Frank Channing Soule


  • Introduction
  • Unknown Newspaper Clipping
    • Frank Channing Soule, Retired Food Company President, Dies in South
    • Partner of Father
    • Business Grows
    • Trustee of Museum
    • Loved Estate
  • Merrell-Soule and In the Bakery
  • Northshore Roots


Profile - Frank Channing Soule

Many in the area will recognize Frank C. Soule as the initial developer of Vanderkamp property located just outside the Village of Cleveland.  However, Mr. Soule’s accomplishment in business and community are equally impressive.

This blog entry includes a very interesting newspaper article from the society’s archives.  Although it’s not cited, it matches many of details that have been validated through other sources.  We’ve also included several links that provide a plethora of information on the Soule family accomplishments.

Unknown Newspaper Clipping

Frank Channing Soule,
Retired Food Company President, Dies in South

Frank Channing Soule, for many years president of Merrell-Soule Company, manufacturers of food products, and long a leader of civic, business, and social affairs of Syracuse, died at 1 A.M. yesterday at his winter home, 11 Nelmar Street, St. Augustine, Florida.  His son and daughter-in-law, Mr. and Mrs. Oscar F. Soule of 2 Brattle Road, were at his bedside.

Mr. Soule had been in failing health about a year.  He was 80 years old.

Frank Channing Soule was born April 3, 1861, at Greenpoint, near Liverpool, son of Oscar F. and Mary Lawrence Soule.  He was a descendant of George Soule, who came to this country on the Mayflower.

He attended school in the old red schoolhouse which still stands on the hill at Greenpoint overlooking Onondaga Lake.  At an early age, he moved with his father to Syracuse and received his education at the public and private schools of this city.

Partner of Father

In 1869, his father, who was a pioneer salt manufacturer of Syracuse, formed Merrell-Soule Company in partnership with Gaines L. Merrell.  At the age of 18, Frank C. Soule entered the employ of the firm when only 21 years old was admitted to partnership.  At that time the company was canning vegetables and manufacturing canning machinery.

Merrell-Soule took up the manufacture of None Such mincemeat in 1885, and under Mr. Soule’s direction this product became known from coast-to-coast.  In 1893 Merrell-Soule Company was incorporated and Frank C. Soule became the secretary and treasurer.  He became president in 1909 on the death of G.L. Merrell.

In 1905, after several years had been spent in experimenting on the development of a process for drying milk, Mr. Soule went to Europe and there purchased a basic patent for the manufacture of powdered milk.

Business Grows

From a small beginning, the powdered milk branch of the business grew until it was the principal item manufactured by Merrell-Soule Company.  The firm pioneered also in the manufacture of powdered eggs and similar products.  The company was sold to the Borden Company in 1928.

In addition to his intense interest in development of the business of Merrell-Soule Company, Mr. Soule filled many offices of a semi-public character.  He served as commissioner representing New York State at the Jamestown exposition in 1907, and was long active in the undertakings of the Syracuse Chamber of Commerce, serving a number of years as director.  In 1903 he was one of the incorporators of the Syracuse Trust Company and served as director and member of the executive committee until May 1941.

Trustee of Museum

Mr. Soule at one time was also vice-president of the Farmer National Bank of Syracuse until its consolidation with the Syracuse Trust Company.  He was a member of First Presbyterian Church and served several years as a trustee.  In 1926 he was elected a trustee of the city’s art museum.

Mr. Soule was a member of the Century Club, the Citizens Club and the Onondaga Golf and Country Club.

The manufacturer’s large home at 1100 James Street was for many years a showplace of the city.  He sold it in January 1939 and from then on traveled extensively, spending much of his time in St. Augustine, Florida.  He leaves many friends in that city.

In 1908, Mr. Soule began the development of Vanderkamp Farms, his 1,000 acre estate near Cleveland, on the north shore of Oneida Lake.  On this estate he had a private shooting and fishing preserve in addition to 300 acres under cultivation.  He bred a noteworthy strain of high-grade Holstein-Friesian cattle known as the “Vanderkamp Herd”.

Loved Estate

Mr. Soule married Grace Gere, November 12, 1884, and he and Mrs. Soule drew their greatest pleasure in seeing the Vanderkamp property develop into one of Central New York’s most beautiful estates, where the families of his two sons, Oscar F. and Robert G. Soule, were enabled to enjoy to the fullest extent, the pleasures which surrounded them.

Mr. and Mrs. Soule celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary a year before Mrs. Soule’s death in 1935.

Following his retirement from business in 1928, Mr. Soule spent a large part of his time at Vanderkamp, and after the sale of his home on James Street, made the estate his official residence.

Mr. Soule is survived by two sons, Oscar F. and Robert G. Soule; five grandchildren, Frank Channing Soule, 2d, Hendrick Holden Soule, Robert Gere Soule, Jr., Mrs. B.C. Milner, 3d, and Mrs. Neal L. Moylan; and eight great-grandchildren.

Merrell-Soule and In the Bakery

In the Bakery, 1919, Merrell-Soule
In the Bakery, 1919, Merrell-Soule

The Merrell-Soule company released two publications in 1919, Merrell-Soule Products and Merrell-Soule Products in the Bakery, in 1919.  Both are available for download, free of charge, through the Library of Congress.

Anyone interested in the history of the Merrell-Soule company or its senior management, will find these books a treasure.  There are pictures of the three generations of Merrell and Soule men, as well as, pictures of the factories Merrell-Soule expanded to throughout the years.  Detailed information about their products (powdered milk and Non Such Meats) and several recipes are also prevalent throughout both of the texts.

Northshore Roots

Several newspaper articles, photographs, sources and facts can be found on Northshore Roots.  You’ll also find bits and pieces of information on other members of the Soule family.

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