Reprinted from the Le Roy Historical Society Newsletter, Vol. 4,
Number 1, with permission. Le Roy Historical Society is located at
23 East Main Street, Le Roy, New York 14482.
The Le Roy Plow Company was organized and incorporated in 1899.
Several Le Roy businessmen, including Calvin Keeney, Patrick
Gleason, Butler Ward, Orator Woodward (later of Jell-O fame), and
Thomas Larkin purchased the Miller Manufacturing Company which made
farm implements, including the Miller Bean Harvestor.
The first officers of the company were Butler Ward, President;
Calvin Keeney, Vice President; Orator Woodward, Chairman of the
Executive Committee; Thomas Larkin, Secretary and Treasurer.
The factory was located on the west side of Lake Street, behind
the train station, and was serviced by five railroads: the Buffalo,
Rochester & Pittsburgh, the Erie, the New York Central, the
Lehigh Valley, and the Delaware, Lackawanna &. Western. The
railroads provided necessary delivery for raw materials and easy
delivery service for the manufactured equipment. In 1903, the old
factory burned down and was immediately rebuilt. By 1906, according
to an article in The Old Magazine published by A. L.
Jinks of Le Roy, the Le Roy Plow Company was third in the state in
the production of plows.
The Le Roy plow was designed by Edwin Hall, who owned the
Caledonia Plow Company. It was written that Edwin Hall was one of
the greatest plow experts alive at that time. Another story about
Edwin Hall states that Thomas Larkin convinced Fred Huff, a pattern
maker for the Caledonia Plow Company, to bring the Caledonia plow
patterns to Le Roy. Hall fought the infringement on his business
and was unable to get monetary satisfaction.
In 1916, Thomas Larkin acquired the outstanding interests in the
company and became the president and major stock owner. Larkin at
this time was also a director and secretary of the Genesee Pure
Food Company (which produced Jell-O). Larkin's first wife was
Orator Woodward's sister, Clara, who died in 1888. Larkin moved
to Le Roy at the age of 16 from Cohocton, New York. He was employed
at a clothing and shoe store owned by Samuel Kelsey. In 1884, he
purchased the 'Star Shoe Store' on Main Street, which he
owned for about 15 years.
During the bicycle craze of the 1890s he also sold bicycles. In
1913, Thomas Larkin purchased the large brick Victorian house on
Trigon Park, which later became the Steuber Funeral Home - now The
Church of Living Waters.
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