Source: Ruth M. Brubaker, THE HISTORY OF PLEASANT TOWNSHIP SCHOOLS 1835-1962 (1979), pp. 99-104.
THE BUSINESS INTEREST OF LAKETON
At the time Laketon was laid out it was simply a point on the Old Indian Trail down Eel River from North Manchester and consisted of a few log cabins, a blacksmith shop owned by Alexander Duncan and the mill just below built by James Cox. The first merchants of the place were Ira Burr and William Johnson. Afterwards George Neff was a merchant having his store in what was known as Jacob Caper's house; later a Mr. Adams live there. John Smith also had a store about the same time, 1850. Later Mr. Comstock had a store across the street south from where John Smith's store was.
Dr. Bender and his son had a dry goods and drug store combined in 1859. George Bender, his brother David, and Robert I. Cox were proprietors of a dry goods store, 1865-66. About this time, 1866, D. Lotzenhiser and William Daily owned a grocery store. J. Blummer was a merchant in this place. David Ward and Mr. Patezel had a dry goods store in 1871. Mrs. Ward and Mrs. Patezel had a millinery store about the same time. Robert Thompson and Mr. McForst each had a dry goods and grocery store combined, 1874-75. M. Sholty bought the store of McForst and in 1882 John Ward purchased it of Mr. Sholty. Charles Ogden had a store and later V. Fites bought it of him. J.D. Gettinger bought out Mr. Fites and later sold to M.J. Ulsh who was a merchant there for many years. A.C. Higgins had a grocery store which was sold to F. Day in 1895 and burned in the fire of 1896. N.K. Nelson was a merchant and Robert Thompson closed his merchant business in 1897.
Carpenters were in great need in Laketon's early life. There have been many carpenters during the lifetime of Pleasant Township. A few of them are the following in the very early days: William Johnson, 1839; William Fogerty; George Shaffer, Levi Miller, Henry Ogden, Daniel Brown. In 1897-98, it is known that Isaac Smoke, D. Ramp, 1880-98, and S. Grisso, 1898-1930s were carpenters. Mr. Grisso helped to build many of the homes in Laketon.
In 1916, Harley Pence came to Laketon and did some carpenter work along with the running of the restaurant and grocery store.
Monroe Castator came to Laketon from Columbia City in 1933. Also about this time his son-in-law Walter Hoover, Sr., and family moved from Columbia City to Laketon. Mr. Castator and Mr. Hoover worked together for many years building homes in and around Laketon. Some of these are: Mr. and Mrs. Albert Sims, Mrs. Birdie Sims and the main part of the house where Mr. and Mrs. Glen Voris live. But due to ill health Mr. Hoover had to give up the carpenter trade in 1954. Mr. Castator continued to do some building until 1957, when his age made him also retire.
E.E. Clingenpeel and family came to laketon in 1944-45. Mr. Clingenpeel also was a carpenter and has built a few homes in Laketon. The homes of Mr. and Mrs. Dallas Guthrie, and Mr. and Mrs. Frank Frantz were built by him.
The barbers who were here at different times were: F. Debolt, R. Nagle, C. Downey, Mr. Jeffy, George Webber, and H. Smith. R. Nagle was here in 1897-98.
In the early 1900s Quniche Stangle is remembered by Charles Kline who was born and raised in Laketon. Mr. Kline was born in 1887 and is still living at the Pleasant View Home.
For a time Chester Overcash and Fred Martin were barbers.
Frank Ward had a barber shop on the south side of the M.J. Ulsh building. Forrest Moore started in the barber trade in a small building behind the M.J. Ulsh building in 1929-30.
But the one that most people of today would remember is Albert Butler or "Pard" as most everyone knew him by. Mr. Butler was a cook for the pipeline for a time. His mother also boarded many of the pipeline workers. It is felt that it was about 1908 when Albert started his barber shop. One could get their hair cut any hour of the working day. Even at night sometimes. Children from school would often come to him at noon to get their hair cut. This way the folks did not have to make a trip to town after they were home from school.
Along with his barber shop, Mr. Butler sold insurance for a good many years.
Mr. Butler kept his business going until he died in 1958. But in 1953, Jack Butler, the youngest son of the Butlers came home from barber school and went to work with his father. He kept the barber shop going until 1963. At this time he moved the shop to North Manchester but for awhile did cut hair in Laketon on a couple days a week. But after 1963, the shop was closed and not open until 1978, when Mrs. jack Butler moved her Beauty Parlor in it. Jack cuts a little hair there.
