Business of DeWitt: Carriage Manufacturies, Cooper, Lightning Rods and Fancy Poultry

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.

If there is a busy place about DeWitt, that place is the


Fred Driffill, proprietor. These works were established by Ex Mayor Fuller in 186-, since which time the Bashaw wagons, and the carriages made at the same establishment, have given DeWitt an enviable name for thoroughness and durability of its work. In 187- the business had increased to such an extent that Mr. Fuller built the brick shops, corner Washington and Chambers Streets. In 1878 he sold out to Fred Driffill, the present proprietor, who had had a large experience in the business, both in these shops and elsewhere. Added to his experience, Mr. D possesses that push ahead-ative-ness which with the crowding he gets from impatient outsiders, all anxious to have their work completed, yet would wait weeks rather than go elsewhere, makes the Bashaw Works as busy as a bee hive. If you want a dashing turn-out, Mr. Driffill will get you up a barouche, rockaway, landau, phaeton with either one or two seats, all gotten up in a style that would rival the crack shops of the East. And his work is not only stylish but durable, and better than all is warranted.

No man is better pleased to see a few car loads of cheap carriages auctioned in our streets than Fred Driffill, for to his practiced eye it means that he wants an extra hand in his repair department. He is doing a large business in the way of manufacturing two or three seated carriages, which every farmer should have. If heavy work is wanted, Mr. D will put you up a farm wagon on a few days notice, and which will stand the racket, and give perfect satisfaction. Although Mr. Driffill sends his work to Western Iowa and beyond, some going to the Pacific Slope, yet his principal business is in this county, and with the readers of the ADVERTISER, to whom his name is as familiar as household words. Among the jobs on hand and well under way we not a barouche and two top buggies for S. W. Johnson; a barouche and phaeton for Dr. Langan; a cleaveland four passenger carriage for Thos. Murphy; same for John Reed; same for John W. Cavenaugh; a number of milk wagons for J. B. Rose; a “nondescript” for King Bee Kimble to market honey in; a truck wagon for C. Shlabach, besides various other jobs, and other orders still coming in.

The working force is as follows – Blacksmith shop, Fred Driffill, foreman and proprietor of the Works, C. G. Forbes, who inherited the trade from his father, and Geo. W. Stephenson, who is getting the business pretty well learned. Mr. D needs more help in this department, but non but first class workmen need apply. In the wood shop are Al Driffill, D. B. Scott, Philip Butterfuss and F. B. Dearborn, all gentlemen of from fourteen to eighteen years experience, thorough workmen and good citizens. The paint shop is presided over by Ira E. Andrews, a skillful and experienced artist, and whose work we have had occasion oftentimes to commend. In times of need, Mr. Andrews calls to his aid such skilled workmen as he can get. The trimmer is Mr. J. B. Holmes, a gentleman who understands the art well, and gives good satisfaction. In ordinary work from this establishment our readers may be assured that none but the best material will be used, and that the best workmen will be employed in manufacturing it. Repairing promptly done. See advertisement.

On Dodge Street, east of Jefferson, will be found the works of


For the past twenty-four years Mr. Digman has manufactured wagons and buggies in DeWitt, and has had no reason to complain of nothing to do. He is careful to use the best of stock, and prides himself on his substantial work. He makes a specialty of repairing and does it to stay. He also makes harrows, wheelbarrows, or any thing would come in that line. He proposes to enlarge his works soon, to meet the demands of his business. Mr. D is one of the oldest patrons of the ADVERTISER, in town, and should have an advertisement in its columns.


who commenced the business of wagon maker when DeWitt was in its infancy has now taken the shop lately occupied by L. L. Hoag, and formerly by Nels Swansen, and previously by Benson Thomas. For many years Mr. Bedford worked at the carpenter and joiner business, and the fist school house built in town was put up by him. He also built the court house here, the Disciple church Congregational church and other fine buildings in our midst. The public may rest assured that any work entrusted to his care will be done to suit. Mr. Bedford is assisted by his son, Ashbel Bedford.


came here in the fall of 1868 and commenced business in a small way, doing everything without the aid of machinery. His work recommended him, and orders began to come in at such a rate that he was obliged to seek larger quarters, and he moved out of the small shop on the north side of S. Conery’s lot to a larger one opposite the Gates House. Here he put in machinery and from time to time enlarged his shop and last year put in a steam engine. A few months ago he purchased the property on the north-east corner of Harrison and Church streets and moved there. He is now about to add more machinery which will facilitate his business and help him to keep pace with his still increasing trade. His work finds a ready market among the butter dealers of Cedar Rapids, Tipton and other points westward, and particularly in our own county. At present he is filling an order for alcohol barrels for the distillery at Camanche. Mr. Carson reports the butter interest in this vicinity as having doubled during the past five years. He is a go-ahead man and will keep pace with any increase in the demand for his wares. He uses only the best of stock, and that with his promptness in filling orders brings in plenty of work. He is assisted by William Carson, a gentleman of large experience as a cooper, Charles Dearman and Lewis Mason, all good workmen, and as the season advances will procure additional help.


Lightning Rods and Monitor Washer. Mr. Daniels has been in the business of putting up lightning rods in DeWitt for the past six years, and in all the business done here, he believes he has given perfect satisfaction. He uses a inch copper rod, which is regarded as the best used; will attach such points to rods as the customer may select.

He also sells the Monitor washer, something new and said to be a great labor-saving institution. He should set forth their merits through these columns.

Mr. D guarantees satisfaction in his deals. Residence corner of Chambers and Church streets.


Star Copper Lightning Rods and Monitor Washer. Mr. W is prepared to fill all orders for repairs of rods, or to put up new ones, and will guarantee to do the work in a permanent and scientific manner. The Monitor washer should be in every family, as it is a great labor, soap and clothes saver, and needs only to be tested to insure a sale. Call on or address E. C. Wilson, Jefferson st., 2d door below Clinton.

In fancy poultry, DeWitt is a long way ahead of anything in this county, and has doubtless drawn more premiums from state and county fairs than all other points in our county combined. In this connection the name of


is familiar to our readers. He has been engaged in the business for the past seven years, and has never failed to take premiums wherever his birds were shown. His forte is Partridge Cochins and Plymouth Rocks. At the head of the Partridge Cochin family is “Todd No. 2,” a fine bird, procured of Frank Smith, Danville, Ill., and which only needs to be seen to be appreciated.

His Plymouth Rock family is presided over by a bird which took the first premium at the late poultry show at Champaign, Ill., and which was procured by Mr. Scott at a great expense, in fact, Mr. Scott is not the man to let a few dollars stand in the way of getting the best birds. This one scored ninety-three points, which is about as near perfect as is often reached. Mr. Scott informs us that his orders for eggs or birds have always been in advance of his ability to fill them.

Our young friend,


has for the few years past given his attention to the raising of fancy poultry, not so much for the profit as the amusement. There is a striking contrast between his magnificent Partridge Cochins and his diminutive Bantums, the latter weighing hardly a pound each.

He informs us that he is selling the eggs of his monmoth Partridge Cochin for only $1.00 per setting of thirteen, and will warrant them strictly pure and true to name. Next fall he hopes to have some of the young stock for sale.