Business of DeWitt: Jewelers, Furniture Dealers & Meat Markets

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.

Between thirty and forty years ago, in the province of Baden, Germany, was a happy young man. He had completed his Meisterstueck Wand Uhr – master-piece clock – which the rigid inspector passed a favorable opinion upon, and henceforth the author was allowed to work at the trade of a clock maker. Subsequently he removed to Ohio, where he added that of watch-maker. The young man referred to was no other than J. G. BARR, now the head of the extensive jewelry house of BARR & BAIRLEY.

Mr. Barr came to DeWitt and opened a shop in the same building with the late James Lathan, gunsmith, on the site now occupied by J. H. Price, banker. Here he cleaned and repaired the watches and clocks of the early settlers of the town, some of whom are still here, and patronize this house. In 1856 Mr. Barr moved into the post office building, at the north-west corner of the square with the then post master, his present partner, Henry Bairley. In 1858 both removed to the present site of Adam Bloom’s store, when Mr. Barr put in a small stock of goods. One year later they removed one door north to where T. J. Scallan’s store is, and in 1861 Mr. Barr built the building now occupied by Mr. Bigley as a shoe store. His business increasing he moved to Langan’s stone building, where the Opera House now is, then back to the store now occupied by T. J. Scallan, then to Union Block where Yegge’s saloon is, and in 1876 to his present quarters in Ellis & Wallace’s Block, one of the finest stores in town.

In May, 1878, he formed a partnership with his life long friend, Henry Bairley. There is probably no firm in town that enjoys the confidence of the people to a greater degree than this. Purchasers of jewelry have only to ask whether it is filled, plated, pure gold or what not, and when the answer is made they know it is reliable. The secret of their success is that no article is misrepresented.

They keep a good stock of clocks and watches, among which are found the Seth Thomas clocks, that are as regular as the sun, Waltham, Elgin and Rockford watches, the latter of which they are sole agents for, and are at all times reliable.

All kinds of jewelry, silver and plated ware, spectacles, etc., are found in large variety at this house, and any purchases made can be promptly and neatly engraved by J. H. Barr, who also superintends the watch cleaning and repairing departments, and who does all his work in a manner so satisfactory that insures a good word from the patron, and his business in the future. These gentlemen should keep their business continually before the public.

E. D. BUCKLEY, Watchmaker and Jeweler, came here from Canada about seven years ago. He had previously spent some five or six years in learning the trade, and working at it in the Province. He now occupies the spacious corner store under the Pacific House, where he repairs and cleans clocks and watches, and repairs jewelry, manufactures gold and silver rings, keeps a good assortment of clocks, silver plaited ware, jewelry, cutlery, and whatever goods naturally fall into that line. He has a good assortment of spectacles, including the genuine pebble glass, which are giving good satisfaction. Mr. Buckley is a first-class engraver, as will be seen by specimens of his work he will show you.

We notice that his patrons keep him always busy, which is a sufficient guarantee that his work commends itself. Look for advertisement soon.

J. W. FERRIS, Practical jeweler, came here last fall, and for a time was in the same room with E. D. Buckley, but some time ago moved to an eligible situation in the banking room of J. H. Price, in the south end of Union Block. He served his apprentice-ship under the direction of one of the most experienced professional jewelers in Iowa, whose work brings the highest premiums at the state fairs of the Northwest. His work thus far has shown him to be a competent and ingenious young man. He makes the mounting and setting of fine stones a specialty. He repairs watches, clocks and jewelry promptly, and although he carries no stock, will take orders for good for customers, and get them at the lowest living prices.

The furniture business of DeWitt is quite extensive, and the good stocks kept by our own dealers, together with their know integrity, are inducements for those living at a distance to leave their money here. The house of MEREDITH & HOBBS was established about six years ago, and does business in the spacious rooms on the west side of Jefferson Street, between Clinton and Fifth, formerly occupied by D. P. Meredith for same business. A glance at their stock will show that the most fastidious ought to be satisfied with selections therefrom. There you will find “spun silk” parlor suits in antique styles, Turkish parlor suits, grand enough for anybody, together with a large variety of other patterns, going to make up a complete assortment. They have some handsome chamber setts with Italian or Albany marble tops, which are pleasing to the eye, and the beds thereof restful to weary mortals. We noticed in this department some new styles that are well worthy the reader’s attention. From these fancy patterns their stock runs down through all grades to the most common, and with prices to suit the lightest purse. Hair, wool, moss, husk and sea grass mattrasses are to be found here, also carpeting, floor oil cloths, window cornices, pictures and picture frames, brackets, and all the fancy nick-nacks usually kept in such places. This firm does a large trade in wall papers, borders, and are now about receiving a new and fresh stock. Undertaking forms an important branch of the business of this house, and is always attended to with promptness. The junior partner, Mr. Hobbs, is a thorough mechanic, therefore anything left to be repaired will be scientifically done.

A. NONNENMACHER is one of the earliest settlers of DeWitt, and has furniture rooms just east of Adam Bloom’s store. They are packed from ground floor to garret with the various descriptions of furniture, at once giving the appearance of being entirely too small for his trade. Mr. N is known as a straight-forward honorable man to deal with, and of course controls a good trade. Anything in the line of parlor, chamber or kitchen furniture, pictures or picture frames can be found at this house, and at prices so low that they give satisfaction. Mr. N is a practical cabinet maker and will make to order anything you may want. Repairing in all its branches is neatly and promptly done. A large business in undertaking is done by this house, and always satisfactorily, and at reasonable prices. Mr. N is assisted by his son, J. M. Nonnenmacher, a practical mechanic, and reliable young man. This house should be better known through our advertising columns.

The meat market of F. WENDELBORN was established here April 14th 1869 by Wendelborn & Johnson and is the oldest establishment of the kind in town. These gentlemen were polite, attentive, kept everything around them as “neat as wax” and at once jumped into popular favor. In 1872 they moved to a larger store where they now are, and have ample room for their increase of business. About a year ago Mr. Wendelborn purchased the interest of Mr. Johnson, and is now sole proprietor. They have a yard in the south part of town where they fat their cattle, and never throw any poor beef on the market. His slaughter house is a model of neatness, and great pains are taken throughout to have all the surroundings as clean as possible. In addition to fresh meats, he keeps salted and smoked meats, sausages, and in their season, fresh oysters. Lard of his rendering forms an important branch of business. Mr. W. is always in the market for buying hides and pays the highest price the market affords. Henry Peters, an energetic young man, is assistant. See advertisement. Market opposite Union Block.

The “Union Market,” presided over by JOSEPH HIRCHBERG, manager, is located next door south of the Stephens Block, and is one of the live institutions of DeWitt. Mr. H. learned the business in the old country and knows the wants of his customers, as by intuition, and has a Hirchberglan way of pleasing them. In this market may be found almost anything on could ask for. He has a well appointed ice-house where the warm season meats will be kept sweet for a long time. We notice he has a good run of custom for that head cheese he fixed up so palatably. In the summer season he makes bologna sausage daily, to accommodate his numerous customers. His motto being ‘cash down,’ he can afford to sell his meats at the lowest prices. He is now receiving fresh fish daily, and reports a brisk trade in them. Mr. H. has for some time contributed to our advertising columns, and acknowledges the benefits derived therefrom. He is assisted by G. W. Byrne, a gentleman of large acquaintance and who does his level best to please his customers. See Advertisement.

H. C. Cressler unavoidably left out till next week.