Aug 29

Day Books and Hucksters

The last couple weeks I have been writing about some old ledger books from Chattanooga’s general stores, from 1913-1923. The oldest ledger was from Merkle & Egger’s store and the other two ledgers were from Vining & Dull’s store.

The books had been stored in the attic of the Glenn Miller home in Chatt for nearly 100 years. That home was originally built by store owner Clarence Vining in 1921, which is probably how the attic became home to the books for all those years.

In addition to the three ledger books there were four old Day Books from that same era, also stored away in the Miller attic. While the ledger books listed the accounts of the store patrons, the Day Books recorded what the shoppers actually bought with prices. The Day Books cover the years 1917-22.

1917-19 Day Book, Chattanooga, Ohio.

1917-19 Day Book, Chattanooga, Ohio.

I am not certain where the Day Books were actually used. Whether they were used in the store or on the store’s huckster wagon. Yes, these stores had a huckster wagon, like the wagon used by Merkle & Egger.

Merkle & Egger, Chattanooga, Ohio. (photo courtesy of Doug Roebuck)

Merkle & Egger, Chattanooga, Ohio. (photo courtesy of Doug Roebuck)

What was a huckster? A huckster was a person who sold food and small articles door-to-door. The Chatt hucksters were traveling salesmen who brought items from the general store to customers on a regular basis. It was literally a traveling grocery and general store wagon.

From the 19-teens through the Great Depression hucksters traveled door-to-door in horse-drawn wagons and later in motorized trucks. They traveled their specific route every week or two.

Hucksters carried a wide variety of items for sale and trade in their wagons. They carried food, small household items, yard goods, and sewing notions. They had staples such as coffee, sugar, salt, pepper, and spices. Since most of the family’s food came from the farm or was made at home, items like store bought cookies and bread were a luxury and a treat.

The farmer could also trade items with the huckster. The huckster would take the farmer’s homegrown items such as eggs, cheese, and even live chickens in trade. Hucksters carried empty crates and containers to hold and transport the farmer’s trade items. During the Great Depression my grandmother Gertrude Miller was allowed 5 cents a dozen for her eggs in trade.

My dad used to talk about the huckster who came to the farm and said it was quite an event for them. The children would eagerly anticipate the huckster’s arrival while the housewives enjoyed the convenience.

Dorothy Jean (Leininger) Hellwarth said that she always looked forward to getting bologna from the huckster. Her father, Ted Leininger, drove a huckster wagon when he was a young single man. One of the Day Books mentions that Ted stopped driving the huckster wagon in 1917. Ted was also Catherine Miller’s father and Jerry Miller’s grandfather.

1917-19 Day Book.

1917-19 Day Book.

It was during Ted Leininger’s huckster days that he met his future bride, Carrie Becher. Before they were married Carrie Becher and Ted Leininger both worked for Clarence Vining, the general store owner in Chatt. Carrie did housework for the Vinings and Ted drove their huckster wagon. And that is how Ted and Carrie met. They married in 1919 and Ted farmed after that.

Carrie (Becher) & Ted Leininger, 1943.

Carrie (Becher) & Ted Leininger, 1943.

These Day Books span the years 1917-22. I showed them to Dorothy Jean and after looking through them we believe they are the old huckster books used by Vining & Dull. Dull also owned and operated a creamery in Chatt at one time.

Another thing that makes me think these books were carried on the huckster wagon is that “purchased at store” was written next to some of the lists. I could tell by the names that customers lived in neighboring Adams County, Indiana, as well as Ohio.

Folks pretty much purchased the necessities from the huckster. Items regularly purchased were vinegar, oil, coffee,  tobacco (popular item), syrup, rice, sugar, crackers, salmon, matches, tablets, pencils, yeast, lids, overalls, shirting, and thread. I wonder how the salmon was sold. Was it canned?

Other items purchased, but not quite as often, were peanut butter, lemons, oysters, pineapple, catchup, postum, kraut, lye, pineapple, peaches, cocoa, socks, shirts, clasp, stove polish, and brooms.

Even in those days people purchased Grape Nuts, Cracker Jack, and Toasties, brand names we still use today.

Evidently flies were a big problem because they sold a lot of “swatters” and fly powder.

