Albion Interactive History / People / Jesse Crowell

Albion Interactive History

Albion Interactive History / People

Jesse Crowell, 1797
 
    Died September 28, 1872

The outstanding character among Albion’s early pioneers was Jesse Crowell, son of John and Zipporah (Clark) Crowell, born November 19, 1797, a native of Oswego County, New York. Hecame to Albion in 1835, when thirty-seven years of age, and who was destined until his death, September 28, 1872, to play an important part in the public affairs of Albion. Mr. Crowell was very progressive and philanthropic, a self made man, his parents having died when he wasyoung, and having never married, he had no children, but he gave generously of his time, energy, and money for theup building of Albion.

Jesse Crowell came to Albion in 1835 with the intention of finding water power and building a mill on that site. He found the site, built his mill, and was the prime founder of the Albion Company, a firm which seems to have held a great deal of real estate. Mr. Crowell was its manager and held power of attorney for the 10 other members of the firm. Mr. Crowell obtained a post office for Albion and was postmaster for eleven years – between 1838 and 1849. He is believed to have been the town’s first store keeper. He never married. He died in AlbionSeptember 28, 1873, and was buried in Albion’s RiversideCemetery. In a rather strong sense the Albion Company was his company.

Jesse Crowell was a bachelor, and lived in his home on Michigan Avenue, upon the site of which Susannah Wesley Hall, Albion College, is built. A niece kept house for him. His daily life was worthy of example, wherever we go in Albion, we see traces ofJesse Crowell’s life and works. K8

For a good many years, no stone marked his resting place. It was left to people around1910 to honor his memory. Through efforts of citizens of Albion, who remembered and appreciated this good man, sufficient funds were solicited with which to erect a beautiful and substantial monument of Barre granite, which bears the word “CROWELL” and the headstone bears this inscription: “Albion’s Greatest Benefactor.” K8

Crowell Street, Crowell Park, and Crowell Elementary School have all been named in his honor.

Source: Miriam Krenerick. Albion’s Milestones and Memories. Albion, MI: Art Craft Press. 1932.


The home of Jesse Crowell, “Albion’s Greatest Benefactor,” was a showplace for many years. Located on e. Michigan Avenue, the home was purchased by Dr. Stephen Munroe (1812-1890) in 1873. A retired physician, Munroe added the Mansard roof and third floor to the structure. The family of Albion State Bank president David A. Garfield were the final residents of the house. Mrs. Garfield was a niece of Dr. Munroe. The Garfield’s lived here until the house was demolished in 1926 to make way for Susanna Wesley Hall, a girl’s dormitory.

Source: Gildart, Robert. Albion College, 1835-1960, A History. Chicago: Donnelley Lakeside Press, 1961.

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