September 21, 1999
(Editor's Note: Today we return to the letter written in 1948 by John Knox to friends gathered in Perry for the annual Cherokee Strip celebration. Mr. Knox made the run in 1893 at the age of 19 when he came here from Kansas with his father, Bethuel Knox. He moved to Southern California in 1918 and wrote this letter from there. In the portion below, he describes more of Perry's earliest days.)
In 1896 I quit Spears and Barnes Grocery Store to become active in the little store with my father, which was later moved to a larger building where the Youcie Grocery had been located. In 1897 we outgrew this location and moved into the room adjoining the former location of the Famous Store. We immediately added groceries to our line, with favorable results. However, misfortune was incurred when my father's health failed, and he was taken back to Kansas for medical treatment and care. My brother, Charles Knox, came to assist me in the management of the business and later became my partner.
In approximately 1899, James Lobsitz built the present Famous building and moved into that location. Later our business expanded to proportions that our present location was not adequate to handle. When James Lobsitz moved out of the old Famous building we took a lease at this location. During this occupancy we had employed the following as sales clerks: Sadie Fradlander, J.M. Basye, W.H. Hudson and W.P. Lott.
Our line of merchandise included dry goods, clothing and a grocery department. However, in 1904 we closed out the groceries. As our business further expanded arrangements were made by J.L. Pancoast to build a two-story story building on an adjunct lot. Unfortunately, we over-expanded and incurred some financial difficulties. At this time J.H. Stout had closed up shop in the manufacture of Rosa Perfecto cigars so he sold the property on the north side of the square, where Walter Kehres' restaurant now stands.
Elmer Clark's shoe store was for sale in approximately 1906 and was purchased by Joe Stout, who also purchased my brother Charles' interest in our store. Joe Stout and I joined forces at the above location and continued in the clothing and shoe business until James Lobsitz offered to sell the Famous Store to us in approximately 1911. We purchased the Famous and operated it until 1913. During this time I also bought the Famous building.
Joe Stout decided to move to California and arranged to sell his interest in the Famous Store to Morris Gottlieb. During this transaction I sold the Famous building property to Joe Stout. Morris and I operated the Famous as partners until 1917 at which time my wife, Mollie, and I decided to also move to California. I sold my interest in the Famous to Morris Gottlieb, and Joe Stout also sold the Famous building to Gottlieb. No doubt you all know the history of the Gottliebs from that time on.
(Editor's Note: More of Mr. Knox's interesting recollections in the next Northwest Corner.)