Millington Business Directory in March 1873
Published in the Kendall County Record, March 20, 1873.
Edited and compiled by Elmer Dickson
From recent developments it appears that a strong probability exists that before long the Fox River may have another railroad upon its banks. Favorable communications from reliable sources are received daily. The law controlling the company and protecting people seems to meet the approval of every one whom has thoroughly investigated it. It is quite possible that the Chicago, Millington & Western Railroad [a narrow gauge road] will soon be constructed. However as the railroad, canal and other improvements are in competent hands we will leave them there. [Neither the narrow gauge railroad nor the canal was ever completed.]
My time and space this week shall be devoted to various enterprises already under successful operation. The dry goods and grocery store of L. B. S. Watters, Esq., was started several years ago and is the oldest house in that business in town. Mr. Watters has built up a good trade, which is constantly increasing. It has been his desire to build a large addition to his store this coming season. There is hardly sufficient space to display his large stock of goods to advantage with the post office in the same room. Should Mr. Watters carry his present plan of building into effect it would add greatly to the convenience of the store, and materially improve the appearance of that part of town.
About twenty months ago Mr. S. E. Foster came from Geneva to our village and established himself in business with a full line of dry goods, drugs and groceries. He is currently closing out the dry goods portion. He intends to give his attention entirely to groceries, drugs, paints, oils and such other commodities that pertain to such an establishment. By fair dealing and strict attention to business Mr. Foster has secured a trade which averages $1,000 a month.
Fifteen months ago our townsman Mr. George Neff left his farm and opened the only hardware store in town. He has found abundant employment and numerous customers. My call on Mr. Neff was made so late in the day that he had no time to give any definite statement, but his trade has reached some thousands of dollars. Beside what may usually be found in such stores, he has a lot of farming implements. He is not an agent, but buys them directly from the manufacturer and sells as he pleases. He currently has a large inventory of farm implements. Mr. Neff and Mr. Foster have both invested quite heavily in real estate.
Serrine & Son, whose warehouse was built less than two years ago, are doing a fine business in the grain trade. They have shipped within the past year something over 100,000 bushels of grain. They have the facilities for doing a much heavier business, but it must be remembered that there is little wheat raised in this section. Most farmers feed out the bulk of their corn on the farm. It is estimated that at the present prices of beef and pork they realize about fifty cents per bushel more than the current market price by feeding their corn to cattle and hogs. Many farmers, who do not feed, are holding their corn for a better price. Serrine & Sons have constant occupation as they deal quite largely in coal and other commodities.
From the first of November 1872, to the first of March 1873, Mr. Joseph Jackson received and sold 640 tons of coal. He could easily have sold a far greater amount if he could have gotten it. Much of the time in the early part of the season it was impossible to get coal in sufficient quantities to supply the demand. Housekeepers generally consider coal a necessary evil. We must have fuel, and if wood cannot be had, of course coal must be used, disregarding that much is disagreeable about it.
Mr. Jackson sold his interest in the coal, lumber and other businesses to devote more time to Millington enterprises and the improvement of his property in town.
We received quite an interesting statement from Mr. L. H. Partridge, concerning the business of the cheese factory. The total amount of milk received from May 7, to October 31, 1872 was 671,414 pounds, from which 67,207 pounds of cured cheese was made. The foregoing statement will prove interesting to the scientific reader, but many practical men are wishing to know the final result. Does it pay? That is the question many are asking but the answer will not be known until all of the cheese is disposed of. It is expected and hoped that the results will prove satisfactory to all parties, as Mr. Partridge has expended several thousand dollars to erect a substantial and commodious building, furnished in the best order. Many farmers have relied upon the convenience and profit of having a cheese factory in Millington.
The "Spotted Fawn" store has been established less than a year. When we consider that the business is transacted on a strictly cash basis, its great success is truly wonderful. Perhaps no previous year in the past twenty has money been scarcer. Yet the Spotted Fawn has sprung up among us and without precedent flourishes as the only store for miles around which demands cash for their goods and it pays it out freely again for produce. Within the past year $9,435 has been paid for produce, such as butter, eggs, etc. Of course, much of it has been exchanged for goods at the store, but not necessarily so as everyone can take the money for their produce and go elsewhere and trade if they please. The cash plan is an advantage to the merchant and customer alike. The merchant has his goods or the money for them. At the end of the year there is no long account against the customer. To be sure, occasionally a little time seems an advantage, but more often proves a curse than a blessing to all parties.
Mr. Sims is very fortunate in his store, as it is spacious, and light and airy. It presents a splendid opportunity for arranging the goods which he so well understands the art of displaying. The sale of goods far exceeds his most sanguine expectations. This may be attributed to several good reasons. One of which is his perfect understanding of the motto of the Spotted Fawn: "The secret of success, comprehend your work," This is really the foundation of success in every phase of life.
Application was made to the various buyers of livestock who operate in the vicinity of Millington and Newark and ship their stock from this point. However, to this writing only Messrs. Stephen & Vreeland have responded. By asking our obliging station agent, Mr. S. H. Halsey, we were able to obtain the desired information. During the four-month period, November 1, 1872 until March 1, 1873, 108 carloads of livestock were shipped from Millington. This represents about 5,000 hogs, the rest sheep and cattle.
Included in the above lot of hogs are 1,896 shipped by Stephen & Vreeland. They began buying very late in the season, but are so well satisfied with the result of their work they intend to begin early next season and give their entire time to the business. If should be borne in mind that the 5,000 hogs shipped from Millington were raised in a small scope of country. Each community has their own buyers and railroad station.
There has been 91 cars of white sand shipped during the winter, but the business is prosecuted more vigorously and effectively in warm weather.
The hay press of Carlow & Paddock was not placed into operation until very late in the season. Mr. Paddock was called to Springfield and very soon after; Mr. Carlow met with the accident, which deprived him of one hand. He was confined to his room for several weeks. The accident, together with unfavorable weather, delayed business at the press for a long time. It is now under successful operation, and may be considered one of Millington's fully established industries. Farmers will find a good market for their hay.
Mr. R. E. Mason has commenced the manufacturer of agricultural implements. Farmers who are determined to buy directly from the manufacturer would do well to call on him. Mr. Mason intends to drive a heavy business. He has rented the Austin House, where he will board the employees.
Mr. J. H. Verbeck has taken possession of the lumberyard recently purchased, and has received several carloads of lumber this week.