"Bissell, George W. Vessel Owner, Detroit, Michigan, is a native of Ohio, and the son of Elijah N. and Florella [Loomis] Bissell, who were born in Torringford, Litchfield County, Connecticut. His father was a farmer, and while a young man — after having married — emigrated, about the year 1815, to what was then called the "New Connecticut,"—afterwards known as the "Western Reserve,"— in Ohio, locating at Charleston, Portage County. Here, on February 12, 1821, George W. Bissell was born; the eldest son of a family of six sons and three daughters, having two sisters older and one younger. When he was twelve years old, his father sold his farm; and, purchasing a tract of wild land near Ravenna, Ohio, removed thither, and began the work of clearing another farm; which, by the aid of his sons, was effected when George Bissell reached the age of twenty-one. The education received by Mr. Bissell was limited to what the farm-boy in a newly settled country could obtain in the frontier district school, which he attended at intervals. After having attained his majority, he determined to seek other means of livelihood than those to be obtained on a farm, and left his home, and proceeded to the city of Detroit. Arriving there in 1842, he entered the employment of Watkins & Bissell, who were in the produce and grocery trade,— the junior partner, A. E. Bissell, being his uncle. He remained some four years; and, in the spring of 1846, in company with several other gentlemen, made an expedition to the Lake Superior regions to explore for copper and. iron, which had then been discovered to exist in that country in large quantities, the fact creating considerable excitement. The party spent several months in making explorations, coasting from the Sault to Marquette in a Mackinaw boat; located various mining lands, and built several houses on Isle Royale. They returned to Detroit in the fall, after having exhausted all their capital, but without perfecting their title to the land located, which consequently passed out of their possession. In the spring of 1847, with F. W. Backus, he started the produce and commission house of Backus & Bissell. Two years afterwards, his partner retired, and Mr. Bissell conducted the business alone until 1863. Meeting with a fair degree of success, in 1850 he made his first venture in the vessel business, having purchased the brig "Alvin Clark." This having proved financially successful, he began to invest as largely in vessel property as his means would permit; and, in the course of ten or twelve years, became one of the largest ship owners in the city of Detroit. In 1863 he retired from the produce and commission business, and devoted his time entirely to the management of his vessels. He has built ten sailing vessels and two steamboats during this time, and has sent six ships laden with grain, lumber, and staves from the western lakes to Liverpool and return; one of them being the second that made the voyage from Lake Erie to Europe. In 1872 he became a member of the firm of R. A. Alger & Co., in the manufacture of long timber and lumber. They are operating in Alcona County, owning large tracts of pine lands, where they are getting out long timber and logs. They have recently introduced there the new system of logging by steam power, by means of a narrow-gauge railroad running into the woods for the transportation of logs to the lake shore. This has proved a successful system, inasmuch as it enables them to get out timber during the entire year, instead of being obliged to confine their operations to a few months each winter. Politically, Mr. Bissell has acted with the Republican party, but has refused to accept any political office, though he has been repeatedly requested to do so. He has given his whole time and energies to his business, meeting with a reasonable amount of success as a reward. He was married, at Detroit, in December, 1847, to Miss Eliza C. Sanderson, a niece of the late Colonel Levi Cook, of Detroit. They have one daughter now living, who is the wife of James E. Davis, of the firm of Farrand, Williams & Co." -- Source: American Biographical History of Eminent and Self and Self-Made Men, Michigan Volume, 1878, p 11.
"Detroit suffers its first automobile fatality. At about 9:00 A.M., eighty-one-year-old Detroit businessman George W. Bissell was guiding his horse-drawn carriage down Brooklyn Avenue when an automobile “scorched” by. The horses became frightened and jumped, causing one of the carriage’s wheels to fall off. Bissell was pitched forward, striking his head on the pavement. He was pronounced dead of a fractured skull at 11:15 A.M." -- Michigan History magazine, 2 Sept 1902.
This BISSELL-COOK family plot has visible and legible markers for George W. Bissell, Eliza C. Bissell, Susan Sanderson, Levi Cook, Eliza Cook (wife of Levi Cook), James E. Davis, Mary E. Davis, Katharine W. Pingree, Gilbert Bissell Pingree, Alice Davis Mesritz and August Mesritz.
Eliza C Sanderson Bissell
1824–1889 (m. 1847)
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