Henry Hulbert Obituary 1901

Sudden Death For Henry Hulbert


From the Colon Express, November 1901: “Veteran Solicitor for the L. K. G. Company was stricken Sunday with Heart Disease. Suddenly, without warning, Henry Hulbert the popular L. K. G. salesman, entered his last repose from an effection of the heart as he was walking near Dickinson’s Market about one o’clock Sunday afternoon after he had eaten dinner. Several friends saw him fall backwards to the ground as he was crossing the street but efforts at resuscitation were unavailing. He was carried to the home and word telephoned to his daughter, Miss Berenice who arrived shortly from Coldwater. The shock to her and Mrs. Hulbert was very great but they endured the trying ordeal with great fortitude.

Henry Roberts Hulbert was born at Grafton, Ohio, May 8, 1835, and was 66 years of age. His father, Wm. Hulbert, was a newspaper writer of distinction at Pittsfield, Mass., and at Grafton. His only brother died in infancy.

With his mother Henry came to Matteson from Ohio in 1844, and early developed a taste for commercial life. Being proficient in mathematics in school and expert in the use of the science in practical business. After three years residence at Matteson, with his mother and grandmother he came to Colon and at the age of fourteen entered the employ of his uncle Thomas Bargour, who later enlisted in the Union cause and died in the service with measles. He thoroughly mastered the art in three years and at the age of seventeen engaged in the business of making and repairing harness on his own responsibility, turning out excellent work.

In 1866 he sold out and with Dr. Reynolds engaged in handling general merchandise and drugs in the Born block. Nine months later he opened a general store in the Wonsey block continuing it for twelve years. Eight years later he engaged in the grocery trade in the Clement building which burned down twelve years ago with considerable loss to himself, where the Frary market now stands.

Two years later or about eleven years ago, he entered the employ of the Lamb Knit Goods Co. as solicitor through southern Michigan, Indiana and Kentucky, his sales reaching $20,000 a year and in Michigan $13,000 this year.

January 29, 1861, he was united in marriage at Burr Oak to Miss Hannah M. Cline, daughter of Ephraim Cline, of Sherwood township. Four children were born to them, John H. who died in infancy, Jennie B., wife of L. L. Tallman, who died at Walla Walla, Wash., about three years ago at the age of 26, Fred O. who died on his return from Chicago in 1896, consumption being the cause in both cases, and Miss Bernice, formerly the efficient librarian of the public library at Three Rivers, and now in the employ of the Southern Michigan National bank at Coldwater as assistant bookkeeper.

Mr. Hulbert was a man of integrity, generous and obliging to friends, faithful to his employers and honorable in dealing, as well as devoted to his family.

Funeral services were held at the home Tuesday, Rev. Aunks officiating. Interment at Lakeside.”

Lamb Knit Goods Lawsuit

How Would You Decide?


Joe Ganger


I had heard that Issac Lamb had left the local Lamb Knit because he was not happy. There was more trouble later on when a lawsuit was filed.

From “The Lawyers reports annotated”, Volumes 43-44: Lamb Knit-Goods Co v. Lamb Glove & Mitten Co.

“Montgomery, J., delivered the opinion of the court:

The complainant avers by its bill of complaint that it is a corporation, with its home offices in Colon, Michigan; that, prior to its organization, the defendant Issac W. Lamb had organized a company at Concord, Michigan, known as the Lamb Knitting Company,” and at the time of the complainant’s organization it acquired all of the property, business, and goodwill of the Lamb Knitting Company from Issac W. Lamb, and paid a valuable consideration therefore; that at the time of the organization of the complainant, Issac W. Lamb was interested in the organization of the company and raised a large amount of the capital stock; that the complainant assumed the name of the “Lamb Knitting-Goods Company,” with the knowledge and consent and at the desire of Issac W. Lamb; that the complainant was organized to conduct a business similar to that which had been previously conducted by the Lamb Knitting Company, which was the manufacture and sale of knitting goods, principally gloves and mittens; that these gloves and mittens had in the main been knitted with a peculiar stitch, and that from the connection of complainant’s name with said goods the peculiar stitch had become known as the “Lamb Stitch;” that gloves and mittens may be manufactured by the same machine with a different stitch, which will be equal to the complainant’s in durability; that the stitch used by the complainant is for the purpose of distinguishing complainant’s goods’ that after the organization of complainant, Issac W. Lamb was in its employ for a number of years as superintendent, but that he had become dissatisfied, and left complainant’s employ on the 8th of April, 1892; that thereafter he, with the assistance of others, organized a company known as the “Lamb Glove and Mitten Company,” at Perry, Michigan, and commenced to manufacture gloves and mittens knitted with the same peculiar stitch as that employed by the complainant; that the name adopted by the defendant company is similar to that adopted by the complainant, and that purchasers and dealers are deceived thereby, and buy the goods of the defendant believing them to be the goods of the complainant; that the business of the complainant has been damaged thereby. Complainant avers that it is entitled to the exclusive use of the word “Lamb” in connection with knit goods of any description, and to the word “Lamb” in its corporate name; that it has the exclusive right to use the peculiar stitch; and that for this reason the words “Lamb Knit” have become and are a valid trademark at common law. The bill prays an accounting and an injunction.

