Saturday, February 19, 2011

The Store

The above photo was taken by William Sharkey.  This was probably taken around 1910.  The photo was reproduced from a glass negative. The following is research done by Kelly Coleman:

Le Sueur Sentinel
November 19, 1896

D. J. Coleman purchases Roynane store building

D. J. Coleman, who has for the last seven years been employed in the wholesale trade at St. Paul, and for most of that time with Koehler & Hinrichs, of that city, has purchased the Roynane store building at St. Thomas and will put in a stock of general merchandise.  Mr. Coleman has a thorough practical knowledge of goods and of business and ought to make a success of his new undertaking.


This is interesting because in the Church of St. Thomas 1883-1983 Centennial book says the following about the Coleman stores:

In 1855 John Coleman came to Minnesota and settled in Tyrone Township.  He operated a general store for many years in St. Thomas.  There was a dance hall over this store.  This store was built by John Ronan and then sold to John Coleman.   John’s son Dave Coleman, built a frame store which still stands.  Dave O’Connell bought the store in 1914.  Mr. and Mrs. Tony Madsen leased and operated this store until 1926.  The O’Connells lived in St. Paul at this time.  In 1928 Dave O’Connell was running the store in Coleman’s original structure. 

Early mail was brought from Belle Plaine by Pat Ronan who walked to get it.  The first post office was in the Coleman store which was a distribution point on the Star Route.  Mail was delivered to the Coleman store once a week from Le Sueur by horse and buggy by Pat Doherty.

So it appears there may have been only one store building at St. Thomas during the late 19th century.  This building was built by John (Ronan) Ronayne (who was also from County Cork) and sold to John Coleman.  David J. Coleman may actually have purchased the store from his father who was 61 years old in 1896.


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