Born in Baden
Nancy L. Royce
PHILIP BACH is the senior member of the popular and well-known firm of Bach, Abel & Co., dealers in dry-goods, cloaks, notions, etc., and located in Ann Arbor. Mr. Bach was born in Baden, Germany, March 20, 1820. He was the second in order of birth of twelve children born to Philip J. and Barbara (Dick) Bach. His parents emigrated to America in 1829 and located first at Easton. Pa., in Northampton County and in a few years — in 1835 — they removed to Michigan which was then a Territory, locating first at Ann Arbor, but shortly after removed to Freedom Township, locating on a farm where they carried on general farming in a small way. The father died in 1865, the mother having passed away in 1864.
Our subject, Philip Bach, after being reared on the farm until reaching young manhood, settled in Ann Arbor and became a clerk for the firm of Brown & Co., merchants, with whom he remained for twelve months. He was afterward with E. Root & Sons, and in 1839 formed a partnership with Mr. Abel, and in 1843 in the fall season entered the employ of C. B. Thompson. This partnership lasted from 1843 to 1853, at which latter date Mr. Bach sold out and went into business with Peasor & Hewitt. He later entered into partnership with Mr. Abel which continued until the death of the latter in 1890, and at that time a part of his interests were purchased by Zachariah Heath, when the firm became that of Bach, Abel & Co.
The firm carry a very fine stock of well-selected dry-goods, cloaks and notions and do a good business. Mr. Bach was first married to Hannah Polhemus by whom he had one child, now Mrs. Hannah H. Warner, of the city of Mexico. Mr. Bach was a second time married in 1855 to Miss Nancy Royce. By her he had four children, they being James R., Philip, Jr., a merchant in New Mexico, Mary L., the widow of Wm. R. Henderson, residing at home, and Rudolph G., deceased. In 1876 Mr. Bach was again married, this time to Annie Botsford, to whom two children have been born —Nellie and Waldo B.
He was elected Mayor in 1858 and served one term. In 1857 he was elected as a member of the School Board and served for nearly thirty-four years. He is Vice President and Director of the First National Bank of Ann Arbor and has been connected with it since its organization, having also held the office of President. He is at present Director of the Detroit Fire mid Marine Insurance Company and has been so connected since its organization in 1866. During the years which have passed and which have demonstrated its success, it has proved to be one of the solid institutions of the State of Michigan.
Source: Excerpt from Portrait and Biographical Album of Washtenaw Co., Michigan, 1891, pp 633-634