Fremont County, Iowa

Shull Hardware
(Over 100 Years)
by Carole Hamilton

View from the Attic ~ A Weekly Series
Fremont County Historical Society
Week of July 12, 2010

The building, that today houses Shull Hardware in Riverton, Iowa, was constructed in 1873 and 1874, at a cost of $8,000, by the Masonic Lodge. There were sixty members at that time.

The ground floor housed three different hardware businesses before the Shulls took ownership. The first was owned by James C. Roberts and Thomas Thompson. J.C. Roberts moved to Fremont County in 1874. In October 2, 1877, with Mr. Thompson, he established a large and prosperous hardware store in Riverton.

Thomas Thompson came to America from Scotland in 1841, by 1842 he was located in Fremont county. In July 11,1881, Thompson was noted for shooting and wounding the leg of Polk Wells, one of Jesse James's Gang, after Wells robbed the bank in Riverton.

The hardware business was then purchased by Robert Mawhor, who owned it from 1899 to 1900.

The third owners were Sherman Smith and Arthur Sherlock. Mr. Smith was the son of Isaac Smith, one of the original owners of the land on which Riverton was built. in 1908, it was purchased by Lott and Kimber Shull.

Lott was born in 1863, in Northumberland County, Pennsylvania of German lineage. His parents came to visit the Smith family on the first train to come through Riverton in 1870. In 1872, Daniel Shull and Caroline (Smith) Shull moved to Riverton with four small children. Lott, the eldest, was nine years old. He grew up on the farm, one mile east of Riverton, and he was engaged in farming and stock feeding when he purchased one half of the store with his son, Kimber (known as K.C.), who had been born in 1886 on the farm. He started running the hardware business, when he was twenty-two years of age.

K.C. decided to expand the business in 1919, and became one of the first licensed morticians in the state of Iowa. He had already been selling caskets as part of the furniture business. In 1929, K.C. purchased the other half of the business from his father. K.C.'s four sons joined him in the business as a partnership in 1951. The brothers, Earl, Ben, Bob, and Harold all worked together for 50 years in the Hardware Store. Earl and Ben were morticians for the funeral home and also directed funerals and sold monuments. Bob and Harold fixed televisions and radios for many years and also lived on and farmed the land holdings.

Tom, Earl's son, owns the business now. He purchased it in 2002, after working there for years. The store today, still offers numerous hardware items from years gone by. Many family members have worked at the store through the years, including fifth generation Jake Shull, Tom's son. Some things never change. There are still nuts and bolts, buckets and tools for sale, but K.C. Shull and his family have all known that service to the public was always the goal.

Some of this was written by Carole Hamilton on the 100th anniversary of the Shull Hardware store, March 2010. Information acquired through; The 1881, History of Fremont County, old newspaper articles and the history book of the Smith family. View From the Attic would like the story of more of the long-time businesses in Fremont County. If you have such a story please contact Lona Lewis at 712-374-6098 or Evelyn Birkby at 712-374-2335.

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Page updated on May 10, 2017 by Karyn Techau