Annis Businessmen



Roderick Dhu Annis 1868-1934

Isaac Newton Annis 1858-1939

Levi Edward Annis 1858-1933

Chauncey Levoy Annis 1819-1888

Julius Benjamin Annis 1890-1964

David Annis 1786-1861

William Roswell Annis 1849-

Victor Hoyt Annis 1892-1937 and son Howard Sleight Annis 1920-1996

Updated March 13, 2019



Image: RDAnnis

Roderick Dhu Annis
1868-1934

Roderick Dhu Annis was born May 25, 1868 at South Brookfield, Nova Scotia, Canada, the fourth child and third son of Benjamin Holmes and Orinda (McLeod) Annis. Roderick was a very small man in stature, standing only five foot tall in maturity, and never weighing more than 115-120 pounds. He was the second child of Benjamin and Orinda Annis to be given the name Roderick Dhu, the first son having died in infancy. Roderick would say that the first Roderick died in his first year, and he, the second Roderick, only half grew. His physical size was an object of humor for when asked how tall he was, Roderick would respond: "I am not tall at all, I am a foot short."
On December 6, 1895 the Mississippi Valley Lumberman, a trade paper, reported the following: "R. D. Annis, formally with the Marshall-Wells Hardware Co. of Duluth, Minn., has removed to Minneapolis, Minn., where he has accepted a position with H. S. Cleveland & Co.".
Roderick soon left this job, and in 1896, established and operated The Northern Hardware Company at Duluth, Minnesota. He soon conducted a good and profitable business with the lumber camps along the north shore of Lake Superior and up the "Gunflint Trail".

On August 22, 1905, Roderick married Ethel Ray Foss at Boston, Massachusetts. The marriage event was described in one of the local Boston newspapers as
"One of the prettiest of the many summer weddings which has occurred in this city this season-". Ethel was born June 19, 1884 at Haverhill, Massachusetts. Roderick had known Ethel since she was a small girl, because Ethel's mother would take her to Carelton, Nova Scotia to visit common relatives.

Northern Hardware Company, Duluth, MN

Image: RDAnnis Store

Roderick was also civic minded and was a charter member of the Rotary Club at Duluth. In 1909, with three other Duluth area businessmen, far-sighted Roderick saw the need for a credit information exchange service. On September 16, 1909, a number of merchants, bankers, and other professional people joined with Roderick, Charles Kaupi, Thomas Walker, and Felix Seligram to form the association that is now known as the Duluth Credit Bureau, Inc.
Roderick and Ethel meanwhile raised their family of six children: Benjamin Foss (1907), Roderick Dhu Jr. (1910), Maxine (1914), Alberta (1916), June (1919) and Warren McLeod Annis (1920).

Image: RD Annis Family Image: RD Annis Family 2

Photo on the Left: Top Row from left: Benjamin Foss Annis, Roderick Dhu Annis Jr.
Bottom Row from left: Alberta Annis, Warren McLeod Annis, Maxine Annis, June Annis

Photo on the Right: Top Row from left: Roderick Dhu Annis Jr., Warren Mcleod Annis, Benjamin Foss Annis
Center from left: Ethel (Foss) Annis, Roderick Dhu Annis Sr.
Bottom Row from left: Alberta Annis, June Annis, Maxine Annis

Roderick was a hard worker and a good provider, but the Great Depression forced him to borrow from his insurance to keep the business going. He refused to let any of his employees be without work, so he put all of his help on half-time so they at least had some take home pay. Small in stature, but large in heart, many times Roderick would have sacks of potatoes delivered to men with a fair sized family. When indigents came to the store asking for money he would sent them to the "Bethel", and afterwards call the Bethel to have them bill him.
Roderick was spared the ordeal of losing either of his two stores, but at the age of 66 he died, and the City of Duluth was much less because of his passing.

Roderick's Annis Lineage is: Benjamin Holmes Annis (1831-1915), Benjamin Holmes Annis (1791-1873), James Annis (1762-1840), Thomas Annis (1724-c.1770), Charles Annis of Barnstable County, Massachusetts.

