N. S. Davis Trade Card, Somerset, Mass.

Trade card, Somerset, Mass. Circa 1867 – 1876.

Price:  $10.00           Size:  About 2 x 3 and 1/4″

“N. S. Davis, Dealer in Fruit, Confectionery, Ice Cream Soda, Cigars &c. &c. Somerset – Mass.”

Another grocery-type trade card, this one with the owner’s stamp fitting neatly in the blank area on the card, just as it was designed to do. It shows two blond children with spyglasses. And the clarity of the image is not too good, but still, this would be an amazing find for someone searching for N. S. Davis in their ancestry or just nice for collectors of Somerset or confectionery trade cards, in general.

Dealer in a little of almost everything

We find N. S. Davis is Nathan S. Davis, from his 1870 ad below in the Somerset city directory, and he offered a wide variety of items. But is he also the Nathan S. Davis, sea captain, born 1828, that appears in directories and census records?

Two Nathan S. Davis’ in Somerset

Getting a little bleary-eyed looking up the many records under this name, but we see that there was the Nathan Simmons Davis (1828 – 1918) son of Nathan Davis and Clarissa (Bowen) Davis, who lived in Somerset, served as a U.S. Postmaster and was a sea-captain, and there was Pvt. Nathan S. Davis (1828 – 1887) from Somerset, son of Baylis and Nancy Davis, who served in the Civil War and was listed as a mariner at the time of his death. Which one was also the confectioner who gave out this trade card is the mystery. And wouldn’t you know it, the spyglass theme fits both of them perfectly (not to mention this was the Atlantic seaboard region, so nautical was common in general, one assumes.)

Sources:  Dudley & Greenough‘s The Bristol County Directory and Gazetteer for 1867-68. p. 93. Ancestry.com. U.S. City Directories, 1822-1995.

D. Dudley & Co.’s The Bristol County Directory and History for 1870. p. 39. Ancestry.com. U.S. City Directories, 1822-1995.

Dean Dudley & Co.’s The Bristol County Directory and History for 1875-76. p. 130. Ancestry.com. U.S. City Directories, 1822-1995.

Record of Appointment of Postmasters, 1832-1971. NARA Microfilm Publication, M841, 145 rolls. Records of the Post Office Department, Record Group Number 28. Washington, D.C.: National Archives. (Ancestry.com).

Nathan Simmons Davis. Find A Grave Memorial# 91007972. (Findagrave.com).

Pvt. Nathan S. Davis. Find A Grave Memorial# 91299742. (Findagrave.com).

Massachusetts Vital Records, 1840–1911. New England Historic Genealogical Society, Boston, Massachusetts. (Ancestry.com).

I. K. Messer, Grocer, Haverhill, Mass.

Here’s a lovely trade card in pink tones, for  “I. K. Messer, Grocer, 82 Emerson St., Haverhill, Mass.”

Trade card. Haverhill, Massachusetts. Circa 1876 – 1880.

Price:  $10.00                Size:  about 4 and 5/8 x 3″

“He removed his tricorn with a flourish and made her a low sweeping bow….”

1873 – Address listed as Emerson near Winter, Haverhill

1876 and 1880 – 82 Emerson St., Haverhill

1882 – Address listed as 83 Emerson St., Haverhill

Below, an 1880 city directory ad for Ira K. Messer:

Sources:  Greenough, Jones & Co.’s Massachusetts Cities Directory, 1873. p. 107. Ancestry.com. U.S. City Directories, 1822-1995.

W. A. Greenough & Co.’s City of Haverhill Directory, 1876. p. 182. Ancestry.com. U.S. City Directories, 1822-1995.

W. A. Greenough & Co.’s City of Haverhill Directory, 1880. p. 46 in the advertising department. Ancestry.com. U.S. City Directories, 1822-1995.

Merrimack River Directory, Haverhill, 1882. p. 385. Ancestry.com. U.S. City Directories, 1822-1995.

Samuel Clarke 12 & 14 S. Queen St., Lancaster, PA

Trade card, Lancaster, PA. Circa 1888 – 1890.

Price:  $10.00        Size:  about 4 and 1/8 x 2 and 1/4″

“Call on Samuel Clarke, for Teas Coffees and Groceries, 12 & 14 South Queen Street. Don’t read the other side.”