Entries of interest to me from the 1917-19 Day Book are Phil Brewster, my great-grandfather, and Love Brewster, Phil’s stepmother and second wife of Phil’s father Daniel.

 

1919-20 Day Book entry for Philip Brewster.

1919-20 Day Book entry for Philip Brewster.

Below are just a few of the entries from the Day Books:

On 8 August 1917 Mrs. Evans purchased tobacco, thread, cocoa, percale, oil, sugar, vinegar, coffee, oats and baking powder, totaling $1.71. On the same day May Ketcham purchased Grape Nuts and William Kuhn purchased some ric-rac.

Looking through the books I could not help notice that Fred Wick, William Kuhn, and William Detro were very regular (and good) customers. They may have in fact been their best customers. They purchased a lot. And often. Perhaps they had large families.

Fred Wick, 1921-22 Day Book.

Fred Wick, 1921-22 Day Book.

On 16 July 1920 Fred Wick purchased tobacco, socks, candy, shirts, butter, cookies, matches, strings, stove polish, soap, salt, beans, sugar, bread, cotton, needle, coffee, syrup, flour, thread, and lids, for a grand total of $13.89.

On the same day Willis Breubaker purchased oil, tomatoes, salmon, hominy, meal, matches, rice, sugar, Cracker Jack, cookies, Toasties, and syrup.

On 12 July Joe Humbert purchased oil, filler, shirt, salt, tapioca, lemon, kraut, raisins, beans, hose, oranges, and a swatter.

On 24 December 1920 my grandfather Carl Miller paid his 22 cent grocery balance.

On 31 December 1920 Philip Brewster purchased oil, sugar, coffee, syrup, cleanser, lye, matches, and thread.

On 11 June 1921 Dewey Carr purchased flour, Vicks salve, sugar, bread, rice, lima beans, kidney beans, and hominy, totaling $3.93.

Fred Wick, 10 June 1921: polish, overalls, netting, sugar, syrup, beans, chicken feed, flour, fly powder, bread, oats, thread, candy, shirting, tacks, soda, socks, and salt; 29 July 1921: candy, mustard, goods, crackers, mat, bread, soap, vinegar, comb, pins, strings, oats, and flour; 10 February 1922: candy, sugar, bread, salt, meal, buck wheat, cookies, thread, flour, corn cake, mustard, starch, ribbon, and crochet cotton.

 

Fred "Deaner" & Gust Fickert, 1919-20 Day Book.

Fred “Deaner” & Gust Fickert, 1919-20 Day Book.

Howard Caffee paid his 25 cent balance on 5 October 1921.

Some of the hucksters from Chatt were Ted Leininger, Semon Egger, and Elmer Baker. These books are interesting, whether they used them on the huckster wagons or not.

Aug 26

Tombstone Tuesday–Edward J. & Harriet I. Kuehm

Edward J Kuehm & Harriet I, Zion Lutheran Cemetery, Chattanooga, Mercer County, Ohio. (2014 photo by Karen)

Edward J Kuehm & Harriet I, Zion Lutheran Cemetery, Chattanooga, Mercer County, Ohio. (2014 photo by Karen)

This is the tombstone of Edward J and Harriet I Kuehm, located in row 1 of Zion Lutheran Cemetery, Chattanooga, Mercer County, Ohio. The marker is inscribed:

KUEHM
Edward J.
1892-1922
Harriet I.
His Wife
1900-19

[This surname is spelled both Kuhm and Kuehm in various records and cemetery markers. I have used the Kuhm spelling in the last few posts but today I am using the Kuehm spelling since this is the way it is spelled on this tombstone.]

When I first saw this tombstone I wondered who Harriet I was. It appears she is not buried in Zion’s cemetery. Their marriage was not recorded in Zion’s records, nor was her death. Who was Edward Kuehm’s wife and what happened to her?

The scant information about Edward that was included in Zion’s records was enough to help fill in some of the blanks.

Edward J. Kuehm was the son of Jacob and Julia (Berron) Kuehm, born 17 March 1892 in Jefferson Township, Adams County, Indiana. He was baptized at Zion as Jacob Edward Kuehm on 1 May of the same year. Witnesses to his baptism were Jakob and Johanna Martzloff, of Jay County, Indiana.

