was also one of the projectors of the Grand Rapids Savings Bank in 1870 and its president for several years. He had two children. His son Charles H. Cary, went into the army and died in the service at Jackson, Mississippi, July 17, 1863. His daughter Elizabeth D., widow of the late Capt. Robert M. Collins resides in this city. His wife an invalid survives him and is cared for by an adopted daughter of Mrs Collins. — Pioneer Collections. Report of the Pioneer Society of the State of Michigan Together with Reports of County, Town and District Pioneer Societies, Volume V, Lansing, Michigan, W.S. George & Co., State Printers & Binders, 1884, page 440 Jim Winslow, 5/21/2017


Collection Tier:
Tier 2

Archival Collections ➔ Archival Collection #016 - Valley City Milling Company

Identifier:
1987.44
Description:
Archival Collection #16 - Valley City Milling Company contains correspondence, business records, notes, newspaper clippings and transcripts pertaining to the Valley City Milling Company. Valley was one of the top flour milling companies in the Grand Rapids, Michigan area. The other mills included Voigt Milling Co. and Watson – Higgins Co. Valley City Mills were built by A. X. Cary & Company in 1867 on Mill Street, north of East Bridge (Michigan) Street. In 1884, the mills became the possession of Conrad G. Swensberg, M.S. Crosby, and William Neely Rowe. In the early 1900s the mills plant was moved to Ottawa Ave. where it burned in 1932. Fred N. Rowe, brother of William, bought the name and labels and moved the operation into Portland, Michigan where it existed through the 1960s. Overall, the material covers the day-to-day operations of the flour mill from 1879-1969. 

A full listing of the contents of this collection can be found in the Finding Aid that is attached to the media section of this catalog entry.
Date:
1879 – 1969
Source:
Gift Of Grand Valley State University
Rights:

Maker/Donor
Valley City Mills
The Valley City Mills were built by “A. X.” Cary & Company in 1867 on Mill Street, north of East Bridge (Michigan) Street. The mills were operated by Mr. Alfred X. Cary for ten to twelve years. Then in 1884, after going through a series of transactions, the mills became operated by the Valley City Milling Company, of which Conrad G. Swensberg was President, M.S. Crosby, VP, and William Neely Rowe, Manager. Among their specialties were the manufacture of “Roller Campion” and Lily White” flour. The production process included steam and water power, however, in 1880s, the old millstones were replaced by rollers, and steams replaced or supplemented by water power.

In the early 1900s, the Valley City Mills plant was moved to Ottawa Ave where it burned in 1932 Fred N. Rowe, brother of William N. Rowe, bought the name and labels and moved the operation into Portland, Michigan where it existed through the 1960s.