All photographs concerning Roderick Dhu Annis are courtesy of his late daughter, Alberta Annis Barnes




Image: NewtonAnnis

Isaac Newton Annis
1858-1939

Isaac Newton Annis was born October 22, 1858 at Fawn River, Michigan, the son of Joseph and Berintha (McKee) Annis. He married Clara Culver June 25, 1883 at Burr Oak, Michigan, and they had two children, Ina Louise (1884-1886) and Donald (1888- ?).
In 1876, as a young man of 18 years, Newton began collecting furs in the southern part of Michigan near his home. He was employed in 1880 by Frederick Buhl and Company, a Detroit fur pioneer in the manufacturing department. It is remarkable, but by August 1887 Newton started in business for himself with four employees and a capital of less than $1000.
Newton as he preferred to be called, became a very successful furrier in Detroit, Michigan, and conducted an extensive business with over 120 employees. His name and photograph was included in the "Who's Who" of Detroit businessmen in 1915, at which time he referred to himself as "Newton Annis". At the present time (1999), the Annis Fur Company is still in business, but it is now owned by another company, Isaac having sold it in 1938. The business operations are located on Bagley Street, Detroit, Michigan

He was a very well known, and highly respected figure, in Detroit's social circles during the first part of the 20th century. This was an era that produced the many Detroit automobile barons, and the massive growth of mass produced products. In a December 1892 Detroit newspaper article there appeared the following:
"Newton Annis, wholesale fur manufacturer at 150 Woodward Ave., made each of his 120 employees suitable holiday gifts. Gold and silver watches, diamond pins, umbrellas and bank checks found places on the list. Mr. Annis was made happy with a silver smoking set from his boys."
Evidently, Newton's concern for his employees welfare, during a time in American history that tended to neglect this important business asset, was the primary reason for the his successful enterprise.

Annis Fur Style Catalog for 1927-1928

Image: Annis Catalog

According to his great nephew, James Fraser of San Diego, California, who worked for his uncle as a young teen, Newton was aware of his lineage and passed along information to him concerning burial places of his father, grandfather, and others.

Annis Fur Building - Detroit, Michigan

Image: Annis Building

The Louis Buhl King & Company building was built in 1911, and designed by architects James S. Robers and Walter MacFarlane in the Chicago Commercial Style. King & Company were an importer and retailer of fine china and glassware. In 1932, the building became Annis Fur Company retail and office space. Recently, it has been beautifully restored at a cost of $1.8 million. The building is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Image: IsaacNAnnis

Newton's daughter, Ina was named for his initials. She died in childhood and was buried at Fawn River, but her body was later removed to Detroit. Tragedy also claimed Newton and Clara's only other child, Donald Annis, born May 20, 1888.

The following from the Detroit News, dated April 10, 1908 and concerns the death of Donald.

Donald Annis, only child of Newton Annis, the well known local furrier, died in New Haven, Conn., Thursday, after a week's illness from pneumonia. The young man, although not yet 20, was in his second year at Yale, having gained all of his preliminary education in Detroit schools. Mr. and Mrs. ANNIS were both at the boy's bedside.
Donald was a young man of more than ordinary intelligence, and was in his third year at Yale at the time of his death. He had many warm friends here, who were deeply pained and shocked to learn of his death
.

Image: Annis Fur Co. Letter Opener

This antique letter opener from Annis Furs was recently auctioned at e-Bay for several dollars. Fortunately, I was able to make a bid and win. This is the type of item that the Annis Family Association is trying to locate for the Annis Archives Collection.

Newton's lineage is: Joseph Annis (1822-1902), Thomas Annis (1787-1852), Thomas Annis (1756-?), Thomas Annis (1724-c.1770), Charles Annis of Barnstable County, Massachusetts.