Ahhh, a nice marketing ploy… who could resist turning over the card to see what we’re “not” supposed to look at? It shows a list of  “A Few of Clarke’s Prices”  (coffee 25¢ per pound!) and underneath,  “Call and be convinced that we are the Cheapest and Best House in Lancaster.”

Samuel Clarke, grocer, shows up on the Lancaster city directories below:

1888  and 1890 – address 12 and 14 S Queen, home address the same

1892 – 4 E. King, home 21 N. Ann

1899 – 38 W. King St.

Sources:  J. E. Williams’ Annual Lancaster City and County Directory, 1888. p. 67. Ancestry.com. U.S. City Directories, 1822-1995.

J. E. Williams’ Lancaster City and County Directory, 1890. p. 63. Ancestry.com. U.S. City Directories, 1822-1995.

J. E. Williams’ Lancaster City and County Directory, 1892. p. 91. Ancestry.com. U.S. City Directories, 1822-1995.

R. L. Polk & Co.’s 1899-1900 Directory of Lancaster, Pennsylvania and Vicinity. p. 87. Ancestry.com. U.S. City Directories, 1822-1995.

His First Suspenders

Hires Root Beer Trade Card, circa 1895 – 1900.

Price:  $10.00            Size:  3 x 5″

This trade card is not in the best condition, and certainly not rare, so might be of most value to the H. G. Krueger Family and their relations. The back touts the health benefits of Hire’s Root Beer, made from  “Sarsaparilla Root, Herbs and Phosphates”  and draws the correlation:

“The Boy that is robust and healthy is the boy that is capable of enjoying his first pair of suspenders……The Child or Adult that drinks Hires Root Beer is pretty sure to be robust and healthful.”


Herman G. Krueger was a retail grocer in Detroit, per the city directory listings 1895 – 1912 for 1418 Baldwin Avenue, which was both his residence and business address. (The name Krueger is not to be confused with Kroger’s which was founded in Cincinnati by Bernard Kroger.) However, two census records and most city directories show Herman G. Krueger as a carpenter, specifically a joiner, by trade. Prior to the Baldwin address he lived at 264 Watson St.

The Krueger family

Herman, according to the 1900 Federal Census for Detroit was born March 25, 1862 in Germany, married to Emile, born Germany, September 17, 1872. Their son, Elmer A. Krueger, was born in Michigan, November 30, 1898. (The 1900 was a lovely census, giving full dates of birth.) The Krueger’s address was the 1418 Baldwin Avenue one, and Herman’s occupation is joiner. The 1910 finds the family still at the Baldwin address and with additional children:  Dorothy, Herman, Jr. and Mildred.

Baldwin Avenue

Baldwin Avenue is today known as Baldwin Street, however, the street numbering is different now. In the Krueger’s time 1418 Baldwin Ave. was located around the cross street of Hendrie, some blocks north of Gratiot, whereas today, 1418 Baldwin St. is located a block north of E. Lafayette, so, not far from the river.

Sources:  R. L. Polk & Co.’s Detroit City Directory, 1891. p. 672. Ancestry.com. U.S. City Directories, 1822-1995.

R. L. Polk & Co.’s Detroit City Directory, 1895. p. 816. Ancestry.com. U.S. City Directories, 1822-1995.

R. L. Polk & Co.’s Detroit City Directory, 1912. p. 1562. Ancestry.com. U.S. City Directories, 1822-1995.

Kroger. n.d. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kroger (accessed October 9, 2017).

Year: 1900; Census Place: Detroit Ward 17, Wayne, Michigan; Roll: 753; Page: 1B; Enumeration District: 0174; FHL microfilm: 1240753. (Ancestry.com)

Year: 1910; Census Place: Detroit Ward 17, Wayne, Michigan; Roll: T624_680; Page: 7B; Enumeration District: 0264; FHL microfilm: 1374693. (Ancestry.com)

6944 Wyoming Street, Dearborn, Michigan

Old photo, 6944 Wyoming Street, Dearborn, MI. January 25, 1967.

