Bancroft News

Early ventures take hold in town


Billie Sargent was the speaker at the Presbyterian Church July 19, 2021. Thank you, Billie,

Brinley Fox, daughter of Jon and Mollie Fox, and Serenity Whitten, daughter of Dawn and Scott Whitten, attended Byron Bible Camp last week.

Doug Fox attended the 50th reunion of his graduating class in Iroquois on Saturday evening.

For those of you who have not yet been in the audience at the Pageant, I urge you to go this next weekend. It is worthwhile entertainment, and the cast of characters did a very fine job again this year. Saturday night's audience was the largest so far, a perfect evening to be out at the beautiful pageant grounds, and all seemed to be having a good time. There are still three nights to enjoy the hard work the volunteers took time out of their busy days and evenings to rehearse, learn parts and prepare such outstanding entertainment for us all to enjoy.

more history

There were instances of private enterprise along with the businesses in the growing town. The first person to mention is Mrs. Paul Fuerstnau, who quite often baked bread in her home and would sell the loaves at 15 cents a loaf. Also, for sale were cinnamon rolls, which, as one person said, helped prove she was a “wonderful baker.”

Eilt Claassen had a shop from which he did much carpentry, including the building of the Lutheran Church in 1908, Zell Brothers Implement Shop in 1918 and the community hall among many other projects. The Dill Bros. were well known as carpenters in the area by 1919 and in the early '20's. Emil and Jack Hettlinger also did carpentry.

Another private enterprise was the selling of insurance. In 1906, Thomas Tyrrell sold it, and around 1912, Spence Eggleston sold policies for St. Paul Fire and Marine Insurance.

A final private venture was that of dressmaking and millinery, which Ida Rusch began around 1912 in the home south of Zell Bros., which Wesley M. Mason had built. There were many such businesses which could be worked on in a person's home, but the above mentioned were ones which involved the entire community.

Meat Markets

In the east end of the Zell building can be seen some unloading chutes and the existence of a marketing type atmosphere. It was here that Tom Rosser ran his butcher and poultry shop from about 1920 into the 1930s. He was a man all his own who did a lot of butchering right on the farms. He also had an ice house behind the Ross Lumber Company beside the jail for some years. His advertisement in 1929 explained his business: T.J.Rosser Fresh and cured meats Fish and oysters in season Buyer of Cream-Eggs-Poultry Hides-Sheep-Cattle Hogs.

There was little competition as the one other meat market burned down in the fire of 1918. This shop was a part of the Delmonico Hotel and restaurant located in the north part of the building. “Spot” Mass ran the butcher shop from 1908 until 1910 when H. H. Wilcox took over.

Ray Tyrrell had ownership for a short time in 1911, and then the ownership went back into the hands of H.H.Wilcox until it was destroyed by fire. The building was called the city meat emporium and restaurant and handled fresh, salted and smoked meats. They also purchased cream and hides and had oysters and game in season. A real bargain advertised by Wilcox was a pail of sauerkraut for 20 cents a gallon. Taken from “Bancroft S.D. 1889-1971” by Gary Lee Jerke.


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