Joel Prouty Muzzy

Muzzy and Currier and Grocer

Joel Prouty Muzzy was born October 8, 1816 in Rutland, Worchester, Massachusetts to Eli Muzzy (1780-1868) and Persis Prouty Muzzy (1779-1864).  He had an older brother, Dexter Muzzy (1811-1890).  His mother was a descendent of Resolve White, who was a passenger on the Mayflower.  His great grandfather, John Muzzy (1738-1819) was a Revolutionary War patriot.

Dexter Muzzy came to the area of Romeo in 1837 and at various times worked as a merchant, blacksmith, wagon maker, farmer, and operated a foundry.  Exactly when Joel and his parents came to Michigan is not know with any certainty.  They do not show on the 1840 census for Michigan. 

Joel married Mary Torrey Read on November 1, 1842 in Worchester, Worchester County, Massachusetts.  Mary was born on September 4, 1820 in Worchester, Worchester county, Massachusetts.  Her parents are not known.

It appears that shortly after getting married, Joel and Mary moved to Almont.  Their first child, Abby Read Muzzy (1843-1847) was born in Almont on October 24, 1843.  They had three more children born in Almont; Maria Augusta Muzzy (1846-1925), Alfred Dwight Muzzy (1850-1892) and Abby Elizabeth Muzzy (1854-1903).  Their last two children were born in Romeo: Mary Muzzy (1860-1865) and Joel Howard Muzzy (1865-1933).

In 1844, Joel P. Muzzy and a Mr. Barrows opened the Muzzy and Barrows foundry.   Mr. Barrows first name is unknown.  There are two possibilities: Dennis Barrows (1800-1851) who is buried in Imlay Cemetery in Imlay City or Eber Barrows (1796-1890) who is buried in the Metamora Cemetery in Metamora.

During the 1840s the manufacturing of iron or steel products was still done as individual items.  The castings had to be machined and the parts fitted together.  Manufacturing by creating interchangeable parts was only done in large scale operations.  As a result, the forged parts created by Muzzy and Barrows had to be sent to a separate building; the machine shop to be fine tuned and fitted together.

In 1851, Frederick Plummer Currier Sr. bought out Mr. Burrows share of the company.  Given that Dennis Burrows died in 1851, it is possible that he was the owner and the purchased occurred just before or just after his death but that is speculation.  At the time of the purchase, Mr. Currier was operating a machine shop.  The new firm of Muzzy and Currier in 1853 bought the site of the Price and Hendershot business at the northwest corner of School and Main Streets [now location of Dollar General].  They erected one facility to house both the foundry and machine shop.  They initially produced stoves and plows.  Just after moving into their new building, they constructed the first steam engine built in Lapeer County.

Sometime between 1854 when Abby Elizabeth Muzzy was born in Almont and 1860 when Mary Muzzy was born in Romeo, Joel sold his share of the business to Frederick Currier and the business became the Currier Agricultural Works.

Joel P. Muzzy moved to Romeo and became a grocer.  His parents, Eli and Persis Muzzy moved to Romeo sometime shortly after 1860.  Joel died November 23, 1891 in Romeo and was buried in the Romeo Cemetery.  Mary Muzzy lived another thirteen years and died November 10, 1904 and was buried next to Joel.

AUTHOR’S NOTE:  Joel’s brother, Dexter, changed his name to Mussey because it was to “cumbersome” to write the letter “Z”.  Unconfirmed (at this point) but this may be the source of the name for Mussey Township in St. Clair County.

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