When Edward was seven years old his father Jacob died of a stroke. A couple years later, in 1901, his mother Julia married William Betzel. Edward was confirmed at Zion with his sister Rosa in 1907. Below is a photo of the 1907 confirmation class with Edward and Rosa. This is one of the earliest Zion Chatt confirmation photos that I have. The two Kuehm siblings certainly look like brother and sister.

1907 Zion Chatt Confirmation class. Edward J Kuehm seated at far left. Rosa Kuehm standing 5th from left.

1907 Zion Chatt Confirmation class. Edward J Kuehm seated at far left. Rosa Kuehm standing 5th from left.

William and Julia Betzel, with her four Kuehm children, moved from Adams County, Indiana, to Liberty Township in Mercer County by 1910. Edward was 18 years old at that time and worked on the farm. [1]

Edward registered for the draft on 29 May 1917 in Mercer County. He gave his home address as Rt. 5 Rockford and he stated that he was born near Geneva, Indiana, on the 17 March 1892. His occupation was roustabout on an oil lease for Empire Gas & Fuel Co in Augusta, Kansas. He was single with no dependents. [2]

Edward served in the US Army during WWI and a flagstaff with flag is situated near his grave.

Flagstaff & flag at Edward J Kuehm grave. (2014 photo by Karen)

Flagstaff & flag at Edward J Kuehm’s grave. (2014 photo by Karen)

Soon after he returned home from the war Edward married Harriet Frey and they moved to Oklahoma, where Edward once again worked in the oil fields. The young married couple was living in Oklahoma by 1920.

Edward was a tool dresser in the oil fields of Oklahoma and he and Harriet lived in their rented home on North Walnut Street in Newkirk. They had no children at that time, in January of 1920. [3]

According to Zion Chatt’s records Edward drowned in an oil tank in Oklahoma on 27 October 1922, at the age of 29 years, 7 months, and 10 days. He was buried on 2 November. Survivors included his widow, one child, his parents and 4 sisters. Edward had a child!

In 1930 Harriet Kuehm was a widow raising two children by herself. They lived in a rented house on North 7th Street in Vincennes, Indiana, where Harriet worked in a doctor’s office as a trained nurse. Her daughter Inez Kuehm, 10, was born in Oklahoma and son Edward Kuehm, 6, was born in Ohio. [4]

Harriet was pregnant when Edward drowned in Oklahoma!

They had two children. Edward Sr probably never knew he was going to have another child. Harriet must have come back home and resided in Ohio after her husband Edward died. Their son Edward was probably born in mid-1923 in Ohio.

In 1940 Harriet Williams, age 40, born in Indiana, was the wife of Henry Williams, 65, also born in Indiana. They were living on Reel Avenue in Vincennes, Indiana, with three Williams children and two Kuehm children. The Kuehm children were the stepchildren of Henry. The Williams’ children were the children of Henry and Harriet.

Inez Kuehm, age 20, was born in Oklahoma and Edward Kuehm, 16, was born in Ohio.

In 1940 Inez Kuehm worked at Hamilton Glass Co., and Edward Kuehm, 16, was a “new worker.” The Williams children, Loren, 8; Norman, 5; and Danny, less than 1 year, were all born in Indiana. [5]

And who was Harriet Frey?

In 1900 Harriet Frey and her mother Della were living with Harriet’s grandfather, Joseph Frey, 50, in Vincennes, Indiana. Harriet was 2 months old, born March of 1900 and her mother Della, 18, born in Illinois, had been married a year. Two of the Frey sons had been married a year, Joseph, 22, and John, 19. I assume one of these sons was Harriet’s father. [6]

By 1910 Harriett’s mother Della had married Frank Carrey. They had been married 7 years and this was Della’s second marriage. Harriett is shown as Frank’s step-daughter and she was 10 years old. [7]

What happened to Henry and Harriet I (Frey Kuehm) Williams? It is apparent that Harriet was not buried in Zion Chatt’s cemetery.

Henry W. Williams died 6 February 1953 and is buried in Memorial Park Cemetery, Vincennes, Indiana. [8] Harriet I Mix, “wife of Henry,” died 3 September 1968 and is buried in the same plot as Henry Williams. Her grave marker also indicates she was born 21 March 1900. [9]

That is what I have been able to piece together. I have been unable to find Edward Jacob Kuehm and Harriett Frey’s marriage record. As for their children, I believe their son Edward J. Kuehm was born 1 July 1923 and died 11 December 1991 in Vincennes, Indiana. [10] I do not know what happened to their daughter Inez.

