Though Frederick Wilhelm Stock did not arrive in Hillsdale until 1869, the impact of his industry and that of three generations of his family was enormous.
F.W. Stock was born in Renish, Prussia in 1825. Filled with the lust to encounter the New World, he left Germany to first settle in Ohio and engage in the flour milling business. He found that a mill in Hillsdale offered a promising business venture. Stock moved to Hillsdale and purchased the original grist mill begun by Ferris and Cook, which by the 1850's was producing 8,000 barrels of flour yearly.
Stock made many improvements in the mill-- deepening the mill race and completely replacing the old milling machinery with the newest available. He also acquired a new patent process whereby flour could be milled, "pure white and wholesome." No longer did cooks have to serve black sour bread or heavy biscuits. This was advertised as "Stock's Patent Flour." By 1879 with a rail spur connecting the mill to the Michigan Southern track the mill was shipping freight cars loaded with flour, wheat, and oats and storing 23,000 bushels of wheat.
Even though the family sustained the loss of two young sons and two daughters, the remaining three sons were sent to MN and VA to expand the company. The mill became the largest family owned plant east of the Mississippi. Harold Stock, grandson of F.W. Stock, finally sold the mill in 1959 after he himself had managed the business for many years. Pillsbury sold the mill in 2003 to General Mills who then closed the mill.