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Lyman T. Covell


Submitted by Theresa M. Raby and Bill Moore


An old-time lumberman of White Hall, a business man of long and successful experience, Lyman T. Covell began his career without capital, having come to western Michigan when a young man and starting out as a day laborer in the lumber camp. Since then he has accumulated a substantial fortune, and while gaining these material rewards for himself has also been an important factor in making western Michigan's land of homes and of permanent business and industry.

In Bradford county, Pennsylvania, Lyman T. Covell was born September 30, 1835, a son of Calvin T. and Elizabeth (Coleman) Covell. His grandfather James Covell was a soldier in the War of 1812, belonged to the New York State militia, and his Great-grandfather Jonathan Covell was of German parentage and was one of the first settlers in Bradford county, Pennsylvania, moving thither from New York State in 1816. Jeremiah Coleman, the maternal grandfather, was born in New York Stat of Irish stock. Calvin T. Covell was born in Washington County, New York and died in 1879. He was married in 1830 to Miss Coleman who was born in New York in 1809 and died 1856. The father spent all his active career as a Pennsylvania farmer. There were twelve children, six of whom are living, mentioned as follows; Lyman T., Rebecca, with of Mr. Staples, living in White Hall; Augusta Lewis, a widow, whose home is in White Hall; Charles E. in business with his brother Mark at White Hall; Mark B. of White Hall; and David Wilmot, a farmer in Muskegon county. The father and mother were both members of the Universalist faith, he was in politics a Republican, and for a number of years held the office of justice of the peace in New York state.

Lyman T. Covell was the first of eight brothers, to come to Michigan and identify themselves with the industrial and business activities of the western portion of the state. His arrival in western Michigan and at White Hall was in the year 1859. For some time he was paid daily wages as a laborer in the lumber camps and mills. Any kind of work, provided it was honorable, was acceptable to this vigorous and enterprising young Pennsylvanian. He had grown up in pioneer times, and had only a limited education, but his native ability was such that he never suffered in competition with other businessmen. In 1864, his experience and his savings enabled him to procure a small sawmill, and in a modest way Mr. Covell began cutting logs into lumber. The size and capacity of the plant were gradually increased and eventually he expended a large part of his resources in investments in timberlands, and his prosperity owing to his good judgment and energetic handling seldom had any reverses, and none of any importance. In 1873, Mr. Covell engaged in the coal trade as a side issue, and at the present time has developed this as a very large enterprise, running both a coal and lumberyard. For a number of years he has conducted a mill for the manufacture of shingles, the shingle mill being operated in conjunction with his lumber mill. Mr. Covell is one of the stockholder and directors of the State Bank of White Hall. Among other interests he has a large farm in the county.

In 1867, Mr. Covell married Eunice C. Hobler, whose father Peter Hobler was born in Germany, and came to White Hall in young manhood, becoming a very successful lumberman. Mr. Covell's two children are George, cashier of the Stat Bank of White Hall; and Frank II, associated with his father in the coal and lumber trade. The family are members of the Congregational Church, his fraternity is the Masonic, and in politics he is an active Republican. His public service includes membership on the town board, and on the school board, and has has always willingly lent his assistance and cooperation to every public enterprise.


Source:  History of Michigan by Charles Moore, 1915     pages 1374 - 1375


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