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.


Morning Star, March 29, 1998, pg. 18

Click here to read Part one

Continuing with our series about the Gale Manufacturing Company, we all know that the firm was first owned by members of the Gale family who brought their farm implement company to Albion during the Civil War. Another family however played a prominent part in this historic Albion industry in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

In 1887 the Gales sold their entire company stock to Henry Kirke White, Sr. (1839-1916) of Detroit and a group of lesser investors which also included some Gale family members. The senior White was a heavy investor in the Acme White Lead & Color (Paint) Works, and served as its vice-president from 1889 to 1913. He also was an investor in the Dexter M. Ferry Seed Company of Detroit, serving as its secretary beginning in 1879, and as its vice-president beginning in 1905. Kirke was on the board of directors of several banks and was vice-president of Grace Hospital. His home was in Detroit.

Kirke Sr. became president of the Gale Manufacturing Company in 1887. With the new ownership, many capital improvements were made at the Gale, including: moving the company to N. Albion St. in 1888, erecting several new buildings, installing up-to-date equipment, and increasing output and employment. The ownership by the White family resulted in increased employment of Albionites and provided stability to the company for many years. The White family is of English heritage, and their roots trace back to Connecticut during the Colonial era.

Concurrently, Kirke's brother Albert E.F. White (1844-1915) was also an investor. He entered the seed firm in 1872, and became its auditor in 1879. He also was treasurer of the pain company. Albert E.F. White lived in Detroit but maintained an Albion address during the 1890s. He served as vice-president of the Gale from 1892 to 1897. Albert was an original investor in Henry Ford's Detroit Automotive Company (1898). He also owned considerable stock in the Cadillac Motor Company, which he sold in 1909.

When H. Kirke White Sr. died in Detroit in 1916 after being Gale president for 29 years, he was survived by his wife Cholistique/Catherine (Fortier), sons Henry Kirke White, Jr. (1867-1937), Louis Eugene White (1869-1927), George Theodore White (1873-1940), and daughter Mary Josephine (White) Morrison (1882-1955), wife of U.S. Army Captain George L. Morrison. All either owned or inherited sizeable portions of Gale Company stock.

From our Historical Notebook this week we present a photograph of Henry Kirke White Sr., president of the Gale Manufacturing Company from 1887 to 1916.

Henry Kirke White Sr.


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