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.

ROBERT J. FROST, SR.

Morning Star, May 26, 2013, pg. 6

So long, Albion High School. It became too expensive to operate a high school with too few students in today's economic climate. We wish the very best educational experience for our Albion students as they attend Marshall and other area districts this fall. They will not be forgotten.

Each year during this Memorial Day weekend we feature one of Albion's Civil War veterans. Robert J. Frost, Sr. (1842-1923) was Albion's longest continuous in-business merchant at the time of his death, a total of 55 years. He was the owner of the Frost Shoe Store at 213 S. Superior St., a mainstay in downtown Albion. It was in existence for nearly a century, from 1857 until it was sold in April, 1954. At that time it became Dick's Shoes.

Robert was a native of Cambridge, England, and came to the U.S. with his parents at the age of 8. The family eventually settled near Lansing. Robert enlisted in the U.S. Navy at the age of 14 (you could do that then) as a "captain's boy," and served two years. He then moved to Albion where he worked at the post office as a clerk, and also taught school in Eckford Township.

When the Civil War broke out, Robert enlisted at the age of 21 in the 9th Michigan Volunteer Cavalry Regiment, Company M, on April 29, 1863 as a Sergeant. The 9th Cavalry was organized at Coldwater, where Frost enlisted. He was transferred to Company G on May 20 as a First Sergeant. He was promoted and commissioned as a First Lieutenant on March 31, 1865, and was mustered out on July 21, 1865. The 9th Michigan served in Kentucky and Tennessee, and Georgia, and their battles can be easily looked up on the internet. Wikipedia states that the 9th was the only Michigan Cavalry Regiment that marched with Sherman to the sea.

After the War, Robert returned to Albion to open his shoe store. He was involved in local politics and served on the Village Council, and served as Village Treasurer. He was a staunch Democrat. When Albion became a city in 1885 he became Albion's first City Treasurer. Robert was elected the second Mayor of Albion the following year in 1886, and was re-elected in 1889 for another term.

Robert married Fannie Olcott in 1868, and the couple had two children: Robert Jr., and Belle (married name Richardson of Parlier, CA). Robert Jr. became a partner with his father in the shoe business. The family home was at 401 E. Porter St.

Robert died November 20, 1923, and was interred in Riverside Cemetery. From our Historical Notebook we present a 1913 photograph of Robert J. Frost, taken by the photographer Walter Grant. How many of our readers remember Frost's Shoe Store?


Robert J. Frost, Sr. (1842-1923)

Next: Albion 100 Years Ago - JUNE 1913


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