252 – Jobs at Cole’s

Garnett Journal – Friday, February 6, 1897

Jesse Cole was born in 1875 in Fort Scott, Kansas. His father William, 27, was a bartender and mother Mary, 22, was a homemaker. Jesse grew up with an older sister and four younger brothers.

In 1897, at age 22, he was a partner in The Cyclone, a dry goods store in nearby Garnett, Kansas. The partners were Glaze, Lewis, and Cole.

The Southwest Mail – February 28, 1902

Over the next several years, Jesse Cole and his partners opened several more stores.

In February, 1902, Jesse and his brother Will and his brother-in-law J.J. Wood bought out the other partners. The stores became Cole Brothers Dry Goods Stores.

Cole Brothers Dry Goods Store

In 1904, the Cole brothers bought out the business of C.S. Jones in Lamar, Missouri. Their new Cole Brothers Dry Goods store opened on the south side of courthouse square in downtown Lamar.

The Lamar Democrat – September 24, 1904
The Lamar Democrat – August 12, 1912

By 1912, Henry Gallagher was working at Cole’s store in Lamar. He was age 21.

On evenings and Saturdays, Tom Gallagher, age 18, was clerking at another dry goods store on the square in Lamar – Galloway’s.

Galloway’s Dry Goods Store – Lamar, Missouri

By 1914, Tom had finished high school and was working full-time for Cole’s at the Lamar store.

Meanwhile, in Sedalia

While the Gallaghers were coming of age in Lamar, 140 miles to the northeast in Sedalia the Riley family was continuing to live a life of prosperity.

Will Riley, age 53, was owner and president of E.G. Cassidy Distributing, a beer and liquor distributorship. In 1916, the company had another record sales year. Josie Riley, age 48, was matriarch to her six children and the family home at 1406 West Broadway.

Riley family, l to r, Catherine, 17, Bill, 19, John, 16, Irene, 24, Josephine, 48, Mary Agnes, 13, William, 53, Joe, 22 – c 1917

In Junction City

In April, 1914, the E.H. Hemenway store in Junction City, Kansas offered its fixtures and inventory for sale at a bankruptcy auction. The Cole brothers were the successful bidders. They would remodel and reopen their fourth store. There were now five Cole brothers involved in the business.

By the end of the year, Henry Gallagher had moved to Junction City to manage the shoe department for Cole’s.

Trading places

In February, 1916, the Coles announced the location of their sixth store in Manhattan, Kansas.

The new store would need a manager, so a re-shuffling of people began. W.N. Cole moved from Lamar to Manhattan. Paul Dalton was the manager of the Junction City store. Henry Gallagher had been manager of the shoe department in Junction City, but would now be store manager at Lamar.

Tom Gallagher, who had been working at Lamar, moved to Junction City as shoe department manager. The Lamar Democrat was quite complimentary, calling Tom “remarkably handsome”, “best dancer”, and well dressed.

Christmas season

It’s a busy time for retailers, a time when they make a large percentage of their annual sales. Everyone looked forward to the window displays.

1916 was coming to an end. It was time for inventory and end-of-year sales.

The Junction City Daily Union – November 30, 1916

As the year ended, Tom Gallagher headed to Lamar and a visit with his parents. It had been a good year for Tom, and a good year for Cole’s. Tom was age 22.

The Junction City Daily Union – December 30, 1916

Mike and Ellen Gallagher were still living in Lamar, in their house “out north of town.” Nellie, 15, was still living at home.

Henry Gallagher, 25, was the manager of the Cole’s store in Lamar.

Jim Gallagher, 24, was working for the Interstate Commerce Commission, currently stationed at Purcell, Oklahoma. He and his crew were making a physical valuation of the Santa Fe Railroad.


1917 would bring change to the Gallagher’s world. The United States would be drawn into the global conflict of World War I. Like so many, Tom Gallagher would be a pawn in that devastating conflict.



2 thoughts on “252 – Jobs at Cole’s

  1. deborahlargefox0764 February 1, 2023 / 12:01 pm

    Another interesting post. I like the newspaper advertisements, they bring the store to “life.”


    • Mark Jarvis February 1, 2023 / 9:14 pm

      Hi, Debbie. Happy to hear from you. I always appreciate your comments and love of genealogy and family.

      Liked by 1 person

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