Image: Levi E. Annis
Levi Edward Annis
1858-1933

Levi Annis was born December 7, 1858 at Scarborough, Ontario, Canada, the son of Jeremiah and Jane Ann (Fawcett) Annis. He married September 8, 1886 to Mary Christina Young at Scarborough, Ontario, Canada.
As a young man Levi's left hand was caught in a hay cutter, resulting in the loss of all but one finger. According to his own words, this early handicap impressed upon him the necessity to try harder than most people to compensate. In 1876, at the age of 18, he was placed in charge of a class of students at Jarvis State Collegiate. Having just graduated himself, he was not even a fully qualified teacher. He went back to work on his father's farm, but also studied agriculture, soil chemistry and stock breeding. In 1886 he was elected to the township council, but withdrew for domestic and personal reasons. In 1890 he installed the first silo and self watering system in the township. Following an unsuccessful venture into the furniture business, he was engaged to travel to the British Isles with Colonel T. H. Race as an assistant commissioner of the Department of Exhibition of the Dominion government.
Upon his return to Canada, Levi worked for the Canadian Northern Railway as a specialist in real estate and the purchase of right of ways. In 1926 he ran as the Prohibition candidate for Premier, but was defeated. Levi was a vice president, and later President of the York Pioneer and Historical Society, and held the office of Justice of the Peace. He was a Liberal in politics and a member of the Washington Methodist Church, a Mason, and one of the organizers of the Farmer's Dairy. Levi died in 1933 at Port Union, Ontario.


Levi's lineage is:
Jeremiah Annis 1821-1902, Levi Annis 1781-1855, Charles Annis 1737-1804, John Annis 1700-c.1771, Abraham Annis 1668-1736, Cormac Annis 1638-1717



Chauncey Levoy Annis
1819-1888

Chauncey L. Annis was born July 18, 1816 at Groton, New York, the son of Reverend James and Betsy (Winslow) Annas. He married December 22, 1840, Lydia Ann Allen {1819-1886} at Machias, New York.
In 1843 Chauncey pioneered to Rockford, Illinois, leaving his wife and small child, Elizabeth, behind. He wintered at Rockford, and in the Spring of 1844 he moved northward to Wisconsin where he settled on 123 acres at Oconomowoc in Waukesha County. After he was established, he sent for his family to join him. He later traded his property for a hotel, which was devastated by a tornado in 1853. Chauncey took what was left after this disaster and purchased 195 acres of farmland at Oconomowoc, Wisconsin, which he improved and worked until his death.
In 1860 the Federal census shows that he was living at Oconomowoc with his wife, daughter Elizabeth (18), sons George (8) and William (3), his father James (87), a physician, Lindry Smith, and housemaid Louisa Henchel (18), as well as a Charles Annis, age 16. Chauncy was a member of the Republican party and the Congregational church. He served as Justice of the Peace for 12 years, as well as Town Board member for two terms. He died on February 16, 1888 at Monterey, Wisconsin and is buried at Summit cemetery, Waukesha County, Wisconsin.

Chauncey's lineage is: James Annas 1774-1862, James Annis 1743-1829, John Annis 1700-c.1771, Abraham Annis 1668-1736, Cormac Annis 1638-1717



Julius Benjamin Annis
1890-1964

Julius B. Annis was born June 4, 1890 in Luvno, Hungary. At present there is nothing known of his parentage, or when he emigrated to the United States. It is known that he registered for the draft during World War One and at that time he was residing at Brooklyn, New York. He married Minnie Brosow before 1917 and had at least one child, Morton Lawrence Annis Sr.
It is evident that Julius became affiliated with one of the larger and well known cigar companies, "Sanchez and Haya" in New York City. A brief history of this cigar company and it's founders is in order, so that the evolution of the company can be seen in regards to "J. B. Annis".

