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Grocer

Do you have any business owners in your family tree? If so, have you tried to locate their business on a map?

While going thru some of my handwritten research notes, I came across a transcription of a newspaper item regarding J. H. Crawford’s grocery store in Dodge City, Kansas. Based on my previous research, I knew that the grocer, J. H. Crawford, was James H. Crawford, the older brother of my ancestor Washington Marion Crawford. I also knew that I could find most of the Dodge City papers for that time period on Newspapers.com. So I started searching those papers to learn more about J. H. Crawford and his grocery store.

The Journal-Democrat (Dodge City, Kansas) 19 Apr 1884

What I didn’t know was WHERE the grocery store was located. Fortunately, the add provided a point of reference: the post office. But where was the post office?

So I googled ‘Sanborn map Dodge City Kansas’. The first link was to the 1887 Sanborn maps for Dodge City.

1887 Sanborn Map Dodge City Kansas

The Post Office (PO) was at the corner of 2nd and Chestnut in 1887. Based on the ad telling me the store was ‘five doors west of the postoffice,’ the 1887 map would indicate that the store was at the corner of 3rd and Chestnut. But then, I would see ads stating the store was north of the Wright House or a few doors north of the post office. Neither of these statements made sense with the 1887 map.

So, I went back to the Library of Congress to see if there was an earlier set of maps. Fortunately, there was a map from 1884.

1884 Sanborn Map Dodge City

When I first looked at this map, I quickly found the Wright House but I didn’t see the post office. However, careful study of the map revealed the post office in the ‘back’ of a drug store at the corner of N. Front Street and 2nd Avenue.

Now I just needed to figure out when the store was located at the various locations. To do this, I searched the Dodge City newspapers for Crawford from 1882 to 1887. I then created a spreadsheet for the date of the item, name of newspaper and the location of the store if given. Thus, I was able to create a chronological list of the Crawford grocery newspaper items.

This venture into the grocery business started in 1882.

Dodge City Globe (Dodge City, Kansas) 26 Sep 1882
Dodge City Times (Dodge City, Kansas) 21 Sep 1882

Then in 1884, news items indicate that the J. H. Crawford store moved to Bridge Street.

Dodge City Times (Dodge City, Kansas) 20 Mar 1884
The Journal-Democrat (Dodge City, Kansas) 5 Apr 1884
Dodge City Times (Dodge City, Kansas) 10 Apr 1884
Dodge City Times (Dodge City, Kansas) 24 April 1884

In 1885, James H. Crawford’s nephew Colvin Garrett Briggs opened a restaurant just to the north of the Crawford grocery on Bridge Street.

Dodge City Times (Dodge City, Kansas) 12 Mar 1885
Kansas Cowboy (Dodge City, Kansas) 2 May 1885

Even though the local news indicated that J. H. Crawford moved his grocery store to a location on Bridge Street, the ads in the various papers continue to place the location ‘west of the post office.’ Thus, it is hard to tell whether J. H. Crawford operated two stores that close together or whether the newspaper just didn’t get the ad changed.

Dodge City Times (Dodge City, Kansas) 7 May 1885

While reviewing my handwritten notes, I found transcription of an article from the Ford County Globe.

J. H. Crawford of the Indiana grocery, north of the Wright house has an ad which appears in this issue. He has just recently removed to his new quarters and has put in a new and fresh stock of groceries and provisions. Give him a call.

Ford County Globe (Ford County, Kansas) 27 May 1884

When I tried to find a digital copy of the Ford County Globe, I couldn’t find it on Newspapers.com. Nor did the Library of Congress show a digital holding for the paper. However, I saw the title while search Newspapers.com that is listed under the Dodge City Globe. A search of that paper found the May 27, 1884 issue of the Ford County Globe.

Ford County Globe (Dodge City, KS) 27 May 1884
Ford County Globe (Dodge City, KS) 27 May 1884

By December 1885, the ad in those papers had changed to ‘doors north of postoffice’.

Dodge City Times (Dodge City, Kansas) 24 Dec 1885

An ad in the 10 June 1886 issue of The Sun described the location as ‘near corner of Chestnut Street’.

The Sun (Dodge City, Kansas) 10 Jun 1886

In the 23 April 1887 issue of The Journal-Democrat, the ad used both the post office and Bridge street to describe the location.

The Journal-Democrat (Dodge City, Kansas) 23 April 1887

Even though I have found all of these ads for the grocery store operated by J. H. Crawford in Dodge City, Kansas beginning in 1882, I have not found a picture of the store. The Kansas Memory project has several photos of early Dodge City.

On Facebook, O. K. Corral, posted an 1878 picture of Front Street.

A picture of the Wright Beverly & Co. building on Front Street is included in the article, “Top 10 True West Towns in 2018” in the True Wes Magazine. (Scroll down for the Dodge City picture and info).

Even though I haven’t found any pictures of the Crawford Grocery store or the Indiana Grocery, I now have a location and a time period that will help me search for a picture.