Price:  $6.00             Size:  5 x 5″

Like the prior post’s two photos, this one might have been taken by or for a real estate company. It shows a small restaurant, what one would affectionately call a hamburger joint, at 6944 Wyoming St., Dearborn, Michigan, one block south of Warren Ave.

The sentry

We see faces and figures almost everywhere and this is a good one:  The partial image of a sentry-type guy standing straight (as sentries do) and looking to his right. The manhole cover is his armor and he is guarding the restaurant. 🙂

Various name changes

October 13, 1955, Detroit Free Press ad, waitress wanted, restaurant name not given.

Tone’s Grill, 1 block south of Warren – waitress and counter help ads April 5, 1956 – October 5, 1959. Tone’s was owned by Anthony Basso per city directories (1955 – 1956). And there’s an Anthony Basso entry for Tony’s Grill in 1953, which may or may not have been at the same location.

February 1, 1978 – July 3, 1978 restaurant for sale ads

DC Coney Island in 1990 Free Press ads for newspaper box stands

Kas’s Coney Island – most recent name found, about September 10, 2010 – November 12, 2013. No longer in business.

June 2017 photos

The sign in the window shows for sale; these photos below were taken from our visit to the area in June 2017. For how long the business has been vacant we’re not quite sure, maybe 2013-ish, per an Mlive business entry search. Anyway, you can still read the faint “Coney Island” on the big hanging sign, which was probably for one of the more recent incarnations, and the interior is neat, cool that is….There’s the old 1950s counter with the metal edging (I have the same type in my kitchen only my counter is yellow) the old counter stools, the Semper Fi U. S. Marines plaque proudly displayed off to the side next to the small U. S. flag, the definitely older country scene on the wall (1920s? maybe) and the two wall plaques. We’re betting the decor was still in place from Tony’s era. (We kinda feel like we know Tony a little, now. A cool guy.)

The display, above left is a shorter version of J. P. McEvoy’s popular poem, circa 1925:

“Guest, you are welcome here,

Be at your ease;

Get up when you’re ready,

Go to bed when you please;

Happy to share with you

Such as we’ve got:

The leaks in the roof

And the soup in the pot…

You don’t have to thank us

Or laugh at our jokes,

Sit deep and come often…

You’re one of the Folks.”

The one above right, shows a saying (how can we argue with it?!) by an unknown author and states:

“The man who invented work

Made one bad mistake:

He didn’t finish it!”

Sources:  R. L. Polk & Co.’s Dearborn (Wayne County, Mich.) City Directory, 1953. Vol. 11. p. 37. (Ancestry.com).

R. L. Polk & Co.’s Dearborn (Wayne County, Mich.) City Directory, 1955. Vol. 12. p. 678. (Ancestry.com).

Waitress wanted ad. Detroit Free Press, October 13, 1955. Thursday, p. 48. (Newspapers.com).

Counter and grill service ad. Detroit Free Press, April 5, 1956. Thursday, p. 42. (Newspapers.com).

Waitress for counter and grill ad. Detroit Free Press, October 5, 1959. Monday, p. 31. (Newspapers.com).

Restaurant for sale. Detroit Free Press, January 31, 1978. Monday, p. 27 and July 3, 1978. Monday, p. 29. (Newspapers.com).

News boxes west of Woodward. DC Coney Island. Detroit Free Press, January 27, 1990. Monday, p. 27 and February 25, 1990. Sunday, p. 40. (Newspapers.com).

Kas’s Coney Island. businessfinder.mlive.com (accessed October 8, 2017).

J. P. McEvoy. n.d. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/J._P._McEvoy (accessed October 8, 2017).

13925 Tireman Avenue, Dearborn, MI

Two vintage photos, February 25, 1959. Tireman Avenue, Dearborn, Michigan.

