08 January 2014

Will's Feed & Saddle Shop, Rochester

My great great grandpa's feed and saddle shop in Rochester (right).  The Mail Pouch sign and an earlier Henry George tabacco sign (just barely visible) would have been painted on the building while he owned it.
I seem to be on a family tree theme, if you'll indulge me a bit more.  A few weeks ago I was driving through Rochester and passed by a building that my grandfather told me once housed his grandfather's saddle and tack shop.  I had noticed the building next to it had been extensively renovated, covering up much of its original appearance, so I thought....shoot....I better take a picture of my great-great-granddad's store while it still looks like it did in the early 1900s.


Will and Adella Garner's home at 514 Fulton Street, Rochester
In the last years of his life I would drive my grandfather, whose real name was Charles, but he went by "Jack" to visit his sister, Hazel, who lived just outside of Rochester.  Gramps would point out various things he remembered in Rochester as a boy, though he grew up in Argos.  He told me once that his grandfather came with his brothers from Ireland.  I found that to be inaccurate.  He also told me that we were part Cherokee through that line.....another claim I've found no evidence of.  So, I do take hesitation on relaying the earlier part of this story-though his grandfather, William, was listed as owning a farm, and being a merchant in the censuses.


The William and Adella (Prill) Garner family, c. 1902.
"Will" Jacob Garner was born in Cass County, Michigan in 1861 to Henry, who, according to my grandfather's aunt, only stuck around long enough to make babies.  She was 95 when she told me this.....and I cleaned it up!  In Henry's defense, he was enlisted in the Union Army.  The family had lived in Wabash County for nearly 20 years before moving to Michigan, and then returning to Fulton County, Indiana after the war.  Will married Adella Prill, who was supposedly Cherokee, and they had a large family of nine children.  I've seen a photo of the farm they lived on near Leiter's Ford in the late 1800s.  But by 1900, Will had moved his family into Rochester to 514 Fulton Street, where Will and Adella continued to live until his death in 1942.  A brother named John, who they called "Jack" lived with Will's family in the early 1900s.  This was the first of four generations of Jacks in our family.

My great grandfather, Harley, and his father, Will, at Will's house on Fulton Street, c. 1939.
Will opened a feed, saddle and tack shop on the north end of Rochester's downtown, on the Michigan Road, in about 1900 just a few blocks from his house.  While in town I swung by to see if I could locate 514 Fulton Street.  It was still there and it matches the house I have a photo of from about 1940.  Every generation of my family since Will have also been entrepreneurs.  While that may seem like I'm bragging, my wife pointed out once that it's likely because we can't work for anyone else.  That seems highly accurate.


1 comment:

Jim said...

Not being able to work for others is a common trait among entrepreneurs!