I was doing research on the Chronicling America website from the Library of Congress and was mesmerized by the ads in historic newspapers. So, similar in concept to my investigations of women listed in the Sioux Falls Business Directory in 1909, this is my research into the advertisements on one page of the Yankton Press and Daily Dakotaian newspaper from July 15, 1882. The full page is posted on the Chronicling America site here. This was a year-and-a-half after a major flood in the late winter of 1881 caused major property damage to buildings, infrastructure, and boats in Yankton and Vermillion.
The first ad on the page (reading by column then left to right) is an ad for “W. B. Valentine, Builder and Contractor.” The text reads “Jobbing in Brickwork, Plastering, Kalsomining, Cisterns, &c. Dealer in Brick, White Lime, Calcined Plaster, Water Lime, Plastering Hair, Fire Brick, etc. Office and warerooms on Broadway, north of Merchants hotel, Yankton, D.T.”
William B. Valentine was born in Buffalo, New York in 1836, and he married Elfreda/Elfrida Mathias (born in England, immigrated to Quebec then to Buffalo). He was trained as a mason and builder by his father, John Valentine. He lived in Ohio and Flint and Bay City, Michigan for a time, and then came to Yankton in 1870. He worked from a brick business block north of the Merchants Hotel on 3rd Street in downtown Yankton. He built the first brick building in the city and built several churches and other buildings around the area. A biographical entry from 1904 claimed he had built more than one-half of the “principal” buildings in Yankton. He worked some repair jobs for the State Hospital for the Insane–the major public institution in Yankton.
He also got involved with civic and business affairs. He platted the twenty-fourth addition to the City of Yankton. He was also elected as a Republican to city council, a county assessor from 1873 to 1875, and a county commissioner from 1877 to 1884. He served for a year as trustee of the State Hospital at Yankton and served as one of the directors of the Yankton Bridge Company, who worked to erect a railroad/wagon bridge across the Missouri River to facilitate trade and travel. Valentine died on February 12, 1906.
Sources: Doane Robinson, History of South Dakota, vol. 2 (Sioux Falls: R.F. Bowen & Co., 1904), 1065; G.W. Kingsbury, History of Dakota Territory, vol. 4 (Chicago: S.J. Clarke Publishing Co., 1915), 616; South Dakota Historical Collections 9 (Pierre: Hipple Printing Co., 1918), 258; Biennial Report of the State Auditor of South Dakota, 1892-94 (Sioux Falls, SD: Brown & Saenger, 1894) 44; History of Southeastern Dakota: Its Settlement and Growth (Sioux City, IA: Western Publishing Co., 1881), 242; Frank H. Hagerty, SD Commissioner of Immigration, The State of South Dakota (Aberdeen: Daily News Print, 1889), 85; The Railroad Gazette (July 29, 1892), 568-569.
The second ad was for Coxhead’s Furniture Manufactory at 213-215 Cedar Street, which made and repaired “plain and fancy furniture to order” for homes and offices, with needlework upholstery available. They also sold lumber from their lot.
John Thomas Coxhead (1852-1926) came to Dakota Territory in 1881 and started this furniture business in 1882. He was born in Poughkeepsie, New York and after training in woodwork began his own business in Hyde Park in May 1875. When he came to Dakota, he eventually specialized in church and bank furniture, and he shipped across the country. Projects noted in press for the day included a hymn board for Grace Episcopal Church in Madison, Wisconsin.
Sources: G.W. Kingsbury, History of Dakota Territory, vol. 4 (Chicago: S.J. Clarke Publishing Co., 1915), 504, 507; The Church Times (Milwaukee, WI), October 1920; The Living Church Annual (Milwaukee: The Young Churchman Co., 1913), 484.
The next ad for a Walnut Street business promoted the work of Martin & Anderson Iron Works. According to the ad, John Martin and Edgar J. Anderson did mechanical and architectural iron work, especially for engines, farm machinery repair, steam and water pipes, and “Jail work.” They also bought scrap iron. The business was located on Walnut Street between 1st and 2nd. They were in business at least until 1890, but otherwise the online trail appears incredibly light…
Sources: “Classified Business Directory: Iron Founders,” The Railroad, Telegraph, and Steamship Builders’ Directory (New York: Railway Directory Publishing Co., 1890), 228.
Next is the hardware business owned by H.B. Wynn on Third Street for shelving, builders’ hardware, stoves, wagon & carriage woodstock and hardware, horse nails, harvesting tools, gas fittings, and steamboat supplies. Wynn had taken the business over from George E. Hawley.
Henry B. Wynn (1841-1902) was born in Pennsylvania and served in the cavalry in the Civil War. His brick house at 511 Cedar in Yankton is listed as a contributing resource in the residential Yankton Historic District. Wynn also served Yankton as mayor, was in the territorial legislature in 1879, and ran for governor in 1890.
