Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Lathrop Cooley Stow (1849-1923)

   Lathrop Cooley Stow was a wealthy Grand Rapids, Michigan furniture manufacturer who served one term as mayor of that city in the late 1890s. A native of Ohio, Lathrop Stow was born in Summit County on January 16, 1849, a son of Zebulon and Edytha Walcott Stow. He and his family resided in Ohio until 1863, whereafter they removed to Michigan. Here Lathrop would complete his education and in 1870 married to Frances M. Teeple (1851-1913) with whom he would later have one daughter, Bertha Stow Witwer (1875-1948).
   In 1872 Stow resettled in Grand Rapids and for three years afterward dabbled in real estate. Around this same time, Lathrop's older brother Russell (who had migrated to Grand Rapids a few years earlier) had begun making a name for himself as a furniture manufacturer, being the owner of the Stow and Haight Furniture Co. (later to undergo a name change to the Stow and Davis Furniture Co.) Following his brother's example, Lathrop Stow saw the furniture industry as a lucrative proposition, and in 1876 established the Grand Rapids Furniture Company, of which he would own a "half-interest."
  From the mid-1870s until 1893 Stow would remain engaged with the company he founded, eventually selling off his interest in the last named year. Two years following the sale he joined his brother's company as treasurer, and in April 1896 won election as Mayor of Grand Rapids, defeating incumbent mayor Charles D. Stebbins by "a majority of less than 100." Noted as being the "first two-year incumbent" to hold that post, Stow served as mayor until 1898 and a few years after leaving that office began a stint as a member of the Grand Rapids Board of Public Works.
  After many years of prominence in Grand Rapids, Lathrop Stow and his family left that city in 1907 and removed to Weld County, Colorado, where he would reside for the remainder of his life. During his residency here Stow developed an interest in ranching and for a time resided at the S.L.W. Ranch (owned and operated by his son-in-law, Stow Lathrop Witwer.) The former Grand Rapids mayor died in Greeley on January 8, 1923 at age 73, his cause of death being given as "hardening of the arteries." Widowed in 1913, both Stow and his wife were interred at the Linn Grove Cemetery in Greeley.

Portrait from the "Men of Michigan", published 1904.

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