Spring at McDermott’s

It’s been awhile since we’ve taken a peek at the McDermott General Store Ledger.  The month of May saw many of the typical purchases: tea, tobacco, soap, coffee, nails, sugar, and yeast cakes.  There was much building and a quite a bit of sewing going on in the Clontarf area during the Spring of 1883 as well.

One transaction that caught my eye came on May 18, 1883 when Frank McMahon bought 1 pkg envelopes and some letter paper (10-cents each.)  This stood out to me because Frank (my great-great-grandfather) was unable to read and write.  The paper and envelopes must have been for his wife!

Albert Hilla purchased 3 cigars, some ginger snaps, and a can of oysters for a grand total of 45-cents on June 7th.  Michael O’Neil spent 80-cents on a brand new manure rake.  I would bet that Mr. Hilla enjoyed his purchases more than Mr. O’Neil!

Maybe those of you who know something about construction could help me figure out what Frank McMahon was building with these supplies (I can’t even decipher some of Mr. McDermott’s script):

  • 904 ft. Dimension (?)
  • 1100 ft.  Shapers (?)
  • 1200 ft. Siding
  • 800 ft. Flooring
  • 7 X Shingles

All of that for $119.23…I can’t read the second item on the list, and I don’t understand the first one.  Any ideas what he was building?  Leave a comment!


Don’t forget about Eileen McCormack’s talk at Swift County Historical Society this Thursday (6/23) @ 7:30pm.  She will be discussing her latest project, a biography of Louis W. Hill, son James J. Hill.  Copies of the book,  The Dutiful Son Louis W. Hill: Life in the Shadow of the Empire Builder James J. Hill, will be available for purchase or order at Thursday’s event.  Please attend if you are able.


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