Price for the set:  $6.00           Size: 5 x 5″ each

Braccy….Bracey Trucking…note the lettering starting with B…on the roof, top photo

February 25, 1959. These photos may have been taken for a real estate company, if not real estate maybe for a photography class or something along those lines. In any case, they show the Dearborn side of Tireman Avenue, between Maple Street (Decatur Street on the Detroit side) and the railroad tracks. The tracks run across Tireman today so unless they were moved or the image got reversed or the photographer was looking into the 14000 block (golly, this is getting convoluted) it would seem like the top view was standing west of the tracks looking east, with Tireman further on the left but out of the picture. It’s just fields and parking lots now, but time-traveling back to the mid to late 1950s, 13925 Tireman was found as a listing for Braccy Trucking (then Bracey Trucking). And on the 1940 Federal Census for Dearborn, Albert Braccy is listed as truck driver in the lumber supply industry, born in Italy about 1893, with wife, Lucy, born in Vermont (but read on) about 1898. Lucy is the owner of a trailer camp. Their address on the 1940 is 13717 Tireman, though in 2 and 1/3 pages of census records everyone is listed either at 13717 or 13723, all owned, no rentals. (This is something we’ve not come across before.) On the 1930 census for Detroit (5920 Renville St.) the couple is listed with their seventeen-old daughter, Sophia. All three family members were born in Italy. Albert at this time is a manager for a coal company.

Tireman at the railroad tracks in 2016, looking east.

City directories

1955 – Braccy Trucking, 13925 Tireman Ave., Dearborn. Albert Braccy living at 9141 Littlefield, Detroit.

1956  – Bracey Trucking, 13925 Tireman Ave., Dearborn. Albert Bracey, residence Detroit.

1958 – Bracey Trucking, 13925 Tireman Ave., Dearborn. Albert Bracey, residence Detroit.

Sources:  Year: 1940; Census Place: Dearborn, Wayne, Michigan; Roll: T627_1826; Page: 81A; Enumeration District: 82-26. (Ancestry.com).

Year: 1930; Census Place: Detroit, Wayne, Michigan; Roll: 1061; Page: 18A; Enumeration District: 0738; FHL microfilm: 2340796. (Ancestry.com).

R. L. Polk & Co’s Dearborn (Wayne County, Mich) City Directory, 1955, Vol 12. p. 69. (Ancestry.com).

R. L. Polk & Co.’s Yellow Pages, Dearborn (Michigan) 1956. p. 156. (Ancestry.com).

R. L. Polk & Co.’s Dearborn (Wayne County, Mich.) City Directory., 1958, Vol. 14. p. 160. (Ancestry.com).

Google map image and satellite view, July 2016. (Google.com)

Canadian National Railways Steam Engine 6218

Two vintage black and white steam engine photos, October 1966.

Price for set:  $10.00         Size:  3 and 1/2 x 5″ each.

October 1966, she’s a beauty….

The CN Steam engine 6218 (4-8-4). She’s moving away from us, toward our left. Note the engineer (?) in the first photo, with his head out the window – he’s easy to miss, as he blends in a little. This steam locomotive was built in 1942 by the Montreal Locomotive Works, retired in 1959, then rebuilt and restored in 1963 and used for rail fan trips before being finally retired in 1971, obtained by the town of Fort Erie, Ontario in 1973 and moved in 1974 to the Fort Erie Railway Museum. Restoration of the engine and caboose has been badly needed for some decades. The most recent article we found on the subject, “RFP to plan 6218 restoration”  is dated Feb. 22, 2017 and appears in the online magazine Heritage Rail Alliance. And for more photos (1966 through 2010) see  rrpictures.archives.net.

Acme Quality Paints, Inc.

That’s an Acme Paint sign in the background of both snapshots, but you can see it better in the shot on our right. Since these photos were found (at an antique store) on our last Detroit trip, and Acme Quality Paints started and had plants in Detroit (as well as other states) plus the fact that some of the photos in the railroad pictures link above were taken in October in Detroit, it’s a better guess than most that the photos’ location could have been Detroit. But maybe this post will jog some memories and someone can let us know, for sure.

Sources:  4-8-4. n.d. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/4-8-4 (accessed October 1, 2017).

“RFP to plan 6218 restoration.” September 22, 2017. Heritage Rail Alliance (www.atrrm.org) Accessed October 1, 2017.

Pictures of CN 6218. http://www.rrpicturearchives.net/Locopicture.aspx?id=100419. (accessed September 30, 2017).

Thompson, Kenneth, “Acme Paints, 75, Is ‘Here to Stay,’ ” Detroit Free Press. March 15, 1959, Sunday, p. 14. (Newspapers.com)

J. J. Mahoney, Trainmaster, Chicago & Alton Railroad

Business card. Circa 1900 – 1910.

