Albion Interactive History / Businesses / Union Windmill

Albion Interactive History

Albion Interactive History / Industry

Wolcott Union Wind Mill Company, 1876
    Closed 1930s

After moving to Albion, L.J. Wolcott established the Wolcott Union Wind Mill and Manufacturing Company on the northwestcorner of East Mulberry and North Huron Streets. The Wolcott Patent Windmill, invented by L.J.’s brother Henry Jasper Wolcott, was known throughout the world. Organized in 1876, the Wolcott firm employed fifty people, and Wolcott windmills could be found on farmsthroughout the area. The Wolcott Union Wind Mill Company constructed the largest sectional wheel ever built in Michigan, 36feet in diameter. That wheel was built in 1882, and was shipped to Sough America from New York, but the ship sank when nearing itsdestination.

The firm ceased operations in 1898 because of financial difficulties, and in 1900 was purchased by the First National Bank of Albion and reorganized as the Albion Wind Mill & Improvement Company, which began making gasoline engines in addition to the windmills.President of the firm was Henry MontgomeryDearing; vice-president was Monfort D.Weeks, and Palmer Montgomery Dearing was secretary/treasurer. All those men had served on Homestead’s board of directors at some time during the 1890s. L.J. Wolcott continued as superintendent of the windmill department throughout the various reorganizations of the company.

However, the Cook company was losing money, and was subsequently ruined by an elaborate forgery scheme between secretary of the company, Palmer Montgomery Dearing, and his father, Henry Montgomery Dearing (1839-1927), who was cashier at the Albion National Bank. when the scheme was uncovered and the Albion National Bank was closed on January 1, 1912, the Cook Manufacturing company likewise was closed. L.J. Wolcott had apparently been unaware of the financial problems and theDearing forgeries.

Legend has it that L.J. Wolcott walked home with Henry Montgomery Dearing on the night the bank examiner discovered theforgeries (December 30, 1911), a few days before Dearing was arrested at his home. Longtime friends, the two men said nothing as they walked together on that somber evening. Wolcott lost his job as the Cook company was closed, and lost considerable money in the bank and company failures. P19

Source: Frank Passic. Homestead Savings and Loan and the Builders of Albion: One Hundred Years of Service, 1889-1989. Albion, MI: Homestead Savings and Loan Association. 1988.

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