January 1845’s Wayne Sentinel, put out by Fred Clemons, notes that clover and Timothy seed, as well as flour, are for sale.
Now you have Wm. Drake, one of the lifelong families that has dotted the Palmyra history books for its entirety, asking to purchase barley of over 2,000 bushels at the highest price. Cash will be on delivery at the Drake Warehouse on Railroad Ave. The Palmyra Brewery is advertising cash for barley. The Robert Mackechnie Palmyra Brewery would like you to bring your sample of the finest barley, and a possible contract could be given to the finest quality producer. This business was located near the Erie Canal, and the barley was expected to be delivered to this location as part of the price.
Joseph Lovett, owner of a dry goods, grocery, and hardware store, was advertising, at greatly reduced prices, the finest material for dresses at $1 a yard or more. Dresses were not being premade as we do today, and actually Neiman Marcus was one of the first stores to offer already made off-the-rack clothing. Dressmakers, millinery, suit makers and seamstresses were a very lucrative jobs in those days. Every community had its share of makers of shoes, clothes, dry goods (cloth materials) and undergarments. Lovett also carried paper hangings and borders.
Lovett’s block was on East Main Street and his home was in the back section of the Village Park with his large estate, which we call the Village Park today. All things were made of the finest quality with the finest stitching, nothing mass produced in this area, not even a beaver hat or a high starched collar for the men.
We get to know who these Palmyra people were in our past by what they did, what they owned, where they lived and their businesses. Hemingway and Hart, lawyers of the day, advertise for business in 1845. The buying or selling of pork was cash; farmers advertise cash paid for produce. Another ad notes “CASH! CASH! CASH! For Wheat!”
Free market makes the world go round, and America has always been at the forefront of buying and selling. These excerpts of the old newspapers can give you an idea that things and details may change some, but basically buying and selling is a time-honored business.
The holiday season and gift giving, dressmaking for the party goer and giving a well-made present was in full swing. Although today under our trees at Christmas time the prices are larger and the packages are smaller, the technical world seems to have taken over, but at the holiday party the young ladies always want to be the best dressed with the fanciest dress and shoes. From bustles to ugly sweaters, it’s just a matter of taste and not the years that separate the times. That’s the beauty of history, people don’t change. Mechanics may change, but people, whether children or adults, still like the same things.
We at Historic Palmyra wish you all an historic holiday season and a profitable, good health filled and safe New Year. Our museums will be closed Dec. 27 through Jan. 3. Enjoy your time off, renew, relax and remember.