Albion Interactive History / People / Harry Parker

Albion Interactive History

Albion Interactive History / People

Harry Beebe Parker, 1871
    Died 1936

Warren S. Kessler’s step-son Harry B. Parker served as vice president and general manager of the Malleable for many years and became president upon the death of Kessler in 1933. Under the duo’s leadership the Malleable grew substantially in size until it was one of the largest such concerns in the country.

Parker was philanthropically involved in the civic life of Albion. He provided funds for the erection of several Albion churches, gave the land for a new City Hall on West Cass Street, was active of the Sheldon Memorial Hospital board of trustees, and was a member of several clubs and organizations.

Source: Frank Passic. Albion in the 20th Century. Chicago, IL: Arcadia Publishing. 2002.

Every legitimate business enterprise adds to the commercial prosperity of town or city and a community is judged by the character and extent of its trade interests, for this is a utilitarian age. The leading citizens, therefore, are the men who are in control of important and extensive business affairs, and it is one of the most promising signs of the times that the young men are working their way to a foremost position as leaders in industrial and commercial circles. Among the representatives of this class is H.B. Parker, now the vice president and assistant general manager of the Malleable Iron Company, of Albion, Michigan. He is yet a young man, his birth having occurred in Chicago, Illinois, August 21, 1871, his parents being E.A. and Almira L. (Beebe) Parker. His paternal grandfather was a minister of the Congregational church at Galesburg, Illinois. The father was general ticket and passenger agent of the Chicago & Northwestern Railroad Company for some time, and afterward for the Chicago, Burlington & Quincy Railroad, being connected with the latter organization at the time of his death, which occurred in 1875. His wife was a daughter of Calvin T. Beebe, one of the early and pioneer settlers of Jackson, Michigan, who died at the age of eighty-five years. Following the demise of her first husband Mrs. Parker became the wife of W.S. Kessler. She died on the 20th of March, 1896.

Mr. Parker acquired his education in the city schools of Chicago and was pursuing the high school course when in January, 1889, he left school and came to Albion with Mr. And Mrs. Kessler. It was at that time that the Malleable Iron Company was organized and Mr. Parker became connected therewith. He began work in the factory and steadily advanced, becoming familiar with every part of the business in all of its particular workings, becoming a director and vice president in 1892, acting in that capacity continuously since. In 1899 he was made assistant general manager and in that capacity takes an active part in the carrying on of the business. The Malleable Iron Company at Albion ranks as the second largest kind in the state. The plant is located adjacent to the Michigan Central Railroad tracks and covers seven acres. More than two hundred and fifty men are employed, and thus the business is a valuable one to the city, furnishing the means of maintenance to many families. Mr. Parker has also been interested in real estate and in connection with Mr. Kessler, in 1900, erected the fine new post-office block. He is also secretary and treasurer of the Marion Oil & Gas Company, with wells at Findlay, Ohio. The oil lands of this company are excellent producers, and that business is proving profitable as are also other interests with which he is financially connected.

On the 28th of November, 1895, Mr. Parker was united in marriage to Miss Theo Gardner, a daughter of Hon. Washington Gardner. They attend the Methodist Episcopal church, of which Mrs. Parker is a member, and to the support of which Mr. Parker generously contributes. He belongs to Murat lodge, No. 14, F. & A.M., Albion chapter, R.A.M., and Marshall commandery, K.T. His political support is given to the Republican party, but he is not active as a worker in its ranks. Already in the business world he has attained an enviable position and he owes his advancement entirely to his capability, earnest application, strong purpose and laudable ambition.

Source: Hobart and Mather. Biographical Review of Calhoun County, MI. April 1904.

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