Payne Company Owosso, Michigan

W.E. Payne & Co.

Owosso, Michigan

According to Helen Harrelson, William E. Payne and his brother E.J. Payne were in the gardening business from 1888 to 1895. William then joined W.L. Crowe in the implement business.

According to an Owosso, Michigan City Directory of 1896, Wm. E. Payne was part owner of Crowe and Payne which was located at 218 - 222 W. Main St. They sold agriculture impliments, wagons, carriages, harnesses, robes, blankets and seeds.

"McCormick Day" celebration at Owosso circa 1900. People, horses, and farm machines gathered on Main St. This view is looking east. Several grain binders and a brass band are visible. "McCormick Days" were organized by McCormick dealers to celebrate the delivery of new machines to customers. Dealers used the events to promote the company and generate further sales.

The Crowe & Payne building is located on the northeast corner of Main and Water St. Today it is home to Chicago Title Co. and formerly the Shippee & Smith Dry Dock for many years.

By about 1907, Payne had bought out Mr. Crowe and the business was then called Wm. E. Payne.

The 1913 directory listed the company as Payne & Euler with the same Main St. address. This business closed in about 1923. Payne sold the building to Justin Shattuck in Dec. of 1924.

According to the Owosso Argus Press papers of Oct. 1925, W. E. Payne (born 1863) of Owosso had quite an impact on the automobile industry. And it all started when Payne, who was a very successful business man, manufacturered buggies and carriages in the early 1900's. He even dabbled in the 'horseless' carriage and this model was actually a predessser to one of his early designs.

Payne then sold his company to Robert C. Wilcox in 1924. Wilcox then merged with one of the big three automotive companies. The Argus goes on to say that Payne passed away on October 9, 1925.

This carriage is an example of the a Payne two-seater model built by W. E. Payne & Co. The carriage has shock absorbers on all four wheels for a smooth ride.

Year built...........circa 1895

Height..............4.5 feet

Width...............5 feet

Length..............14 feet

More Shiawassee County Industry History