Business of DeWitt: Boots & Shoes

From the end of January, 1880, until June, the Clinton County Advertiser ran a section called “Business of DeWitt” in which they tell quite a bit about the local businesses.

“It’s a shoe shop, but you can’t read it,” is what people used to say, when the sign C. SCHLABACH, Boot and Shoe Maker, was first nailed to the front of a modest little building 12x20 feet in size, south of the public square in 1854. The shoe shop was 6 feet by 12, the remainder of the building being divided by imaginary lines into parlor, sitting-room, kitchen, bed-room and cellar, and was presided over by Mrs. Schlabach as gracefully as if it had been a palace. Like his wares, the proprietor was found to be square toed in all his dealings, and as a natural sequence business increased so that the little shop had soon to be enlarged, and the “hard name” became duly honored by having the owner thereof promoted from time to time, so that, although never an office seeker he has had every office in the gift of our towns people, from Mayor down thrust upon him.

On the building of the rail road in 1857 business moved southward, and in due time the little shop was trundled to the ground now occupied by the more pretentious and substantial building. For a time his brother, Joseph Schlabach, was a partner in the house. The latter enlisted in the army and died in a hospital. In 1865 the shop was again on wheels, and a fine brick building was erected by the enterprising proprietor which he now occupies. In the same year, Mr. David White, a practical boot and shoe maker who was in business here on his own account, bought a half interest in the business, and under the firm of Schlabach & White, they did a huge and successful trade, until in January 1877, when the stock and accounts were divided and Mr. White took the new spacious store in the north end of the ??? Block. Mr. Schlabach has by strict attention to business and honorable dealing built up a large trade and like his stock is “well heeled.” His is sole again in DeWitt for the famous ? W. Bergham & Co’s Boston boots and shoes, which give universal satisfaction. He has of late been assisted by his sons, William H. and Carl F., the last of whom is now the obliging assistant postmaster while Will attends to the calls of the numerous customers and rarely lets one go away without making the desired purchases. Repairing is an important branch of the business of this house. This department is presided over by Joseph ??? whose ….. to do it thorough and with dispatch. Although well known, Mr. Schlabach would find it to his interest to advertise more.

Of all the boot and shoe dealers in this part of the country there is probably no name so familiar to the readers of the ADVERTISER as that of DAVID WHITE, whose contributions to our advertising columns have extended through the last two and a half years. He brought his broad Scotch here from bonnie Scotland in 1854, and commenced work for R. Rine???. The rich Iowa prairies so attracted him that he spent a year or two tilling the soil, and it was as a successful farmer, selling us a few car loads of corn and with a treble Scotch hand that our acquaintance with him began. Returning to town, Mr. White bought out the interests of ??? Schlabach in the firm of C. & J. H. Schlabach, then doing business in a small wooden building where Mr. Schlabach’s ??? block now stands. In the early part of the year of 18??, he sold out to Charls Schlabach and built a shop on the ground where C. N. Cressler’s store now stands, which he conducted for the years, then hitched teams with Chas. Schlabach and continued with him in the business some twelve years until 1877, when he moved to his present spacious quarters at the north end of ???, where can always be found a full stock of everything the understanding may need.

Mr. White is ??? agent for DeWitt of the renowned Reynolds Brothers, of Utica, N. Y., whose fine shoes for ladies, lasses and children, which their advertisement says are acknowledged by all to be the best made. Mr. White also sells Reed & Clossens splendid Boston made goods, fine or heavy. The manufacturing and repair department is presided over by G. H. Dickinson, a thoroughly competent and intelligent workman. Mr. White reports that his orders in this department are in excess of what they have been for the past 12 years and that he needs and must have more help. He is anticipating a large spring business for which he will be well prepared. Through the medium of the ADVERTISER he has drawn a large trade from our readers in the northern and western parts of the county, which he duly appreciates.

H. F. BRICKER came to DeWitt about 15 years ago, and we first recollect him as doing business with Mr. Coggswell, in the store now occupied by T. Wendelborn as a meat market. Changing about from time to time, he finally built him a shop just below where the opera house now stands, where he continues himself to manufacturing and repairing. His work always speaks in his praise and the result is he is always full of business. He is assisted by a young Crispin, Percy. F. Brocker, son of the proprietor.

CHARLES BIGLEY is one of the most industrious men that ever sent home a pig, and in however bad a shape the work may come to him if the mud is there enough so he can what is needed, he comprehends the situation at once and in a trice is putting it in order. He continues his business to manufacturing and repairing and his hosts of friends keep him always employed. His work carries a good recommend for him wherever it goes. His shop is one door north of T. Scallan’s store.

PAT CASEY must have been the last of his father’s family; at any rate he carries the appearance of a born shoemaker. His practiced eye will tell to a dot the solid contents of bunion or misshapen joint, and how much extra leather it will take to cover it up and make you comfortable. He makes a specialty of fine work and is sought for far and wide. Repairing in all its branches is done neatly and quickly. He is assisted by Mr. James Harvey, a well informed young man and a thorough workman. Shop opposite the opera house.

J. C. REED & CO. In addition to their stock of dry goods noticed last week, carry a good line of boots and shoes, and which in addition to the ordinary coarser good, includes the celebrated Rochester fine shoes for ladies’ wear, and also the Walker boot, which when one once gets “his foot in it,” wants no other.

In addition to the foregoing, boots and shoes are sold by the following firms that deal also in other goods, and have been or will be written up under other heads: Farmers’ Store, J. C. Reed & Co., Ellis & Foster, Chardavoyne, Drew & Co., Wallace Bros., T. F. Butterfield, C. W. Cressler & Co., and Mrs. F. E. Jacobs. The boot and shoe trade of this town is very large, and these wares are sold at prices that attract buyers here from a distance.