Copied from: The History of Decatur County Iowa 1839-1970 by Himena V.
In the same block with these stores was J. R. Bashaw's store where jewelry,
silverware, fine clocks, and watches, and china were so ld. In Leon, and in
fact throughout the county, to say that something was bought at Bashaw's gave
the same assurance of quality the "bought at Tiffany's" had in New York.
As Frank Gaber wrote, " J. R. Bashaw was a gentle man, sold books and
glasses, diamonds and watchcharms gay." In the corner of the Bashaw store
Loton Gasset fixed clocks and watches and of him the poet wrote, "He never
made a blotch."
He saved his money and never made a botch of that either, to judge by the
property he owned.
In the first block south and west of the square Sam Farquhar sold tinware,
hardware and stoves. In a Decatur County Journal of 1889 it was stated they
did 'not make low prices on one line and rob you on another." Sam Farquhar,
too, retired and the store was taken over by his two sons. George and
Horace. They were particularly proud of the fine tools they had to sell, the
good barrel churns and in the nineties advertised their "quick Meal gasoline
stove" with as much pride as they did the "Round Oak heating stoves" and the
best of cook stoves with a reservoir "to heat and store" hot water.
Young and Teale also had a good store. George T. Young is said to have laid
the first side walk in the town and as long as he was in business (he had
several different associates) kept up, if not ahead of his competitors. A
summer advertisement in 1889 tells of "fine parasols with wood, ivory,
silver, or gold plated handles" also of "fine painted fans and an unexcelled
dress goods department."
Further down the street Joseph Hamilton built in 1876 a brick structure
ninety-six feet by forty-four feet and three stories high. Here there was
not only a hotel but a store sometimes called Hamilton and Company. Mr.
Hamilton had come to Decatur County in 1853. Now in 1876 he left his fine
seven hundred acre farm to be managed by his son, William. Another son ran
the Leon bus line and son John clerked in the store. Hamilton's
advertisements had such headings as "cheapest in the county," "the biggest
bargain giver," and "the working man's friend."
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