Saginaw Bay Fish Company Records

Summary Information

Michigan State University Archives and Historical Collections
Saginaw Bay Fish Company (Caseville, Mich.).
Saginaw Bay Fish Company records
Date [inclusive]
1.0 Cubic feet , 13 ledgers on shelf

Preferred Citation note

Researchers wishing to cite this collection should include the following information: "Item title, Collection title, Collection Identifier, Michigan State University Archives & Historical Collections, East Lansing,Michigan".

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Scope and Contents of the Records

The collection is composed of selected business records (1898-1931), associated articles from the Saginaw Bay Fish Co. of Caseville, Michigan and also the Ballard Fish Company, The Bay Port Fish Company, the W.J. Orr Fish Company, all of Bay Port, Michigan.

Documents pertaining to each of the companies:

Ballard Fish Co. - located in Box 1, folders 1 through 3. Records cover from the founding in 1898 until 1915. The company was established by the loan of equipment from the Bay Port Fish Co. of materials which remained with the Bay Port Fish Co. until they were paid for. There is nothing to indicate whether or not they ceased operations in 1915. Documents included are the founding agreement, articles of association, annual reports, statistics of fish catch for 1913, federal tax returns, Huron County Taxes, and bank loans. Ledgers 1 through 5. Journals of daily transactions for the complete period of August, 1905 through August 1915. Employees time records from December 1906 through July 1915.

Bay Port Fish Co. - located in Box 1, folders 4 through 20, Box 2, folder 11. As indicated above, the Bay Port Fish Co. established the Ballard Fish Co. in 1898. Therefore, it was in existence at that date. In addition to their closing statement for the fiscal year ending July 31, 1915, and a price list for July 1, 1918, the only other records of the company included are the accounts payable for the years of 1921 through 1931. These records were kept jointly with the Saginaw Bay Fish Co. Each billing is listed for the individual company and the suppliers never sent a joint statement or total for the two companies. However, the shipping instructions for the Bay Port invoices were to ship to the Saginaw Bay Fish Co. in Caseville. Also, the invoices were checked by the same individual person as the initials are identical and they were paid from the same checking - account as the sequence follows irrespective of the companies.

W.J. Orr Fish Co. - located in Box 2, folder 1. Monthly bank balance statements from January 1912 through December 1913. Ledgers 6 through 9. Journals of daily transactions from May, 1911 through August 1915. Employees time records from December 1906 through July 1915.

Saginaw Bay Fish Co. - located in Box 1, folders 4 through 20. Box 2, folders 7 through 10 and invoices in Box 2 and Box 3 that are not in folders. Documents include accounts payable for 1921 through 1931 as described above under the Bay Port Fish Co. The daily listings for the complete year of 1931 of paid outs for labor and operating expenses and receipts and deposits. For the fall of 1922 and the fall of 1931, breakdowns of the fresh fish accounts and labor costs indicating the piece-meal labor system used for certain tasks in production. Sales invoices for the period January, 1922 through July 1924 and January 1927 through May 1928. Ledgers 10 through 13. Journals of daily transactions for the complete period of March, 1910 through April 1923. Ledger #13 is an appraisal of the company done by the Coats & Burchard Co. of Chicago, on April 25, 1920.

In addition to the specific records above, there also are associated articles that are of interest. In Box #2, folder 2, there is a thorough report drawn up by the Michigan Central Railroad on the construction of ice houses giving information regarding the innovation of substituting dead air-space for saw dust as an insulator. The report is dated December 1909. In Box #2, folders 3 & 4, there are letters covering the period 1883-1889 arising from attempts of Frank Lawrence (Real Estate Office, E. Saginaw) acting as an agent for Wm. L. Webber (of E. Saginaw) to purchase various lots around Sand Point, Huron County. According to Riparian Law, fisherman could not fish commercially within 1 1/2 miles of the shore unless they owned the land. Therefore, there existed an advantage to own land in particularly productive areas. Perhaps these letters are a function of this phenomena and the people involved were with one of the Fish companies.