The answer admits that the complainant assumed the name of the “Lamb Knit-Goods Company,” with the knowledge and consent if Issac W. Lamb, but denies that the complainant is entitled to the exclusive use of the words “Lamb Knit” goods, or the use of the word “Lamb” in connection with other words indicating knit goods. The answer also admits that the complainant acquired all the property, business and goodwill of the Lamb Knitting Company, but avers that Lamb acted in the transaction, not for himself, but as an agent for the Lamb Knitting Company. The answer also admits that the defendant corporation organized with, and is conducting a business under, the name of the “Lamb Glove and Mitten Company,” but denies the allegation that this name is so similar to the complainant’s as to mislead purchasers and dealers. The answer further avers that the peculiar stitch adopted by the complainant has been in common use for many years; that the defendant Lamb was the inventor of a knitting machine upon which this stitch was made, under patents granted to him, to the Lamb Knitting-Machine Company of Rochester, New York, and the Lamb Knitting-Machine Company of Chicopee Falls, Massachusetts,” and that this last-named corporation is still doing business under the name of the “Lamb Manufacturing Company,” and is manufacturing Lamb knitting machines; that in 1868 defendant Lamb invented a machine for knitting many kinds of knit goods, and procured a patent thereon, and afterwards procured patents on various improvements; that in 1885 he issued printed directions for using the “New Lamb Knitter,” manufactured by the New Lamb Knitting Company of Jackson, Michigan; that a large number of persons purchased these machines; that a large number of persons and corporations which use these machines advertise such goods as made by the Lamb Knitters, and that the name of “Lamb” as applied to knitting machines, and the terms “Lamb Knit” and “Lamb Goods, “ have been in common use in this country, by a large number of different persons, firms, and corporations, for more than twenty years. The case was heard on pleadings and proofs, and the bill dismissed. Complainant appeals.

We are well satisfied that the complainant has not established its right to the exclusive use of the term “Lamb Knit.” The testimony shows that the goods manufactured on the Lamb machine were in common use many years before the organization of complainant company, and that to distinguish such goods from goods knitted on other machines they were designated as “Lamb Goods,” “Lamb Machine Goods” or “Lamb Knit Goods.” It also appears that the peculiar stitch which complainant claims the exclusive right to use was in common use before complainant adopted it.

The case narrows down to the single question whether the defendant infringed the rights of complainant by use of a corporate name so similar to that of complainant as to mislead the public, and, if so, what remedy ought to be applied. There can be no doubt that by the transfer to the complainant of the goodwill of the Lamb Knitting Company it was the intention of the defendant Lamb to grant the right to use his name in connection with the complainant’s business. In fact, he assisted in organizing the corporation, and became a stockholder in the complainant company. The statute (How.Anno.Stat. 4161) authorizes the formation of a corporation, and provides that no two companies shall use the same name or a name so similar as to be liable to mislead. It is contended that the defendant Lamb has entered into no express agreement not to use his own name, and that Mr. Lamb, in making a sale of the Lamb Knitting Company to the complainant, was acting on the behalf of the Concord company and that the Concord company could not, and Mr. Lamb did not, sell the exclusive right to use Mr. Lamb’s name nor undertake that he would not engage in any similar business elsewhere. It appears, however, that the proposition of complainant came from Mr. Lamb, and, as before stated, he is estopped from asserting that the company did not take its name rightfully.


The case was appealed and the Appellate Court said:


In the present case the testimony shows that dealers have been misled, and in view of the fact that the complainant’s business is largely the manufacture of gloves and mittens, and that the name “Lamb” is prominent in the corporate name, we think it is likely to mislead.


The decree will be reversed and a decree entered restraining the defendant from continuing the use of the corporate name “Lamb Glove & Mitten Company,” or any name in which the word “Lamb” appears, in connection with other words indicating a business similar to that of complainant. Subject to this restriction, defendant is at liberty to advertise its goods as made on the Lamb knitting machine.


