Local Grocers: Allen, Perrin and Griswold; Thomas Prushaw; Maytum

By Douglas Shepard

Barker Museum Newsletter
Autumn, 2000

(Conversations with Robert Maytum, Sr. October 17, 1994 and October 20, 1994.)

Allen, Perrin and Griswold

Artemus Perrin was born in Connecticut in August 1803. He came to Pomfret in 1832 and to Fredonia in 1861. He and his wife had two sons, Horace P. and Henry V. Perrin. Horace attended the Fredonia Academy in 1853-1860. He was married in 1866, elsewhere, then returned to Fredonia in 1867.

In the same year, Owen W. Allen came to visit his sister, Mrs. Artemus Perrin, and decided to move here permanently. In April 1868, he took over the "Little Wooden Building" at 43 Main [20 East Main] Street, where J.R. Roberts and Spencer Allen had had a grocery, and opened his boot and shoe store there.

His nephew Horace was Principal of the Fredonia Public School and later taught at the NormalSchool. He and his wife moved away in 1869 but returned in 1871.

Around 1877, Horace and his cousin H.D. Allen bought out O.W. Allen and continued the shoe business as "Perrin and Allen" at 20 W. Main Street. In 1881 they moved the business to 18West Main Street while the Hanisers took over 20 West Main Street as a tobacco shop. O.W. Allen died in 1882. In 1886, Horace Perrin bought out his cousin keeping the store at 18 WestMain Street.

In September 1887, he took his former clerk, Herman S. Griswold, into partnership as "Perrin and Griswold" until 1891, when Perrin retired from the firm. Around 1895, Griswold moved the store to 71 [7 East] Main Street. In 1930, he moved to 17 East Main Street. He closed the store in 1939 but lived on until December 10, 1957.

Thomas Prushaw and Family

Thomas Prushaw and his French bride, Cecile (?) came to Fredonia. One son died very young (young Thomas?) and was buried in their plot in Forest Hill Cemetery as was their son Henry later on. Thomas Prushaw and his wife went to Pasadena, California with her mother who had consumption. He painted houses out there for a living. They died out there.

Their daughter, Gertrude, on January 1st 1888, married Arthur Maytum who came here from England where he had apprenticed as a grocer. He worked for a Mr. Knight in Fredonia and then bought his own grocery store. The family lived over the store on Water Street. (The "Maytum" sign over the store was in raised cement. Later chiseled off but a black outline still showed the letters. It was overpainted several times until the name disappeared.)

The family later lived at 64 West Main, which was afterwards torn down to build the Caboose tavern. Robert Maytum, Sr. was born after his parents separated. He was raised by his Maytum grandparents.

Arthur Maytum, the Coburn Mill and the Canning factory on Eagle Street ran a phone wire to the Depot to know when the train was coming in. A student of Mr. Jewettís, not Jewett himself showed them how to rig the phone and the line. He had learned about it at his home elsewhere. Jewett did not know about the telephone. Maytum didnít go into the telephone business until the patent expired around 1892 (1876 + 16 years?) freeing it up for some small companies to move in.

Arthur Maytum was not particularly religious. Prushaw was a Congregationalist originally but joined Trinity Church here. The Maytums got involved after they were married, and since then, there have been seven generations of Maytums involved with the church. Arthur Maytumís father, Robert, came to Fredonia to live with them, but boarded instead at Faganís on Day Street.