Early Merchants

From Stephentown Genealogy: Roots & More

Written by Tina Ordone

In the 1800's and early 1900's there was considerable manufacturing as well as farming throughout the area. Records tell us many stores were in operation. In the bustling mill town of Stephentown Flats (Garfield) was one of the earliest stores. It was owned by Henry Platt and later by his son Henry Platt, Jr. The store failed in 1829 and there was an auciton. Horace S. Wheeler and Charles H. Vary also had stores, selling dry goods, hardware and farming implements It is believed that the Vary Store was in operation between 1881 and 1921.

Horace S. Wheeler (d.Aug. 29, 1879 57y. He married Ann L. Platt, who d. August 8, 1881 53y); on the right, Charles H. Vary's store and post office.

In the eastern part of town, Jonathan J. Sweet and Randall A. Brown were partners. When the former died, the other storekeeper continued selling for 40 years (1850-1890). This building also housed the post office. In North Stephentown (1778) a pioneer store was established by Joseph Westcott. A second store, the Lawrence Van Valkenburg store, was owned by Erastus Brown for many years. the Cranstons, John H. and Henry R., followed as keepers of this store. Later, Henry T. Douglas became owner. He was followed by his son-in-law, William Asa Gile.

In Stephentown Depot, the Village, Henry Carpenter had both a small farm and a store (1870). He sold dry goods, groceries, coal and hardware. Later, William I. Cranston, who was in the livery business, operated this store. The Herman N. Brimmer general store was reported as having a telephone. Walter B. Goold and William S. Cranston sold drugs and medicines as well as general merchandise and hardware.

l-r:Emma Smith (1841-1908), Adeline Manchester Goold (1839-1916), married Walter B. Goold (1840-1927) and Mary Green.

Records show that Spencer C. Brown built a store in 1871. The business was passed on to his son Frederick, Sr.

Spencer C. Brown's store

Around 1850, Horatio D. Coleman had a store in Little Mechanicville, now Stephentown Center.

Horatio D. Coleman His daughter Edith May Coleman had a store in Stephentown

There were at least two more stores in West Stephentown. Isaiah B. Coleman had a store, maintained a post office and served as Pastor of the Free Will Baptist Church. Daniel B. Griffin sold general merchandise from his store.

Today these stores are gone, replaced by other stores, small businesses and residences.

Sykes Store has had two locations and over 70 years of operation. The store was started by Walter C. Sykes and his wife Carrie Bateman Sykes. They are gone now, but the store is still running, under the capable leadership of Walt and Carrie's son Paul and his wife.

Sykes Store at it's first location, about 1929

Sykes Store at its current location on Main Street. We visited the store in August, 2003, and though things around it change, the inside and outside of the store look much the same as it has for as long as I can remember.

There have been many businesses in Stephentown, including: H. Brainard - which sold sheet metal products, furnaces, roofings, spouting, roof painting, general repair work Calvin H. Atwater - dealer in all kinds of building material, builders hardware, plumbing and mason supplies

E.R. Potter - dealer in lumber, coal, feed, lime and cement (in operation in early 1900's)

W.H. Atwater - seller of pine, hemlock, spruce, chestnut, and hard wood lumber, lath and four foot wood. He had a steam saw and planing mill

Bateman Motors - which sold cars

William A. Lapp - repairer and builder of all kinds of wagons and sleighs

Ira L. Eddy, (pictured below), son of Cyrus and Betsey Beers Eddy had a store in Garfield (North Stephentown). He bought a new store in Stephentown, in 1908. (below)

Ira Eddy Store, on Garfield Road. It once stood opposite the bridge on Presbyterian Hill Road between the Platt House and Hoags Store.

The Ira L. Eddy General Store and residence (store on right, residence the middle of the three buildings in this photo), built by Milo Daniels and operated by him until 1908, when Ira Eddy purchased it. It was located in back of the Vanderbilt House. (information taken from Stephentown Historical Society album #2, page 20)

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