Bill Poston had a barber shop behind his home in 1955-59.
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There were a few silversmiths in those days. John Egnew was in Laketon for a time and while he was here he also was a Justice of the Peace.
Something that very few people today have seen are cobblers. The cobbler was a man that very few have the skill of today. Those who were cobblers in the early days of Laketon were: James Hughes, Hayden Ogden, 1857; Isaac Peter, 1862; Perry Warren, Benjamin Baker, Samuel Grisso, Albert Myers, G. Cowgill, Mr. Buby; the latter's shop was burned. Samuel Moore was here in 1897-98.
Also a very important person was the butcher and he is important today. Then he was more important as one could not just go to a stosre and get their meat. This was done and usually smoked, canned or salted down to be kept for sometime. The men who were able to do the butchering then were: Mr. Tyner, J. Keller, J. Steller, S. Mylin, C. Moyer and R. Thompson. J. and James West had a meat market in 1897-98.
Years later one that many remembered was Darl West, who worked with his father, Joe West. Then some time later was Leonard Ebbinghouse and Merl Fryer.
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There have been a number of different ones who have had drug stores. But since Mr. Ed Tyner left in 1945, there has not been one. The early druggists were George Bender in 1865, afterward George Bender as conductor and R.I. Cox on the side. John Mohler also with Dr. Bender having one. Then Burgess had one where the present east fire station is until Ed Tyner took it over. After the bank went out Tyner moved the drug store to the building that Clarence Goahler had bought. When Mr. Tyner had to give it up Joe Carroll bought it. But since he was not a pharmacist he could only sell other kinds of drugs over the counter and of course ice cream. Mariette Holle came to work for Mr. Carroll and after his death in 1963 stayed on and later took it over. It is known today as "Mary's Sundries" and people go there to get something to eat when in Laketon and it is time for eating. One can get sandwiches, soup and sometimes even pie, and of course the coffee.
There were Tanners in Laketon for they were needed also, including Mr. Musselman, Mr. Gerlach and a few others. Grist mills were run by Mr. Bowerstock, Mr. Harter, Mr. Strauss and Mr. Webber. Dohner and Redman were millers, with more later.
Laketon also had its hotels, or boarding houses as they were known then. Mr. Lowery had the first hotel and L. R. Kampbell was next. Then came Mr. D. Lotzenhiser, Mr. William Henry, Mrs. Henry Ogden, and Mrs. Butler. Then the Horbar Hotel was at the north end of town. At present time there is no place in Laketon for anyone who needs to spend a night without some relative to take him in.
The first nurserymen were Mr. George Moyer and Mr. B. Cook. But before long Mr. Moyer bought out Mr. Cook and the Moyers have had it until 1972. John Moyer, son of George Moyer, decided to give up the nursery and had a public sale. For some time there still were trees and other plants there. But when Max and Marvin Blocher bought the land it was not long until there was no more nursery.
There have been a couple of hardware stores in Laketon. Mr. Wertenberger had one where the west part of the fire house is and later sold to Howard Rager. Robert Fulton was in on it for a time along with his furniture store.
...[see section on Railroad]
There have been many other small businesses trying to make a go of life in the town and community such as the Brick Factory, Cement Factory, Harness Shop, Sunrise Creamery, Laketon Vault Works, Pumping Station, Telephone Co., Saloon and Taverns, Milk Co., Ice Houses, Ogden Cider Mill, Casket Builder, Laketon Free Press, several grocery stores, D.M. Machine Shop, Laketon Elevator, Spangles Scrap Yard, Brubaker's Salvage Yard, Laketon Garage, Paul Gahl's Repair Shop, Norma Green Repair Shop, John Weber's Repair Shop, Mr. Chalfant's Repair Shop, Leon Ridenour's T.V. Repair Shop, Fleck Concrete Works, Eilts Excavating, Price's Body Shop, Betty Miller's Beauty Shop, Thelma's Beauty Shop, Mrs. Harting's Beauty Shop, several places to eat from time to time, and Laketon Specialties to name a few, plus the Refinery and Pierceton Trucking, and Waltz's Bridge Co.
Some of these things were here before and a little after the High School left. But since it left there has been very little for anyone to want to open up a business in Laketon. Rohrer's little store was the last to open and it is hoped that can keep open for it is very much needed to save people from driving so far after groceries.