odney Burk Letter to the Forest-Area Historical Society.
July 13, 2000
THE RED & WHITE STORE was operated by Floyd Simpson in the room adjacent to the First National Bank. It featured a new way of displaying and vending canned foods. Cans were added at the top of a inclined "raceway" and rolled down to the customer's level. As the cans were removed, others rolled down to keep the "raceway" filled. Floyd Simpson was a member of the Clayton S. Simpson family included brothers; Jean Simpson, Carl Simpson, Paul Simpson, and Ronald Simpson. Ruth (Simpson) Lotz and Hazel (Simpson) Evans were their sisters. 1
STEVENSON's GROCERY was located on the south side of Lima street in or near the old Post Office location. It was operated by Earl Stevenson assisted by sons Foster and Clayton. The store room was long and narrow with the entrance at the front. Gypsies once visited this store. They kept Earl busy at the back of the store while other Gypsies pilfered at the front.
NYE's MEAT MARKET was located just west of Snider's Restaurant on Lima street. It was owned by Chick Nye whose family consisted of; Margery, Helen, and Horace.
LEHMAN's MEAT MARKET was a short distance west from Nye's. W.J. (Bill) Lehman had a son, David Lehman, who helped him in the store; also Tom Young.
Both of these markets butchered, rendered lard, and operated walk-in ice refrigerators. In the cold days of winter, large cuts of fresh meat were hung from large hooks along the wall of the store. For the price-conscience customer the markets offered low-priced sweet bread and brains, ham bones for soup, and crackling. Kidneys for your cat was free!
Burt Jaquith upon the death of William Jesse Lehman in 1950, wrote the following:
The sudden death of Wm.?J.?"Bill"?Lehman, a veteran grocer of Forest, recalls to the mind of the writer four generations of Lehmans who have been in either the meat or grocery business in Forest for the past 60 years or more. During all these years, their honesy in business and congenial personality has brought the Lehmans success in business.
First was Sam Lehman, Bill's grandfather, who conducted a meat market in Forest many years ago in a frame building on the corner of E. Lima and Gormely streets. He was assisted by his sons, Horace, Paris and Harry. In those days they butchered stock bought from the farmers and stored the meat in large refrigerators, cooled by huge cakes of ice, put up in the winter in saw dust in ice houses. They also made their sausage, smoked in their hams, shoulders and bacon.
Friends of the Lehman boys quite frequently congregated in the back room of the butcher shop to loaf and enjoy a little fun. Forest had no waterworks at that time, but there was always a jug of fresh water in the Lehman shop to quench the thirst. But there was a catch to this. A stranger tipping this water jug to his lips might also feel a fine stream of water running down his neck, being unaware of the fine hole drilled in the neck of the jug.
There was also a chair in the back room for a stranger. He would not tarry long, however, for a needle would mysteriously rise up throuth the chair seat.
It was in this shop where the writer in his earlier years became acquainted with "liver." For in this shop, after butchering, there would be a huge liver on a meat block which would be sliced, wrapped up and given to customers free of charge.
Paris "Pal" Lehman, "Bill's" father, in later years conducted a grocery store on the same corner, "Bill" in his teens being placed behind the counter. "Pal," as he was known to his friends, enjoyed the company of his friends, placed chairs around the stove in the store for them, and daily sessions were held there by a group termed the "Sanhedrin." In this group were Dan Dubbs, George Alter, John A McCleary, Sam Lutz and a few other grand old gentlemen, whose names we cannot recall, who have passed on. This venerable group discussed the topics of the day, and solved all national problems. When the arguments would sort of die down, "Pal" would walk past the stove and say a few words that would start up another argument.
At the death of his father, "Bill" Lehman took over the store, modernized same and enlarged the stock, but conducted the store on the same "live and let live" principles as the previous Lehmans. "Bill" was a great friend of the boys and girls. He saw that the candy department was well stocked with a wide variety of choice morsels for the kiddies, whose penies drew the same courteous treatment from "Bill" as the adults' dollars.
"Bill" Lehman, continued in the grocery and meat business until a year or two ago, when his son, David, took over the business and later started the present Drive-In Market on Mad River street. "Bill" assisted his son in this new and modern market until the time of his death.
"Bill" Lehman, like his father and grandfather before him, was a man who had a legion of friends. He was unassuming, honest in business, devoted his life to his family, and tried to be a friend to everyone.
We deem it a great honor to have been a friend to the Lehman family for four generations.2
1Sentence modified by the addition of the second sister, Hazel Simpson, and their married names.
2 Forest Review courtesy of Carole (Lehman) Waller, daughter of William Lehman.