Arbuckles: 19th-century Starbucks?

Business was a little slow during the first week of October in 1883 at McDermott General Store.  I suppose the farmers were busy harvesting –  no time to drive into town and shop.

However, there were several  interesting transactions on October 1, 1883…

  • Patrick Conroy collected on 17-cents worth of butter he sold to Mr. McDermott.
  • James Kent stocked up on needles (.05), 4 yards cotton flannel (.52), one spool (.05), hose (.20), and 5 yards Irish Frase (?) (1.40).  Looks like someone was going to do some sewing!
  • Michael Shea (by Tom) purchased one pound of Japanese tea for 60-cents.
  • M. Chinnery sold almost 11 dozen eggs (10 and 9/12 dozen to be exact) for $1.60 and bought 3 lace front shirts for $6.00.
  • John Cusick bought, among other items, six pounds of Arbuckles’ Coffee for$1.00.
  • John Regan paid the balance on some kerosene oil (.12), and added a pair of sox (.50) and 3 pounds of oat meal (.15).

In one of the entries, granulated sugar is specified.  I wonder what the regular sugar that other people bought was? Brown sugar? Any insight into sugar in the 1880s?

Also, can anyone figure out what type of fabric James Kent bought?  It looks like Irish Frase…I have no idea about that.

The history of Arbuckles’  Coffee is fascinating.  It was around a long time before Starbucks, but I wonder about the similarity in the names?

I would love to hear your comments/ideas…


Filed under Clontarf, McDermott's General Store

8 responses to “Arbuckles: 19th-century Starbucks?

  1. Eileen

    I wonder if the Kent’s were expecting a new baby? The flannel would be for diapers and perhaps the Irish fabric (linen?) would be for baby clothes…just a thought.

    Love these posts!

  2. Margo McGeary Ascheman

    Hi I would like to know more about the Shea name on this page.. I enjoy your info …. Hope I can fine some family tree names from this list…. Margo Ascheman

    • Margo,

      Michael Shea married Jane Kenna in the 1890s. He was from out in Tara, I believe he had land in section 32 early on. I will get you more information.

      About the Galvins…where did Maurice and his wife live?

      Pretty much all I know about the McMahons is what I wrote earlier. Do you know where Monchas is in Wisconsin? I will check what I have. It has been a while since I have looked at my McMahon information.

      We will definitely need to get together next time I come to Benson! How are you keeping everybody straight? I should have some time later in the week to look at stuff, so I will be in touch!


  3. Margo McGeary Ascheman


    Just a note regarding the Shea name you have on this page… The Shea name was in my family and just checking if their is any tie…. James McGeary and B ridget McMahan McMahon family.. James had a sister from Wisc area that was married to a Mathew Shea. I not have much info of this couple as she is at the end of the family. This page they mention SHEA . Tom Shea might be a father to Mathew ????

    Margo Asc heman

    Can you tell me if you have a tie with the Monches, Wis area… I did not know of your program and this is SUPER… Margo Ascheman

    • I don’t know anything about the Shea family. I will check the census records and see if they give us a clue as to where they were before coming to Tara/Clontarf. I will get back to you.

      I don’t have ties to Monches, Wisconsin. Try looking here: Looks like they have a lot of info. Monches is in Waukesha County. Let me know if you find anything about McMahons!

      Thanks Margo!

  4. Jim Egeland

    Wow! What a find! Thomas Francis Shea was one of Michael Shea’s older boys and my great grandfather. I remember him sitting in his rocking chair in about 1954 when I was just a child. This is the first mention of him that I have ever seen in a newspaper! Wonderful.
    To Margo: I know of no connection to Mathew Shea but no very little about Michael Shea’s siblings or parents/relatives.

    • Rochelle Nord

      I love this site!
      My great grandparents were Alice Shea and Jeremiah Lawler.
      Thomas Francis was one of Alice’s older brothers.
      I’ve been able to follow the family through quite a few census records after they left Swift county, but these stories and connections are wonderful.

      • Jim Egeland

        Rochelle: I have some information on all of Alice’s brothers and sisters but nothing about Alice. You can find me easily on I would like to communicate with you about your Shea ancestors. Jim in Salem, Oregon

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s