Real Photo Postcard, unused. AZO Stamp Box, circa 1913 – 1918.
Addressed to: “Ollie M. Chester, Rapid City, SD.”
Caption: “C. E. Gray, wholesale Merchant, Rapid City, and his officers. C. E. Gray.”
You can read “Wholesale Grocery Co.” on the building, above the man on our left. Which gentleman is C. E. Gray is unknown. Here’s an ad from February, 1914 showing they were located at Seventh Street between Omaha and Rapid (Rapid City, South Dakota):
From city directories it appears C. E. was Claude E. Gray. He shows up in 1918 as vice-president of the business. And on the 1920 Federal Census for Rapid City, we have Claude, born 1880 in Iowa, occupation grocery man; his wife, Florence L., also born 1880 in Iowa; and their daughters, Miriam, Marjorie and Helen. Also in the household is domestic servant, Ida Printz.
We’re guessing this card, like the one in the prior post, is a rare find for anyone looking for either of the two businesses. The earliest mention we found for the Black Hills Wholesale Grocery Co. is January 1913, in the Custer Weekly Chronicle. On March 3, 1914, the company published a trademark, described as “Black Hills” and a mountain scene that, barring any objection, would have been registered thirty days later. The AZO stamp box with all four triangles pointing upward, is estimated to be from 1904 – 1918, hence our card’s estimated date 1913 – 1918.
Ollie is Olive M. Chester. Could she be one of the young women in the postcard? Maybe. Or maybe just a friend or relative of C. E. Gray. Olive is found on the 1915 State Census for South Dakota, born 1899 in Nebraska.
Sources: Year: 1920; Census Place: Rapid City, Pennington, South Dakota; Roll: T625_1725; Page: 15B; Enumeration District: 155. (Ancestry.com).
Simmons’ Spice Journal, April 1914, Volume 37, no. 4. Page 410. (Google.com/books).
Rapid City Journal. February 1, 1914. Sunday, p. 7. (Newspapers.com).
Keiter Directory Co’s Rapid City and Pennington County, South Dakota City, 1918-1919. p. 43. (Ancestry.com).
“Notice of Hearing Petition for Letters of Administration.” Custer Weekly Chronicle, January 18, 1913, Saturday, p. 6. (Newspapers.com).
South Dakota, U. S., State Census, 1915. (Ancestry.com).