Martha Hay

Title

Martha Hay

Subject

Business/lumber

Description

Female lumber company owner in late 19th c.

Creator

Amy French

Source

Image: Mid-Michigan Remembers

Birth Date

1847

Birthplace

Dixboro, Michigan, USA

Death Date

1928

Occupation

Lumber company owner

Biographical Text

Martha Hay (nee Hawkins) was a successful lumber baroness in Saginaw, Michigan. At a time when society eschewed women in business, the death of Hay's husband allowed her an opening to the world of lumber and afforded her the chance to be a leading businesswoman and capitalist. Hay ran a successful sawmill after the death of her husband, James, in 1881. After giving birth to nine children, by all accounts she proved herself a capable industrialist. According to an account of her prowess, "Mrs. Hay is a woman of marked business abilities, which she abundantly showed in the building of her beautiful home in 1877.) (Portrait and Biographical Records, 370) Hay built a three-story mansion that portrayed cutting-edge architectural style and elegant interior design. A philanthropist, it was written that, "many a heart has been made glad through their [James and Martha] quiet and unostentatious beneficence." (Portrait, 370) Newspaper accounts also attest to her wealth. Moreover, she was the only woman to ever be a member of the Tittabawassee Boom Company. A remarkable and organized woman, Hay continued to grow and lead her company through the lumbering heyday.

Bibliography

Portrait and Biographical Record of Saginaw and Bay Counties. (Chicago: Biographical Publishing Co., 1892).

Martha Hay--Saginaw's Female Lumber Baron, Mid-Michigan Remembers website, Delta College.

On lumbering in Michigan see, Jeremy Kilar, Michigan's Lumbertowns: Lumbermen and Laborers in Saginaw, Bay City, and Muskegon, 1870-1905. (Wayne State University Press, 1990).

Files

marthahay.jpg

Social Bookmarking

Date Added
July 17, 2014
Collection
Local (Michigan)
Item Type
Person
Tags
, , , ,
Citation
Amy French, “Martha Hay,” Women Who Dared, accessed September 18, 2019, https://womenwhodared.omeka.net/items/show/65.