 

[1] 1910 U.S. Census, Liberty Township, Mercer County, Ohio, ED 119, p. 16B, family 322, William Betzel; FamilySearch (www.familysearch.org : accessed 10 August 2014); from FHL microfilm 1375227, from NARA microfilm T624, roll 1214.

[2] “U.S. World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918,” digital images, Ancestry.com (www.ancestry.com : accessed 24 August 2014), card for Edward Jacob Kuehm, no. 958, Mercer County, Ohio; citing WWI Selective Service System Draft Registration Cards, 1917-18, Washington D.C.; NARA microfilm M1509, roll 1832519.

[3] 1920 U.S. Census, Newkirk, Kay, Oklahoma, ED 139, p. 2A, dwelling 30, family 30, Edward Kuhn; digital image by subscription, Ancestry.com (www.ancestry.com : accessed 24 August 2014); from NARA microfilm T625, roll 1466.

[4] 1930 U.S. Census, Vincennes, Knox County, Indiana, ED 25, p. 14B, dwelling 240, family 388, Harriet Kuehn; digital image by subscription, Ancestry.com (www.ancestry.com : accessed 24 August 2014); from FHL microfilm 2340331, from NARA microfilm T626, roll 596.

[5] 1940 U.S. Census, Ward 6, Vincennes Township, Knox, Indiana, ED 42-29, p. 15A, family 316, Henry Williams; digital image, FamilySearch.org (www.FamilySearch.org : accessed 23 Aug 2014); NARA microfilm T627, roll 1061.

[6] 1900 U.S. Census, Vincennes, Knox, Indiana, ED 51, p. 7B, dwelling 125, family 125, Joseph Frey; digital image by subscription, Ancestry.com (www.ancestry.com : accessed 24 August 2014); from FHL microfilm 1240381, from NARA microfilm T623, roll 381.

[7] 1910 U.S. Census, Vincennes, Knox, Indiana, ED 68, p. 4A, dwelling 69, family 71, Frank Carrey; digital image by subscription, Ancestry.com (www.ancestry.com : accessed 24 August 2014); from FHL microfilm 1374373, from NARA microfilm T624, roll 360.

[8] Henry W Williams Find A Grave Memorial #63144952, Plot MP3-191, Memorial Park Cemetery, Vincennes, Knox County, Indiana; Find A Grave.com, (www.findagrave.com : accessed 27 August 2014).

[9] Harriet I Mix Find A Grave Memorial #63134146, Plot MP3-191, Memorial Park Cemetery, Vincennes, Knox County, Indiana; Find A Grave.com, (www.findagrave.com : accessed 27 August 2014).

[10] U.S. Social Security Death Index, 1935-2014, database on-line, Ancestry.com (www.ancestry.com : accessed 24 August 2014); Ed J. Kuehm, SSN 315-14-6238.

Aug 22

Chattanooga General Store Ledgers, 1917-1923

Last week I posted the index of the 1913-14 Chatt General Store Ledger. The general store was run by Leo Merkle & Semon Egger at that time.

Thanks to Jerry Miller, I have a total of seven books from Chatt’s general stores–three ledgers and four day books. This week I transcribed the indexes from the remaining two ledger books, for the years 1917-19 and 1921-23. The ledger books are of interest to family historians because they contain the names of the people, usually locals, that did business and had an account at the store. Each ledger has an index with the customers’ names in the front.

1921-23 Vining & Dull General Store Ledger, Chattanooga, Ohio.

1921-23 Vining & Dull General Store Ledger, Chattanooga, Ohio.

The 1917-19 and 1921-23 ledger books are likely from the store run by Clarence Vining and Vernon Dull. Clarence Vining took over the store from Merkle & Egger in about 1917. He was running the store with Vernon Dull in the early 1920s and may have worked with Semon Egger at one time or another.

1922 Vining & Dull receipt.

1922 Vining & Dull receipt.

There was likely more than one general store in Chatt at this time. In 1920 three men were listed as general store merchants in Chatt. There was Clarence Vining, age 32, Semon Egger, 29, and Vernon Dull, 31.  Roman Heffner, 20, worked as a laborer in a store and Cornelius Egger, Semon’s 20 year-old brother, was a clerk in a store. Elmer Baker worked on the road as a huckster. [1] Egger and Merkle were listed as merchants in the 1916 Mercer County Directory. [2]

1917-19 Vining Store Ledger, Chattanooga, Ohio.

