Historical Albion Michigan
By Frank Passic

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Any photos not otherwise credited are from the personal collection of Frank Passic, Albion Historian.

WILD STOCKBROKER HAD ALBION TIES

Morning Star, February 22, 2009, pg. 15

With all the financial strains in our economy in recent months, the names of numerous financial and investment institutions have been in the news recently. One name our readers might remember from years past was the stock brokerage and investment banking firm of Shearson-Hammill. During the 1960s this company produced various television commercials heralding its years of experience on Wall Street. Some of these have now been placed on the internet. Beginning in the 1970s the firm went through some acquisitions, and today is part of the Salomon Smith-Barney holdings.

Shearson-Hammill dates back to the beginning of the 20th century, when Edward Shearson and Caleb Wild Hammill formed their stockbrokerage firm in 1902. Did you know that there is an Albion connection to one of the names of that major 20th century Wall Street firm?

Namesake Caleb Wild Hammill (1863-1921) was the great-grandson of Levi Wild (1781-1844). The Wild and Hammill families came to Albion from New York and settled in Sheridan Township in 1836. For ten years Leviís son John Wild (1810-1871) served as Sheridan Township supervisor. John built the first framed house in the Township, and his several children were born there. It was located just north of the city, and Wild Street was named after the family when their land was annexed to the City of Albion. The house burned in 1906. John also served as Albion Village President in 1860.

Johnís sister Elizabeth Wild (d. 1890) married Robert C. Hammill, who became a prominent Albion notary public. The Hammills subsequently moved to Chicago in 1857, including their only son, Caleb Wild Hammill, Sr. Caleb married Elizabeth Pine, and the couple had a son, Caleb Wild Hammill Jr. (1863-1921), and a daughter, Mary who married a man with the surname Stafford.

Caleb Jr. moved from Chicago to New York City in 1890, where he became well established on Wall Street. He amassed a fortune during his lifetime. He married Maude Echols of Fort Smith, Arkansas in 1903, and the couple were part of the New York society ďelite.Ē The Hammillís had one daughter, Betty Hammill, born circa 1905. Caleb Wild Hammill died of a heart attack at a hotel in Paris, France on July 19, 1921 at the age of 58, in the presence his wife and daughter. His remains were brought back to the U.S. and he was interred in Woodlawn Cemetery in the Bronx, New York. Most of his estate went to his widow and daughter. He also left $100,000 to his sister, and $5,000 each to her two children.

Caleb Wild Hammillís parents and grandparents are interred in Chicago, while his great-grandparents Levi & Sally (Edgerton) Wild are interred here in Albion in the Old Grounds of Riverside Cemetery. From our Historical Notebook we present a wintry photograph of the tombstone of Caleb Wild Hammill and his wife Maude there in the Bronx, courtesy of Lynn from the www.findagrave.com photo volunteers.


The Tombstones of Caleb Wild Hammill and his wife Maude

Next: ALBION 100 YEARS AGO--MARCH 1909


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