FRANK S. BELCHER
FRANK S. BELCHER. “Loyal au Morte,” which is subscribed beneath the family coat of arms of Gov. Belcher of Massachusetts, could never have received a more noble and faithful observance than was shown by one of the descendants of that family and who is the subject of this sketch. Frank S. Belcher was prominently identified with the business and social interests of the city of Charlotte for a quarter of a century and was one of the county’s prominent and honored citizens, -- a man of affairs and one whose name typified all of integrity, sincerity and rectitude Mr. Belcher was born in the state of Kentucky, in the year 1845, and was the eldest in a family of seven children, the parents both dying before any of the number had reached maturity, so that the eldest, the subject of this memoir, was thrown upon his characteristic devotion and fealty prompted him to do all possible for the support and aid of the younger brothers and sisters. When about sixteen years of age he set forth to carve out his own career, proceeding to the state of Mississippi, where he remained for some time, then returning northward up the Mississippi river to Cairo, Illinois, where he clerked in a clothing store for a time. He finally returned to Mississippi where he clerked in mercantile establishments and finally engaged in business for himself. During his residence in Mississippi he also served for some time as sheriff of Coahoma and Tunica counties, having been appointed by Gov. Alcorn during the reconstruction period and undoubtedly while serving in this capacity he developed that quality of fearlessness which was a pronounced characteristic of his life. In 1871 he came to Michigan and took up his residence in the city of Charlotte, which he ever afterward looked upon as his home. Here he first engaged in the abstract business, having a fine set of abstracts of titles in the county, and finally he became largely concerned in real estate operations and other important lines of enterprise. He acquired large capitalistic interests in various sections of the Union, and was one of the leading citizens of Charlotte during the time of his residence here. From an article published in a Charlotte paper at the time of his death is taken the following epitome of his business and capitalistic associations: “During his twenty-five years’ residence in Charlotte, Mr. Belcher has been active in business matters and closely identified with questions of a public nature where capital and an advisory aptitude made him valuable and proficient. For many years he has had connections with the First National Bank and has been its president since the retirement of Hon. E.S. Lacy from that position. He was the original mover in placing the electric light plant in the city, and for several years was its principal owner and backer. He has also been prominent in the W.C. Belcher Land & Mortgage Company, of Fort Worth, Texas; a large lumber company in Arkansas; and but recently helped to reorganize The Phoenix National Bank of Phoenix, Arizona, of which institution he was made president. Other projects were also under advisement and in progress at this place He was in religious and social matters also as active as in business For over twenty years he has been a member of the Congregational church and active much of the time in its various departments of work. For about fifteen years he has been treasurer of Olivet College and very much interested in its work and success. In a fraternal way he was a member of the various orders of Masonry in this city, from the blue lodge to the commandry, inclusive, and while not able to give as much time to the work as some others, he always manifested an interest in each of the bodies.” Mr. Belcher was in Texas at the time of his death, which occurred in Rockport, on the 28th of November, 1896. While his health had been greatly impaired for a number of years, his death came as a shock to his countess friends and admirers in Michigan, his remains being brought to Charlotte for interment, while every mark of respect and sorrow was accorded on the occasion of the final obsequies. He was a man who ever had the utmost respect for the dignity of honest toil and endeavor, having passed through the strenuous ordeal of gaining personal success through individual effort. He was endowed with great business sagacity and broad mental ken; was a genial, polished gentleman, ever gaining lessons from his reading, observation and his association with the practical affairs of life. But over all and above all stood the intrinsic nobility of the man, and the lesson of his life offers all of incentive and calls for all of commendation and honor. He was a stanch Republican, but practical politics offered no allurement to him, though his public spirit was ever in striking evidence when maters touching the general welfare came up for consideration. He erected one of the most beautiful modern homes in the city of Charlotte, and in the same his widow still resides, surrounded by a wide circle of devoted friends. February 4, 1871, Mr. Belcher was united in Marriage to Miss Lou A. Pratt, who was born in the state of New York, and who, after the death of her father, came to Michigan with her widowed mother, settling in Charlotte, where her mother died in 1880. She is a daughter of Nathaniel and Almira Pratt, both native of New York state. Mr. Belcher is survived by two children, Fred. S., who is a resident of Toledo, O., and who married Miss Gertrude Owen, of Columbus, O., and Maude L., who is the wife of Frank J. Cobbs, of Cadillac, Michigan.