Sometimes I like to take little side adventures into the family histories of people that aren’t related to me at all. Through my work at Rochester University and their “Michigan Churches of Christ” collection, I became acquainted with John S. Gray and Alexander Malcomson – two men who helped Henry Ford found his company in 1903 and who were members of the church of Christ. In trying to connect Gray and Malcomson genealogically (various sources mention that Malcomson was Gray’s nephew), I created a family tree. As the tree grew more and more, their connection to the Plum Street Church of Christ and the Ford Motor Company (though not the uncle/nephew connection) grew clearer. Many of the prominent businessmen of the day attended Plum Street and its associated congregations, and married women from other prominent families in the city that also attended. Individually, these families contributed to the business scene of the city, but through marriages they solidified their social status. Hopefully this series will show the fascinating interconnectedness between the families belonging to what became the Plum Street church of Christ and the involvement of these families in the social and business life of the City of Detroit, not only with Ford Motor Company, but also with ice and coal companies, general stores, and the great architecture firm of Malcomson & Higginbotham.
Topics I hope to cover in this series:
- John S. Gray and family and his role in Ford Motor Co.
- Alexander Y. Malcomson, his family, his coal company and his role in Ford Motor Co.
- William G. Malcomson, his family, and his architecture firm
- Charles A. Lorman and the Belle Isle Ice Company
- Alexander Linn family (Linn Brothers)
- Vernon Fry and family and his role in Ford Motor Co.
- Gourlay Brothers – George, James, and Alfred
- Colin Campbell and Family
- Beginnings and evolution of the church of Christ/Disciples of Christ/Christian church in Detroit (of which I am not an expert, but I did consult a number of historical resources)