"Fact & Fancy About Cigars and Tobacco", by Morton L. Annis Sr. (1967)

Image: M.L.Annis

In 1867, Senors Ignacio Haya and Serfino Sanchez, natives of Spain came to New York City with $1000.00 in capital and started what was to become one of the most successful cigar manufacturies in the world. In 1886 they moved their operations to Tampa, Florida and they received the U.S. Revenue designation of "Factory No. 1". Tampa soon became the cigar manufacturing industry giant and Sanchez & Haya retained it's leadership roll. The company ultimately acquired and merged with many of the old-line Tampa producers, such as Morgan Cigar Co., Schwab-Davis y Cia. and many more. By 1892, both Senor Haya and Sanchez were leaders of the Spanish community and their financial ability, philanthropy, and industry were legendary.
J. B. (Bunny) Annis began as a "drummer", or cigar salesman, who traveled from coast to coast selling his wares to Tobacconist and cigar merchants. "Dapper, loquacious, true bon vivants of the era .. perhaps the original American Salesman." Julius Annis, was at this time a guiding spirit and became partners in what is now known as Gradiaz, Annis or "Gradiaz y Annis", and was the Dean of these legendary "Knights of the Panetela."
In 1963 Gradiaz Annis became a Division of General Cigar Co., Inc. Julius Benjamin Annis died the following year (June 1964) in Tampa. His son, Morton Lawrence Annis Sr. (1917-1979), President of Gradiaz, Annis, wrote about his father in 1967:

"My father had a basic compelling motivation for excellence of product which was, in truth, his religion and his way of life. His love for tobacco and fine cigars was sacrosanct and so traditional in concept that he vigorously opposed all modern technological advances, preferring to create cigars in the great classic style of his youth."

Gradiaz, Annis is still known world wide as "World Leader in Luxury Cigars".

Note: I do not, nor does the Annis Family Association, condone or encourage tobacco use in any form. This article is meant for genealogical research purposes only.


David Annis
1786-1861

David Annis was born April 5, 1786 at Windham, Rockingham County, NH, the youngest child of Charles and Sarah (Emerson) Annis.
David traveled west to western New York with his parents as a young boy and eventually to the Oshawa, Ontario, Canada area where his parents finally settled. As a young man, David became a trapper and established a positve relationship with the Native American Indians that inhabitated Ontario in the early 1800's. David never married, but rather was referred to as a "wealthy bachelor".
In 1825, David built a sawmill for a very good reason. He had acquired "many hundreds of acres" of timber acreage and soon David, his Company, and his sawmill were builting schooners to market the timber at Port Union. In 1836, he finished the schooner
"Lord Dunham", followed by the "Martha Ann" of Port Darlington, "Royal George" and three others.
According to the "Peddlar Papers" in the Oshawa library:
"David Annis was wholly uneducated never having been at school a single day of his life & could not write his own name. He possessed great natural ability, and at first was a fur trader with the Indians.
David Annis became an Indian trader for furs on his own account in 1808. Besides collecting all the furs about this locality, he made several excursions north to where Port Perry now is and on to the next waters being on Lake Simcoe at Beaverton. He and his hired porters drew upon hand sleighs or carried when there was no snow, powder, shot, bullets, guns, blankets, knives and trinkets, such as steel discs for striking fire on the flint. On camping at night they fired off guns in quick succession, which was the signal for the Indians to gather, and next morning all within hearing came with their furs and traded for these goods.
David Annis sent these furs to Montreal in Durham boats, and for gold doubloons for them, being the only commodity in that day which would bring money. The returning Durham boats brought back more goods for future trading.
By this means he amassed great wealth. He also took his grist to be ground in Durham boats to Kingston, for many years, until one Elias Smith father of John D. Smith, erected a grist mill at Smith's Creek now Port Hope.
David Annis erected a saw mill on the Oshawa Creek not far from its junction with the Marsh at Port Oshawa. It is safe to assume that the lumber made at this ancient saw mill entered into the construction of the homes and stores and structures of every sort which were erected in the "Oshawa of Old" and in the vicinity. Mr. William Annis residing on the main road west of Oshawa informed the writer that he was placed in charge of the saw mill about or before the time of the rebellion in 1837 to keep the books, etc., and he remembered that this mill sawed the lumber used in the tavern erected by Samuel Coryell on the main road east of Oshawa in 1838. This building for a number of years subsequently was occupied by the late Benjamin Rogers. The writer from another source learned that some, if not most of the lumber used in the construction of the celebrated J.B. Warren Mill was cut at the Annis Saw Mill.
The David Annis Mill produced more lumber than the home demand required, so with an enterprise unusual with men of his limited attainments, he cast about for other markets. He built one of the first vessels in this part of Canada, called the "Lord Durham" and chartered others which he employed carrying his lumber to Niagara and other points on Lake Ontario, and at times these vessels were employed taking the products of the Oshawa flouring Mills to Kingston.
When the Annis Saw Mill was frist established, the best quality of lumber was taken over to Niagara charges free for $10 per thousand feet. It will be evident to the reader that David Annis was one of the men of the Oshawa of Old who gave the infant industries an early start. This man of undoubted natural business gifts wisely placed the profits of his Saw Mill and shipping into wild lands in the vicinity, hundreds of acres of as fine land as can be found in any country.
David Annis who had never married, lived with the Daniel Conant family in the latter days of his life. He died on the 28th of May 1861, in his 75th year, and his landed estate passed over to Daniel Conant.
David Conant his nephew, being a fair scholar took the burden of their vast business upon himself at 18 yrs. of age, and under David Annis' advice was Captain on the vessels, carrying lumber to Niagara which the saw mill cut, and afterwards general freight from Oswego, Kingston and other places.
Many trips were made to Kingston laden with John B. Warrens Plow brand of flour in barrels. The freight then was $1 per barrel.
The "Royal George" was the first steamer on the lakes, and on one occasion when the "Lord Durham" was got ashore on the beach at Frenchman's Bay, he chartered the Royal George to pull her off, which she did successfully."
David was a talented woodcarver, and was known to keep his books with a jacknife and stick. He left his large estate at Port Union, Ontario, Canada to Thomas Conant, nephew of his mother's family.
David died at Whitby, Ontario on May 28, 1861. On October 5, 1880 Thomas Conant had the remains of David Annis exhumed at the Harmony burial ground and moved beside those of his father David Conant in the Union Cemetery. The coffin was opened after a burial of 19 years and were so surprisingly natural that their life likeness caused those who knew David Annis during his life especially Thomas Conant to start in wonder. The hair was perfect only grown longer, the flesh remained upon the cheeks, the eyes were not sunken, and the peculiar front teeth which he retained for his long life were particularly noticeable.

