B. Prugh & Sons Store
The Times-Tribune--June 8, 1983
By Bill Gladstone

The picture and much of the material for the column this week was furnished by Mrs. Bernice Dunfee.
There is no date on the picture, but it would be my guess that it was taken around 1910. I can't see any vehicle other than buggies, and that is a pretty good indicator.
The occasion is a promotion for Globe Hot Blast Stoves at B. Prugh and Sons store on the north side of the square in Grant City. It would probably be safe to say that the crowd was a lot more interested in the free pancakes and coffee than in the Globe Stoves.
The man standing in the foreground is Orr Prugh, father of Kathryn Mathews.
The building on the right was the first business house built in Grant City. Amos Frakes operated a little store about two miles east (somewhere on the Glen McClellan farm) before Grant City was established. Upon hearing that the county seat was to be moved from Smithton, he built that building. He and his family lived in the rear of the building and he had a store in the front.
At the time the picture was taken, the produce house was operated by Cordie Early.
Just to the left of the hardware store was a vacant lot where rolls of wire were sometimes stored. Oftentimes in the summer, seats were set up and an outdoor movie was shown.
The building to the left of the vacant area housed a millinery shop operated by Minnie Martin.
Benjamin Prugh was raised in Ohio. As a young man he went to California in the gold Rush days. He was in the west about 12 years. He returned to the Midwest and settled first at Corydon, Iowa, where his brother was operating a store.
After some two years in Corydon, he moved to Grant City in 1868 and established his business. He was a tinsmith. He established his business on the west side of the square about where the south 1/3 of the Pixie Shop is now located.
In looking through some old files at the Missouri Historical Society at Columbia, I noticed an ad in a Jan. 26, 1871, paper for a Prugh & Austry. I should have paid more attention to it.
Mr. Prugh first added stoves to his tinsmithing trade and gradually added other goods until he had established a fine line of hardware. A fire in 1891 destroyed his business on the west side of the square, and he proceeded to build on the north side of the square. This building was probably built in the mid-1890s.
Benjamin Prugh had four sons, W.C. Prugh, Orr Prugh, John R. Prugh and Burton Prugh.
As these sons entered the business, the form's name was changed to B. Prugh and Sons.
In addition to the hardware store, B. Prugh & Sons had two other business enterprises. It was most likely in the 1890's that they entered the undertaking business. W. C. Prugh practiced embalming before a license was required. Orr Prugh was the first licensed embalmer in the firm.
Sometime about 1910 B. Prugh and Sons acquired the Buick dealership in Grant City. The garage was on the south side of the street leading west from the northwest corner of the square. Jim Haley worked for them and later purchased the dealership from Prughs, but that is another story.
W.C. Prugh (Bernice Dunfee's father) became the sole owner of the firm in 1935. In 1936 he constructed the Prugh Funeral Home.
W.C. Prugh died in 1941. Sometime later Mr. & Mrs. Arch Dunfee became sole owners of B. Prugh & Sons. In 1951 Dunfees sold the hardware business to Mr. & Mrs. Clifford Hass and Mr. & Mrs. Charles Motsinger but retained ownership of the building.
The building now houses the hardware store, owned by Mrs. Carmeta Hass, in the east side, and the ASCS office in the west side.
Mrs. Dunfee has two copies of the Grant City Band Wagon picture that was run some time ago. On the back of one of them her mother has recorded some of the names. The order may not correspond exactly, but there are the names she had.
James Marrs and W.C. Prugh on the drivers seat. The uniformed members were Maud (Barnum) Watson, unidentified, Willis Maupin, Dr. Davidson, Chas. Eighmy, Lew Brinkerhoff, unidentified, Bert Rumsey, Dell Eighmey Sr., Will Lester and Jesse Walton.
A few of those old names have shown up on other pictures. Maud Watson and Lew Brinderhoff were in the old band picture taken in the 1880s.
Dell Eighmy Sr. and Lew Brinkerhoff were also in the picture of the old fire company.


For those who are keeping a scrapbook, this portion should go with the 5/25/83 column which carried the information about Memorial Day. The picture shows the group described with the monument in the background.
The picture was taken about 1905. Kathryn Prugh Mathews furnished me the picture which had been given to her by Kathryn Gardner Dall.
I must admit that had I been paying as much attention as I should the picture would have run when the article by Golden Patten ran. Mrs. Mathews had the picture at the last meeting of the Worth County Historical Society and I remember glancing at it briefly. An extra copy will be made to put with the historical collection.
Hats and caps must have been the in thing because I can't see a head uncovered. The little girl in the front row with the white stockings must have been a trend setter or she rushed home in tears after the event lamenting that she was the only one who didn't have new black stockings.
Names of some of the girls are written on the back of the picture frame. They are written in pencil and are somewhat difficult to decipher. Right or wrong, they appear to be Grace Davidson, Etta Gates, Faye Dawson, Emal Ferguson, …McReynolds, …Snyder, Fern Sanders, Eva Anderson, Kathryn Davidson, Abigail Pettis(?), Goldie Campbell, Susie Hauber, Madge Dawson, Dorothy Sparks, Fleita Barker(?), Kittie Wyman, H. Gardner and K. Gardner.