The Acme Chair Company, known popularly as “The Big Company,” and its owner, C.D. Schermerhorn, were an institution in Reading, providing jobs for 85 men. One of them was Tommy Vincent, who moved to the Hillsdale area from McLean County, IL in March of 1922. He brought his new bride, Ila Hefner Vincent, whom he’d married on Feb. 25, 1922.
C.D. Schermerhorn, for whatever reason, bought run-down farms, cleared them of lumber and hired tenants to work the farm. Tommy and Ila Vincent lived in a tenant house near Reading when he worked for the Acme Chair Company. It may or may not have been one of C.D.’s farms.
Ila gave birth to her first daughter, Carol, in that tenant house on January 3, 1923. A second daughter, Lois, born on April 15, 1924, may also have been born in the same house. But Tommy and Ila were homesick for Illinois, and Ila’s dad got them a place to live back there.
In November of 1980, Ila reminisced about their time in Reading for her daughters:
“In 1922 when your dad and I were first married we left Illinois and moved to a farm near Hillsdale, Michigan (Lorene and Wm Vincent [who was Tommy’s brother and who may have worked at Acme also] still live there). We lived in a little 4 room tenant house—no paint on it at all. I forgot, it did have an upstairs room. There was a spinning wheel up there, they were not regarded as antiques at that time. In fact, I took the big wheel off and laid it across something and used the spokes of it to dry my clothes on when I washed on the washboard ….
“In 1923 or 4, your father was working in a chair factory. He was a good worker. We were both homesick for Illinois …. Carol and Lois had been born in Mich. but Bess came along in Illinois.”
If you would like to read about the Acme Chair Company, CLICK HERE.
Jean LaGue (Carol’s daughter) and JoAnne P. Miller