Lineage: Charles Annis (1737/38-1804), John Annis (1700-c.1771), Abraham Annis (1668-1738), Cormac Annis (1638-1717)


William Roswell Annis
1849-1912

William Roswell Annis was born October 29, 1849 in Londonderry, Rockingham, NH, the son of William Annis (1826-1883) and Betsy Mullins (1826-1909). He married (1) Luella A. Campbell on December 10, 1874 in Londonderry, daughter of William Campbell and Charlotte Philbrick. She was born May 7, 1852 in Londonderry, NH, and died June 24, 1883 in Londonderry. He married (2) Ella Jane McClary September 14, 1884 in Londonderry, daughter of John MCClary and Jane Runell. She was born May 17, 1859 in Londonderry.

I do not have much information about "Roswell's" early years. He had a son, Clayton Crawford Annis (born September 21, 1876), by his first wife, but the boy died in infancy (December 27, 1876). He also had a son by his second wife, Earle McClary Annis (born December 16, 1886) and he survived to adulthood and married in 1911, but he died young also at the age of 31 in 1917.

Roswell became the Treasurer of the Annis Grain and Lumber Company and in 1895 his residence was located at 398 Merrimack Road, Manchester, NH.
The large Annis Grain and Lumber Company thrived and the resultant train increased the marketing of milk and cream from the dairy herds, the chicken and eggs from the numerous chicken farms, extra vegetables and fruits from the gardens, and lumber and grain.
In 1907, electricity came to town. In the following years, an electric car line traveling from Derry to Manchester was established and went through the North Village. On a portion of this line, the Cohas Spring Water, founded by Roswell Annis in the early 1900s, was a thriving business and tourist attraction along the Little Cohas Brook. It was nestled in a thousand acres of beautiful woods west of the North Village. The tall Annis brick chimney and a pathway along the railroad and electric car bed is all that remains of its surging business past.