“B” index, 1917-19 Vining Store Ledger, Chattanooga, Ohio.

Click on the following link to view a PDF of ledger index:

1917-19 Chattanooga General Store Ledger Index

Again, it is interesting to see how they differentiated between people of the same name in the ledgers. There are two Andy Bollenbachers. One is the uncle, the other is Jr. There is the Ohio George Huffman and the Indiana George Huffman. In 1921 George Huffman was “little.”

I recognize more names in these two later ledgers. The 1917-19 ledger contains the names of several Brewsters, all relatives of mine who lived in Adams County, Indiana, not all that far from Chatt. Daniel Brewster was my great-great-grandfather, who died in 1917. Philip Brewster was my great-grandfather, son of Daniel. Charles Brewster was Daniel’s nephew, son of Winfield Scott Brewster. Also from Indiana was Ralph Derickson, husband of my grandma Miller’s sister Alpha.

Dan Bruster, 1917-19 Vining Store ledger.

Dan Bruster, 1917-19 Vining Store ledger.

Other names were interesting, “Hard” Caffee was probably Howard Caffee. And Mother Caffee was likely Howard’s mother Flora (Michael) Caffee, who had been a widow since 1913. Some of my Miller relatives appear in this ledger, too. John, my grandpa Carl’s brother, who married Frona Dull in 1912. And Peter Miller, who married Della Kühm in about 1914. Peter was Carl’s half brother.

Hard Caffee & Mother Caffee in 1917-19 Vining Ledger.

Hard Caffee & Mother Caffee in 1917-19 Vining Ledger.

Hard Caffee, 1917-19 Vining Store ledger.

Hard Caffee, 1917-19 Vining Store ledger.

A few years later some families had moved and new families formed as couples married. My grandpa Carl Miller was in the 1921-23 ledger. He married Gertrude Brewster in 1919.

Click on the following link to view a PDF of ledger index:

1921-23 Chattanooga General Store Ledger Index

Carl Miller, 1921-23 Vining & Dull Store ledger.

Carl Miller, 1921-23 Vining & Dull Store ledger.

I remember some of people named in the 1921-23 ledger–William “Bill” Oakley, Forrest Ripley, Ralph Derickson, and Jess Brewster. I know of others—Howard Caffee, Mrs. Caffee [probably Flora], and Philip Brewster. Philip Brewster was my grandma Miller’s father and Jess was her brother.

Philip Brewster, 1921-23 Vining & Dull Store ledger.

Philip Brewster, 1921-23 Vining & Dull Store ledger.

These stores also had a huckster wagon and these ledgers may have been used in conjunction with the huckster wagon. Just what was a huckster? Find out next week. Plus we’ll look inside those old Day Books, which just might be the old huckster books.

 

[1] 1920 U.S. Census, Liberty Township, Mercer, Ohio, ED 140, digital image by subscription, Ancestry.com (www.ancestry.com : accessed 21 August 2014); from NARA microfilm T625, roll 1418.

[2] The Farm Journal Illustrated Directory of Mercer County Ohio (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania : Wilmer Atkinson Company, 1916), 69, 113, 173.

Aug 19

Tombstone Tuesday–Maria (Kuhm) Berron

Maria (Kuhm) Berron, Zion Lutheran Cemetery, Mercer County, Ohio. (2011 photo by Karen)

Maria (Kuhm) Berron, Zion Lutheran Cemetery, Mercer County, Ohio. (2011 photo by Karen)

This is the tombstone of Maria (Kuhm) Berron, located in row 3 of Zion Lutheran Cemetery, Chattanooga, Mercer County, Ohio. The marker is inscribed:

Hier ruht in Gott
Maria Kuhm
Ehefrau
Georg Berron
Geb 22 Aug. 1865
In Schillersdorf
In Elsass
Gest. 10 Aug. 1890
Alter
24 Jahr 11 Monat
u. 18 Tage

[Here rests in God, Maria Kuhm, wife of Georg Berron, born 22 August 1865 in Schillersdorf, Elsass; Died 10 August 1890, Age 24 years, 11 months, and 18 days.]

