Ezra Rust

Biography of Ezra Rust

Ezra Rust, born in Vermont in 1832, significantly impacted Saginaw’s development. His family moved to Michigan when he was young, and he spent his early years working in logging and steam boating before returning to run a sawmill. Through consistent saving, he built his fortune by investing in timber lands, eventually forming successful partnerships in lumbering and salt manufacturing. He was also involved in iron-ore in Minnesota. Married to Emma B. Mather, they had two daughters who died in infancy; Emma passed away in 1913. Ezra remarried and adopted a daughter in 1913-1914. Known for his generosity and community improvement efforts, he created Ezra Rust Park, a testament to his commitment to society’s wellbeing. His character, marked by geniality and courtliness, left a lasting legacy in Michigan.

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Thomas Merrill

Biography of Thomas Merrill

Thomas Merrill, though not the earliest pioneer of the Saginaw Valley lumber business, became a significant figure in the industry. Born on April 13, 1815, in Carmel, Maine, he initially worked in farming and local lumbering. In 1849, he owned a sawmill and by 1856, he relocated to Michigan, forging a successful lumbering operation alongside partners like Cyrus Woodman and Henry Corwith, handling massive quantities of lumber without loss. With lumbering’s decline, Merrill diversified into other enterprises and real estate. He married Miss Marie Benjamin and had three children. Respected for his reliability and integrity, Merrill died in 1912 as Saginaw County’s oldest resident, known for his substantial contributions to both business and community life.

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