News: Spencer History – Millinery & Dressmaking


Surnames: Richardson, Corl, Kohl, Crowell, Williams, Messer, Peterson, Kunkel, Rue, Hartman, Wilson

Source: Spencer Centennial Book (1874 – 1974)

Mrs. C. K. Richardson had a millinery store in the front part of her home on Main Street and later built a shop one half block east of her home on Main Street, which was later operated by her daughter, Verna. In an advertisement of her store in the Spencer Advance of June 9, 1881, Mrs. Richardson announced "Fancy goods and a 5 cent table a specialty." Following the death of her mother, Miss Richardson sold the store and their home and, in 1913, with her adopted niece, Muriel, moved to Chetek, Wisconsin.

Mamie Corl learned the millinery trade from Kohl's Millinery Shop in Marshfield, taking a train there each week day and returning on an early evening train. In 1918 she opened up a shop in part of her parents' home, but after a little over two years, she left a successful business to attend Moody Bible Institute to prepare for full-time Christian work. Thereafter Spencer ladies shopped for their Easter bonnets at Marshfield or Loyal.

In an early newspaper Ida M. Hood & Co. announced a service of dressmaking, cutting, and fitting.
At a later date Rizpah Crowell and Mrs. Colin Williams did dressmaking in their homes. In an advertisement Mrs. Williams refers to herself as a fashionable dress and cloak maker. Many young homemakers of that day who could sew for themselves and their families had learned to do so under the careful instruction of Mrs. Williams, whose apprentices they had been.

Other items in old newspapers cite the following:
Dressmaker, Mrs. Livornia Messer's specialty was tailored trousers.
Elias Peterson sold New Home Sewing Machines at this time.
J. Kunkel was a merchant tailor at the Hartman Bros. Store.
Mrs. Stella Rue did dressmaking in her home after the death of her husband in 1912.
Mrs. Robert Wilson was a weaver of rugs and carpets.



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