Maria Kuhm was the daughter of Michael Kuhm Sr and his wife Elizabeth (Mueller) Kuhm. Maria was born 22 August 1865 in Schillersdorf, Elsass, and immigrated with her family in about 1873. The Kuhms lived in Adams County, Indiana, not all that far from Chatt, where they attended church at Zion Lutheran Church.

Maria married George Berron on 30 April 1885 at the church parish house. George was born 7 April 1861 in Petersbach, Elsass, the son of George and Katherine (Hausknecht) Berron. Witnesses to the ceremony were the parents of the couple.

According to the Zion’s records George and Maria Berron had three children:
Georg Heinrich (1886-1981), married 1. Matilda Eschmeyer, 2. Minnie Bilter
Christian Michael (1888-1963), married Hazel Stoker
Albert Friedrich Michael (1890-1890)

Their third son, Albert Friedrich Michael, was born 20 June 1890 in Adams County, Indiana. He was baptized by Zion’s Rev. Chr. Reichert at the Berron home on 10 August 1890, the same day his mother Maria died. Hopefully Maria was able to see her baby baptized that day.

According to Zion Chatt’s records, Maria died at their home on that same day, 10 August 1890, of a nerve disease. She was only 25 years and 19 days old and was buried on the 12th.

Their little baby Albert died less than a month later, on 6 September 1890. He was only 2 months and 16 days old and was buried in Zion’s cemetery on the 8th. There does not appear to be a tombstone for him in Zion’s cemetery, but there is a small, unreadable tombstone next to Maria’s. That just might be Albert’s marker.

Possible tombstone of Albert Friedrich Michael Berron (1890-1890), Zion Lutheran Cemetery, Chatt. (2011 photo by Karen)

Possible tombstone of Albert Friedrich Michael Berron (1890-1890), Zion Lutheran Cemetery, Chatt. (2011 photo by Karen)

Widower George Berron married the widow Maria (Betzel) Kessler on 1 August 1895 at Zion Chatt. They had at least one child together, Karl Friedrich Berron, born 8 October 1896.

Maria died in 1918 and George Berron married Sophia (Wierwille) Schultz on 20 April 1921 in Auglaize County, Ohio. He died 13 April 1929 in Allen County, Ohio, and is buried in Elm Grove Cemetery, St. Marys, Ohio.

Aug 15

Chattanooga General Store Ledger, 1913-14

Who was shopping in Chatt back in 1913? And what were they buying? A while back I was given a few books that give just that information.

Last year Jerry Miller gave me some old ledger and day books that had been stored in his mother’s attic. These old books had been in Glen and Catherine Miller’s attic for years, likely years before the Millers purchased the house in Chatt after they married in 1945.

Chatt General Store Ledger 1913-14.

Chatt General Store Ledger 1913-14.

In 1921 Clarence Vining and his wife Effie built the house that the Millers later purchased, where the Millers lived all their married life. At one time Vining had a general store in Chatt and these were the ledgers and day books used for Chatt’s General Store.

In 1910 Clarence Vining was a school teacher [1] and by 1916 he had turned to farming in Black Creek Township. [2] By 1917 he changed careers again and was employed as a groceryman in Chattanooga. [3] So it appears Clarence started running the general store sometime between 1916 and 1917.

In1920 Clarence Vining, age 32, gave his occupation as a merchant in a general store. [4] The store was probably just south of the Chatt Bar. Vinings built the house on the north end of Chatt in 1921 and he and Effie lived there, next to Perry Gibbons, who ran the Chatt Bar.

The oldest ledger book from the Miller attic is for the years 1913-14, before Clarence Vining became a general store merchant. So who owned and ran the Chatt General Store in 1913 if it wasn’t Clarence Vining?

Probably Leo Merkle and Semon Egger.

Merkle & Egger ran a general store in Chatt in 1916 [2] and probably before that. Leo Merkle, 21, was a clerk in a general store in 1910. [5] Semon Egger, 19, was a wagon driver at the same time [6] and may have driven the huckster wagon for the store.

Yes, this was probably Merkle & Egger’s ledger book.

Merkle & Egger, Chattanooga, Ohio. (photo courtesy of Doug Roebuck)

Merkle & Egger, Chattanooga, Ohio. (photo courtesy of Doug Roebuck)

Merkel & Egger receipt from their general store in Chattanooga.