Price:  $15.00               Size:  About 3 and 5/8 x 2 and 1/4″

A nice piece of history involving the Chicago & Alton Railroad:  the business card for Trainmaster, J. J. Mahoney. What’s a trainmaster you might ask? Here’s a definition from the Houston Chronical:

“The railroad industry employs many professionals that ensure the safety of trains, their passengers and cargo. A trainmaster oversees the safe departure and arrival of trains at a specific train terminal. They work with yardmasters, conductors and engineers to ensure trains arrive and depart in a timely manner. While other railroad professionals work outside on the train or in the railway yard, trainmasters spend a large majority of their time indoors communicating with staff on the trains.”

So, we did some web searching (per usual) for the full name of our trainmaster, but no luck. However, we did find him mentioned in the publication Railway Age Gazette, that was put out for the first half of the year, 1910:

“J. J. Mahoney, assistant superintendent of the Chicago & Alton at Bloomington, Ill., has been appointed superintendent of transportation of the Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe, with office at Newton, Kan. The office of assistant superintendent of the Alton at Bloomington has been abolished.”

And we’ll add this post to our Unusual Occupations category, not that trainmaster is necessarily so unusual but rather in the probability that many (like myself until now) have never heard of this particular job title.

Sources:  Alton Railroad. n.d. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alton_Railroad (accessed September 22, 2017).

Michael, Elvis, “What Is A Railroad Trainmaster?” Houston Chronical. http://work.chron.com/railroad-trainmaster-20446.html (accessed September 30, 2017).

Railway Age Gazette, January 1 – June 30, 1910, Vol. 48, no. 13. p. 916. (Google eBook).

Railbirds, Kent, 1925

Old photo, Kent, 1925.

Price:  $2.00               Size:  4 and 3/8 x 2 and 3/4″

I thought railbirds would be railroad workers, but no. The definition of railbird from Dictionary.com is:

Noun, informal

  1.  a horse-racing fan who watches racing or workouts from the railing or along the track.
  2. any kibitzer or self-stylized critic or expert

Origin:  1890-95, Americanism; rail + bird in sense of “frequenter,” as in jailbird, yardbird.

The term is also used today for billiards and poker spectators. But the estimated time frame for the word origin, 1890 – 1895, seems accurate at least as far as old newspaper mentions go. Prior to 1890 – ’91 one can find many articles and clips on an actual bird called a railbird (rail-bird, rail bird). From the Reading Times, 1869:

“Railbirds have been less numerous this season on the Delaware marshes….”

And from the Ashtabula Weekly Telegraph, 1879, a good description of the feathered ones:

Which Kent?

Back to the photo….Kent, 1925, but which Kent? Ohio….England….or other? And it could have been taken at a horse racing event, either that or it was just a clever caption, because the guys (all but one) are perched (back to the bird theme, no pun intended) on an outdoor railing. We can read wording behind them that says “Billiards.” And there’s some lettering on the awning, but not enough to figure out a business name. But the guys’ boots…almost all the same, that makes it seem like they were workers of some type.

Sources:  railbird. http://www.dictionary.com/browse/railbird. (accessed September 19, 2017).

Reading Times (Reading, Pennsylvania) October 13, 1869. Wednesday, p. 2 (Newspapers.com)

“English Rail-Birds in Monroe County.” Ashtabula Weekly Telegraph (Ashtabula, Ohio) December 5, 1879. Friday, p. 4.

Lingering In La Porte, 1917

Old photo, August, 1917, La Porte, Indiana.

Price:  $4.00           Size:  3 and 1/4 x 2 and 1/4″

La Porte, 1917…..

A group of guys seated (and one standing) around a corner shop window. You can just barely see the image of the photographer in the window’s reflection. What was the story with this photo? Were the men waiting for the shop to open, waiting for public transportation, were they day-workers waiting to get hired, or maybe they were waiting for their wives to finish shopping (ha ha) or other….? We don’t know, but at least we have the stamp on the reverse showing:

“Developed and Printed at Canfield’s Pharmacy. No. 12,  Aug 6 1917. La Porte, Indiana. The Kodak Store.”