In Box #2, folder 5, there is the tax history of lots on Pt. Lookout, Arenac County, Michigan for the years 1884 through 1910. In Drawer 45 of the Map Case there is an 1857 manuscript map of the S.E. shore of Saginaw Bay. This section includes Sand Point in Huron County.

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Administrative Information

Publication Information

Michigan State University Archives and Historical Collections November 1964

Conrad Hall
888 Wilson Road, Room 101
East Lansing , MI, 48824

Revision Description

  September 2000

Conditions Governing Access note

Collection is open for research.

Legal Status

Copyright: Michigan State University Property Rights: Michigan State University

Conditions Governing Use note

Permission to publish material from this collection must be obtained from University Archives & Historical Collections, Michigan State University.

Custodial History

Gift of Harry Englehard, transferred by the MSU Museum.

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Controlled Access Headings

Corporate Name(s)

  • Ballard Fish Company.
  • Bay Port Fish Company. (Mich.)
  • Michigan Central Railroad Company.
  • Saginaw Bay Fish Company (Caseville, Mich.).

Geographic Name(s)

  • Arenac County (Mich.)
  • Bay Port (Mich.)
  • Caseville (Mich.)
  • Huron County (Mich.)
  • Lookout, Point (Arenac County, Mich.)
  • Saginaw Bay (Mich.) -- Maps
  • Saginaw County (Mich.)
  • Sand Point (Mich.)

Personal Name(s)

  • Lawrence, Frank
  • Orr, William J.
  • Webber, William L.


  • Fish trade -- Economic aspects -- Michigan
  • Fish trade -- Michigan
  • Icehouses
  • Real estate business
  • Taxation -- Michigan
  • Technological innovations

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Collection Inventory



Ballard Fish Company 

Box Folder

Incorporation Papers & Annual Reports 1868-1915 

1 1

Tax Returns 1907-1915 

1 2

Trial Balances. Miscellaneous 1911-1914 

1 3

Bay Port Fish Company. Accounts Payable 

Box Folder

 1921-1931 [A] 

1 4

 1921-1931 [B-Bo] 

1 5

 1921-1931 [Br-C] 

1 6

 1921-1931 [D-I] 

1 7

 1921-1931 [J] 

1 8-13

 1921-1931 [K-L] 

1 14

 1921-1921 [M-Mon] 

1 15

 1921-1931 [Mori-Morr] 

1 16

 1921-1931 [Morr-Pa] 

1 17

 1921-1931 [Pi-Se] 

1 18

 1921-1931 [Se-V] 

1 19

 1921-1931 [W-Z] 

1 20
Box Folder

W.J. Orr Fish Company. Monthly Balance Statements January 1912-December 1913 

2 1

Michigan Central Railroad Company. Report on Construction of Ice Houses December 1909 

2 2

Correspondence: Land Purchases. Sand Port, Huron County , Michigan 

Box Folder


2 3


2 4
Box Folder

Tax History. Lots on Point Lookout. Arense County, Michigan 1884-1910 

2 5

Surveyors Map of S.E. Shore of Saginaw Bay 1857 (See Oversized Mats.) 

2 6

Daily Receipts & Expenditures 

Box Folder

 January-April 1931 

2 7

 May-August 1931 

2 8

 September-December 1931 

2 9
Box Folder

Fresh Fish Accounts & Labor Costs Fall 1922, Fall 1931 

2 10

Bay Port. Fish Company. Price List, July 1918, Closing Statement July 31, 1915 

2 11

 1920, n.d. 

2 12


2 13-22


3 1-6


3 7-9


3 10-16


3 17

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Oversized Materials 


Dr. 45: Manuscript of the Southeast Shore of Saginaw Bay 


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Ledgers 1-5: Daily transactions, 1905-1915; Employee records, 1906-1915 

1 - 5

Ledgers 6-9: Daily transactions, 1911-1915; Employee records, 1906-1915 

6 - 9

Ledgers 10-13: Daily transactions, 1910-1923 

10 - 13

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