The Highland Township Historical Society
Highland, Oakland County, Michigan



Charles Moore, History of Michigan, Lewis Publishing Company, Chicago (1915), Vol. III, pp. 1361-1362

WILLIAM JUDSON STARK.  When William Judson Stark first came to Flint, in 1906, it was at a period when the town began to emerge from the conditions of a hamlet and to reach out into the surrounding country with those instrumentalities of commerce which have since made it one of the principal centers of business activity in the state.  Since that time he has built up a business of considerable size and volume, and as president, secretary and general manager of the Home Laundry occupies a position of recognized prominence in the community.   Mr. Stark was born January 21, 1867, in Genesee county, Michigan, and is a son of John H. and Laura A. (Hooker) Stark.

John K. Stark, the grandfather of William J. Stark, was a native of the Empire State, from whence he removed to Canada and settled on a farm near Chatham.  After carrying on agricultural pursuits there for some five or six years, he came to Michigan and settled in Oakland county, this being in 1844, when John H. Stark was a child of four years.  There he continued to be engaged in farming up to the time of his death, being known as an honored and honorable pioneer, a good business man and a public-spirited citizen.  William J. Stark's father grew up amid pioneer surroundings in Michigan, receiving his education in the primitive country schools and in the fields of hard work and experience.   Following in his father's footsteps, he early adopted the life of a farmer, and continued to till the soil throughout the remainder of a long and honorable career.   He died in 1906, at the age of sixty-six years.  Laura E. Hooker was born in New York and came to Michigan as a child.  She still survives her husband, and at this time makes her home at Highland, Oakland county.  Four children were born to Mr. and Mrs. Stark, namely: William Judson, of this review; Mary, who became the wife of Clayton Deake, a farmer who is carrying on agricultural pursuits in the vicinity of Ypsilanti, Michigan; and John Mack, who is an architect and draughtsman with offices in Detroit. Ida died in infancy.

The early education of William Judson Stark was procured in the district schools in the vicinity of his father's farm in Oakland county, following which he attended the Milford high school and graduated therefrom in the class of 1886.  Upon his return to his home he assisted his father in the work of the farm until he was twenty-two years old, at which time he left the parental roof and went to Northville, where he secured employment in a factory and remained nine years.  During this time, being of a thrifty and industrious nature, he carefully saved his earnings with the ambition in view of one day being the head of an established business of his own, an ambition which was realized in 1895, when he went to Macomb, Ohio, and engaged in the laundry business.  During the eight years that he remained in that city he built up an [Begin Page 1362] excellent trade and won a firm place in the confidence of the community, but an opportunity to sell to advantage came and he quickly grasped it.  At that time, in 1903, he moved to Warsaw, Indiana, where he also engaged in the sa'me line, but after one year sold out, and went to Hastings, Michigan.   There he purchased a laundry, which he conducted for two years, and then, feeling that he was familiar with every angle and detail of the business, sought a larger field for his activities and found it in the city of Flint.  Selling his Hastings business at a decided profit, being able to do so because, as in his former business experiences, he had built up a very desirable enterprise, in 1906 he came to Flint, a progressive and rapidly-growing city.  With his usual energy and fair dealing, he has developed one of the largest ventures of its kind in the state. In 1906, when he purchased the plant, it employed only two dozen people, but he has practically rebuilt the buildings, doubled it and the business in size, having now in use more than 15,000 square feet of floor space, and equipped it with the latest modern appliances and improvements, a decided improvement to any city.  The building is three stories with basement, a brick structure located in the 1100 block, on North Saginaw street, and here more than sixty people find steady employment.  In addition, Mr. Stark is the owner of a handsome and comfortable home at No. 1121 Church street.  A self-made man, he has learned his business from the bottom, is practical, alert, progressive and far-sighted, and is eminently deserving of the confidence in which he is held and of the success which has come to him.  Fraternally he is connected with the Knights of Pythias, in which he has passed through the chairs, the Masons, the Elks and the Order of Ben Hur.  He is a member of the Presbyterian church, with which his wife and eldest daughter are connected, they being active in church and charitable work, and members of the Young Women's Christian Association and the King's Daughters.  In politics Mr. Stark is an independent Republican, and although he has held no public office is greatly interested in the affairs which affect his community, he being always a leader in movements making for progress and advancement.

On November 27, 1890, at Commerce, Oakland county, Michigan, Mr. Stark was married to Miss Ina Harding, a native of Oakland county and a daughter of Bradford Harding, a pioneer settler and farmer, who died as one of his community's representative men.  Two children were born to Mr. and Mrs. Stark: Florence and Irene.

NOTE:  The family of John H. Stark, father of William Judson Stark above, appears on the 1870, 1880 and 1900 Censuses for Highland, while his mother, Laura (Hooker) Stark, is found on the censuses for 1910 and 1920.



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