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In the Days of Livery Stables - 1938


Posted By: Volunteer
Date: 5/31/2006 at 09:02:53

"Lockridge Times"
Lockridge, Jefferson, Iowa
February 17, 1938

Mark Weston
Eight Grade American History

Few of us stop to think as we ride quickly and comfortably through the country in our modern automobiles that if we had been living twenty-five or more years ago, we would have traveled much slower and with less comfort either on horseback or in some horse drawn vehicle. Just as the modern taxi is for hire so livery stables were maintained at all important points to supply the needs of travelers before cars became common.

About 1903 the need for such service became so great in the growing town of Lockridge that a building was erected at the intersection of Main and Center streets on the site now occupied by the Vorhies Garage to serve as a livery stable.

The first livery service was when Mesh Mickey lived where Elmer Smithburg now resides. He also owned a grain mill and a saw mill where the blacksmith's shop now stands. On the southwest corner of the street was Hartman's creamery. On the northwest corner of the street was Lindberg's blacksmith shop. The drug store was located on the corner near where Crane's Service Station now stands. The livery stable was a large wooden structure similar in appearance to barns used on general farms. The lower floor contained room for about twenty to twenty-five horses and an office. Hay and grain storage space was provided on the second floor.

The business was owned and operated at different times by present and former residents of the community. Mesh Mickey, Louis Duttweiler, Smith & Fagan, Joe Liblin, Walter Smithburg, Eric Hinkle and perhaps others were in charge for longer or shorter periods. The longest period of operation was by Mesh Mickey. During his period of operation most of the driving was done by his sons, Clarence and Arthur. Other drives and helpers were Lester Larson, Walter Snider, Milan (Pete) Carlson, Ernest Sharpe, Roscoe Hartwell and Glen Ossman.

The stables were never filled to capacity, ten to twelve horses being the average number kept. Some of the better remembered were Dewey, probably born soon after the Spanish-American war, Roskey, Nelly and Madame.

Different kinds of carriages were available. For large groups the surrey, a four wheeled, two seated affair was used, for smaller groups several single seated buggies were kept. For funerals a hearse that would appear strange to us who are accustomed to the splendid auto hearses were kept. It was last brought out for use about 1926 before highway number 34 was paved, for the funeral of Joseph Ripley, but the roads were impassable and the body was taken to the local cemetery on a hand car. The hearse was later sold to Mark Hoskins of Fairfield, who still has it in his possession. Bob sleds and sleighs were used in the winter.

Trips were made to neighboring towns in Jefferson and Henry Counties. Brighton, Pleasant Plain, Wayland, Noble, Mt. Pleasant, Fairfield, Stockport, Hillsboro, Salem, Denora, Glendale, Rome and Salina were towns frequently visited by local outfits.

The best customers were traveling men or "drummers," as they were called. One of them was Tony Carlson, then traveling for a cracker company. These men were good company for the drivers with their proverbial string of stories and jokes.


Jefferson Documents maintained by Joey Stark.
WebBBS 4.33 Genealogy Modification Package by WebJourneymen

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