Annis Grain and Lumber bill of sale


Detail of above

A boiler exploded at the Annis Grain and Lumber plant damaging the boiler, the engine house, the grain mill and the wood working mill. The explosion also caused injuries to the engineer, Justin Sanborn. At first, people believed it was an earthquake because the explosion was heard far away. The plant shut down for several weeks fro repairs and caused $10,000 in damages.
William Roswell Annis died February 12, 1912 in Manchester, New Hampshire.

Lineage: William Annis (1824-1883), John Towns Annis (1791-1871), Isaac Annis (1759-1843), Rolfe Annis (1734-1808), John Annis (1700-c.1771), Abraham Annis (1668-1738), Cormac Annis (1638-1717)


Annis Grain and Lumber Company, circa 1900



Image: Annis Farms Potatoes

The potato sack above is from the Annis Farms of Lawrence C. Annis (1914-1994) of Bakersfield, CA. Note the close resemblance to the other Annis Family Coat of Arms.

Lawrence C. Annis was the son of Frank B. and Grace E. Annis.

Lineage: Frank B. Annis (1886-1967), Charles Annis (1839-1909), Charles Annis (1794-1866), Jacob Annis (1769-1848), Jacob Annis (1741-1812), John Annis, Abraham Annis, Cormac Annis


Howard S. Annis, son of Victor H. Annis

Image: Edward R. Annis

Victor Hoyt Annis 1892-1937
Howard Sleight Annis 1920-1996

Victor Hoyt Annis was born October 4, 1892 in Livingston, New York, the son of Myron Harvey Pease Annis (1860-1946) and Fannie Matilda Hoyt (1861-1896). He married Marion Julia Sleight on April 3, 1918 in Richmond, New York. She was born September 13, 1897 in Richmond Mills, New York and died October 30, 1969 in Batavia, New York.

Victor started Annis Dairy during the Great Depression and the store with ice cream sales came three decades later. The ice cream’s high butterfat content, natural ingredients and enormous servings attracted customers from all over. The dairy also had outlets in Scottsville and other places, delivered milk to customers for years and sold its ice cream to local restaurants for a time. The business venture began in 1930, when Victor Annis bought the Avon dairy. He ran it until he died in 1937, and his wife, Marion, took over. Their son, Howard, was 16 at the time and helped out. By 1947 or so, Howard took over the business and ran it for decades. It was in 1963 when Howard built the Annis Dairy store on West Henrietta Road (or Route 15) and added ice cream. Milk and cream continued to be the dairy’s top money-makers and were sold in five local counties. Annis started with a ready-made mix for the ice cream but started making his own within a few years.

Annis Dairy and Ice Cream in 1966

Image: Edward R. Annis

By 1989, news came out that Upstate Milk Cooperative of LeRoy, Genesee County, New York had signed an agreement to purchase Annis Dairy. The sale included Annis’ equipment, delivery routes and Avon milk plant but not the dairy stores or ice cream business. Howard Annis died in 1996. One of his daughters, Vicki Rose of Avon, said this in 2017 that her sister ran the Avon ice cream shop for several more years before it closed for good.
Victor H. Annis died quite young on February 6, 1937 at the age of 44 and his obituary reads:
"Victor H. Annis, prominent Avon businessman, died late Saturday at his home in Wadsworth Ave. He was a member of the Methodist Church, Avon Lodge, IOOF, Avon Springs Lodge, F&AM, Rotary, and was prominent in Boy Scout activities. Surviving, besides his widow, are two children, Howard and Dorothy, his father Myron of Livonia, and two brothers, Almon of Livonia and Dr. F. M. Annis of Clinton, Mich. Funeral services will be in the home at 2 p.m. Tuesday."
He is buried at the Annis-Powell Cemetery in Livingston, New York.

Victor's lineage is: Myron Harvey Pease Annis (1861-1946), Augustus Annis (1824-1873), Augustus Benjamin Annis (1789-1866), Jacob Annis (1763-1841), Ezra Annis (1726-1818), John Annis (1700-c.1771), Abraham Annis (1668-1738), Cormac Annis (1638-1717)



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Annis Family Association

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