Sources: National Register nomination for Yankton Historic District; Doane Robinson, History of South Dakota, vol. 1 (B.F. Bowen & Co., 1904), 412; 1900 census for Yankton; “Henry B. Wynn,” in Find-a-Grave.com.
The long advertisement for the ventures of Mills & Purdy promoted the Excelsior Drug Store (wholesale and retail) at 209 W. 3rd, which included trade in window glass, paints, and oils, and the Excelsior Book Store, with “new and popular works of the day at eastern prices” and stationary supplies. Mills & Purdy had started their business in 1869.
In the 1890s to the 1910s, Leonidas M. Purdy (1843-1891) ran the Excelsior Drug Store with Frederick A. Brecht (1842-1912), who had studied pharmacy and medicine in his birthplace of Leipsic. In Memoriam articles after Brecht’s death claimed that he had come to Dakota in 1869 and opened the Excelsior Drug Store with Purdy in 1874 (so I’m not sure where Mills fits…). In 1913, Mrs. Brecht sold the business to her sons Adolph and Paul who changed the name to Brecht Drug Company.
Sources: Billhead from 1892 for Excelsior Drug Store, of Yankton, South Dakota on Worthpoint website; Northwestern Druggist 13 (October 1912), 50 and Vol. 14 (June 1913), 92; The Journal of the American Pharmaceutical Association 1 (December 1912), 1462; 1880 census for Yankton; “Leonidus Purdy” and “Frederick A. Brecht” on Find-a-Grave.com.
The last ad in the left side column was for Adler & Ohlman, merchants in liquor, wine, beer, cigars, bar supplies (including poker chips), and billiard tables. They ran their business from Broadway St in the Merchants Hotel Block. Dates at the top of the ad indicate that they had been in business since 1860 (a later biography says it was 1870… typo or ‘creative’ advertising?).
Martin P. Ohlman (1846-1928) was born in Schleswig-Holstein, Germany and came to Yankton, D.T. in July 1866 (some census years say Germany, some record his birthplace as Denmark…). He worked various jobs in Yankton and then in Sioux City until staying on a time at Tootle & Charles, a wholesale grocery that supplied posts and reservation agencies up the Missouri River. In 1870, he returned to Yankton to form his business partnership with Adler. Abraham Adler was born in 1849 in Philadelphia to German immigrants. In the late 1870s, they shipped supplies by steamboat to Pierre and the Black Hills; they lost a load of liquor and cigars when the boat Carroll No. 2 burned in 1877. In 1890, Adler went to Chicago and the business dissolved. Afterwards, Ohlman incorporated and was the first president of American State Bank, was an active real estate investor, a trustee of Sacred Heart Hospital, and served on the board of directors for MANY other businesses–in Yankton, for gas, telephone, brick & tile, and bridge & ferry, and for a Chicago life insurance company–as well as being active in county and city politics local and state Masonic organizations, and local and state I.O.O.F.
Sources: “Steamboat Wrecks in South Dakota,” South Dakota Historical Collections 9 (Pierre: Hipple Printing Co., 1918), 398; G.W. Kingsbury, History of Dakota Territory, vol. 4 (Chicago: S.J. Clarke Publishing Co., 1915), 265-266; census, immigration, and passport records on Ancestry.com
On the right hand side of the page, there were additional smaller ads. The first was for William Tobin, a painter with a shop on Third, who could do house and sign painting, graining, ornamental painting, kalsomining (whitewash), and paper hanging.
William Tobin (1845-1920) was born in Ireland. He had been partner in the firm Ruch & Tobin with Mark Ruch but continued on independently after Ruch’s death in 1880 until forming a partnership with John Lang in 1883. His son William J. Tobin (b.1880) also went into business as a painter according to 1920 and 1930 censuses.
Sources: Census records for Yankton; Yankton Press & Daily Dakotaian (SD), April 26, 1880 and June 20, 1883; “William Tobin,” on Find-a-Grave website
Similar to Tobin, the next ad for Semple, Munroe & Co. featured painters with the added specialty of painting carriages and selling painting supplies. B.M. Semple, W.H. Munroe, and W.F. Munroe had their business on Broadway between Second & Third Streets.
B.M. Semple (1836-1905) came to the U.S. from Belfast, Ireland in 1854 and came to Dakota Territory in 1870. William H. Munroe was born in Bristol, Rhode Island and came to Dakota in 1876. I can’t find much on “W.F. Munroe”
Sources: “B.M. Semple,” on Find-a-Grave website; census records for Yankton; History of Southeastern Dakota, Its Settlement and Growth (Sioux City IA: Western Publishing Co., 1881), 378, 380.
The Krause Brothers, fresco painters, are next in the right-hand column. Stiff competition to have ads all posted together in the paper. The Krause Bros. shop was located on Third above the Blatt’s Grocery Store.
The final small ad on the page was for Mrs. Pray, a hairdresser with a shop on Walnut St near Turner Hall. Isabelle Pray was born in about 1847 in Massachusetts and lived in Yankton with her young daughter, Eva.
Sources: 1880 census.