The other Justices concur.


Lamb Knit Goods Company

I need a cord of wood carried to the third floor!

History is a fun thing, but it is even more fun if you can look at it and reach out and touch it. We have a few buildings in our area that fit the bill. One of them is the Colon Seminary building. Before you start getting ideas, pay a visit to the dictionary. This is one of the words that have changed a bit in meaning over the years. For our purpose, the meaning is simply “a school of higher education.”

So there really was a seminary in Colon. It began in 1858 from donations by H. K. Farrand, Phineas Farrand, A. J. Kinne, Charles Miller, W. F. Bowman and Adam Bower. Many of the graduates of the school became schoolteachers.




The number of students increased so rapidly that in 1863 (during the Civil War) a new brick building was erected at a cost (including land) of $9,000.

Dedication was on August 20, 1863 and Judge J. Eastman Johnson delivered an address. Elias Cooley Jr. was the first teacher in the new building.

That building still stands today. It is the center portion of the old Lamb Knit Goods factory, later called Woodcrafters, and now practically abandoned. The original seminary building was thirty four by seventy feet and three stories high. The third floor was used as a public hall for various community gatherings. As I stood looking inside it trying to soak up some history I couldn’t help but notice that there were six short chimneys (started on the third floor). That means there were six stoves to feed! Someone had to carry wood up and ashes down. There is an old saying about getting warm more than once when you burn wood (cutting being one of them). Add another get-warm session!

The only other competitor of the seminary here was the one in White Pigeon. The enterprise was abandoned in 1867. The building was rented out to the public schools until 1889 when it was sold and became the main building of the Lamb Knit Goods Company. Later on the “cupola” on top was added to facilitate addition of a freight elevator. During the Second World War the Ground Observer Corps used this cupola to track aircraft (1941 – 1945). In the fifties Operation Skywatch used it. Technology was able to replace people and the programs were abandoned in 1959. The names written on the walls of the “cupola” are a history I wish we could preserve. Lamb Knit officially closed their doors in 1971.


Lamb Knit Goods Company

Lamb Knit Goods Company

From The Colon Express, April 5, 1895: “About six years ago I. W. Lamb, a man who is known all over the world as the inventor of the Lamb Knitting Machine, came to Colon with a proposition to establishing a factory for manufacturing gloves and mittens with an improved machine. Some of the prominent businessmen of Colon took hold of the matter and made an effort to form a stock company. Little was imagined of the real results of this effort. Hopes were high and some moderate castles were built in the air, but the hopes have all been more than fulfilled and the castles have been found to have a foundation on financial rock. The growth has been solid and sure under the present management.



The cutting room at Lamb Knit Goods


The first two or three years, like all new ventures, it was not a paying investment, but the goods, now recognized to be the best on earth, had to be introduced, and the foundations well laid before the superstructure could be erected. The president of the company, Charles Clement, is one of the substantial businessmen of the town, and conducts a general store on State Street in the finest double block in this section. Mr. Clement is also a fancier of fine horses and drives some well-known steppers. Edwin R. Hill, secretary and treasurer, is a man well fitted for the position. President of the Exchange Bank, his wide experience in money matters has enabled him to pilot the finances of this concern safely among the rocks of disaster when other wrecks were all about. Thomas J. Hill, the superintendent, under whose management the Colon knitting mills have emerged from a doubtful to an assured success, is just the man for the place, his ability along this line having been so fully demonstrated that the board of directors have reelected him to succeed himself each year and will undoubtedly continue to do so. Mrs. O. K. S. Leland, the assistant superintendent, is one who has been in the employ of the company from the first, and cannot be excelled as a bookkeeper and understands perfectly the minor details of the business.




Colon, the beautiful city by the lakes, is proud of her industry and well she may be, for it is the largest manufactory of high-grade gloves and mittens in the world. Other institutions have been organized and have put imitations of the Lamb Knit Goods on the market but they have only succeeded in making an inferior article and more firmly establishing the reputation of the Colon mills. Each succeeding year has found the factory unable to keep pace with the demand for goods and each year new additions have been made. This year there will be sixty machines running in the knitting room with 500 hands on the pay roll. Every day the superintendent is receiving inquiries from dealers in regard to goods, fearing they may not be able to get them for another season. The traveling men will start out earlier this season taking the road in April and ten men will be employed instead of six heretofore in this capacity. The best stock, silk, saxony and Australians, coupled with the best expert workmanship have made a very enviable reputation for this institution.”