Merkel & Egger receipt from their general store in Chattanooga.

When Clarence Vining took over the store in 1917 he likely ended up with the accounting books, too. Vining ran the general store in Chatt for about ten years, but by 1930 Clarence and Effie had moved to Celina, where Clarence became an assistant cashier at a bank. [7] They sold their house to Clark Sipe and the Millers purchased it several years later.

And the old books remained in the attic of the home for nearly 100 years. Until last year.

The stack of old books from the Miller attic includes three ledger books and four Day Books. The ledgers were for keeping track of balances owed and payments made by individuals and a few businesses.

There is an index in front of the ledger books which lists the customer’s name, followed by a page number. The customer’s account information is on that page farther back in the book. It looks like quite a few people bought things on credit, even back then. Most accounts were paid in full but some balances were carried over to a new ledger book.

Chatt General Store Ledger Book, 1913-14.

Chatt General Store Ledger Book, 1913-14.

The index in this ledger indicates who was shopping in Chatt’s general store in 1913-14. It is interesting to see how the store owners differentiated between individuals with the same name. For example, the Bollenbaughs were identified by where they lived—in town, Indiana, south, etc.

Inside the front cover is penciled Total 1188.23. Possibly total receipts for those years? Not indexed, but at the end of the book on pages 399 & 400, are entries for Leo Merkle.

I transcribed the index of the 1913-14 ledger and spelled the names as they were written in the book. Since the index is a lengthy list of names I put the transcription in a PDF file that can be opened by clicking on the following link:

Chattanooga General Store Ledger, 1913-14

There is another interesting connection between the old store books, the Vinings, and the Millers. Catherine (Leininger) Miller’s mother Carrie Becher did housework for the Vinings in Chatt. Ted Leininger drove the huckster wagon for Clarence Vining at the same time and that is how Ted and Carrie met. They married in 1918 and Ted farmed after that.

We’ll look at a couple more of the old general store ledger books from Chatt next week.

 

[1] 1910 U.S. Census, Black Creek Township, Mercer, Ohio, ED 107, p. 9A, dwelling 187, family 188, Clarence L Vining; digital image by subscription, Ancestry.com (www.ancestry.com : accessed 14 August 2014); from FHL microfilm 1375227, from NARA microfilm T624, roll 1214.

[2] The Farm Journal Illustrated Directory of Mercer County Ohio (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania : Wilmer Atkinson Company, 1916), 69, 113, 152, 173.

[3] “U.S. World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918,” digital images, Ancestry.com (www.ancestry.com : accessed 14 August 2014), card for Clarence L Vining, no. 1390, Mercer County, Ohio; citing World War I Selective Service System Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918, NARA microfilm publication M1509, imaged from FHL roll 1832519.

[4] 1920 U.S. Census, Liberty Township, Mercer, Ohio, ED 140, p. 2B, dwelling 33, family 33, Clarence Vining; digital image by subscription, Ancestry.com (www.ancestry.com : accessed 14 August 2014); from NARA microfilm T625, roll 1418.

[5] 1910 U.S. Census, Liberty Township, Mercer, Ohio, ED 119, p. 16B, dwelling 372, family 232, Leo Merkle; digital image by subscription, Ancestry.com (www.ancestry.com : accessed 14 August 2014); from FHL microfilm 1375227, from NARA microfilm T624, roll 1214. [Note that Leo was living next to William and Julia (Berron) Kuhm Betzel, subjects of the last Tombstone Tuesday.]

[6] 1910 U.S. Census, Liberty Township, Mercer, Ohio, ED 119, p. 15B, dwelling 337, family 297, Rev. Samuel Egger; digital image by subscription, Ancestry.com (www.ancestry.com : accessed 14 August 2014); from FHL microfilm 1375227, from NARA microfilm T624, roll 1214.

[7] 1930 U.S. Census, Jefferson Township, Mercer, Ohio, ED 5418, p. 12A penned, 177 stamped, dwelling 290, family 299, Clarence L Vining; digital image by subscription, Ancestry.com (www.ancestry.com : accessed 14 August 2014); from FHL microfilm 2341584, from NARA microfilm T626, roll 1850.

 

 

 

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