- - - MERCHANTS - - -



Courtesy of The Daily Globe - Shelby, Ohio
In early 1906, John Marion Trimble joined the previously established
partnership of George Washington Armstrong and Henry Philip Rauch
to form the Armstrong, Rauch, and Trimble Hardware Company.
Below is a photo of their store at 68 West Main Street, the
western part of the Cockley and Dick Block, which in turn is just
West of the Mickey Building at the South - West corner of
Main and Gamble Streets.

Photo courtesy of John & Doris Yetzer
Store Front 68 West Main St. - ca. 1904-1906
The above store front photo was probably taken just prior to, or at the time
Armstrong & Rauch became Armstrong, Rauch and Trimble. (It is also possible
that it was taken during the period of 1910 - 1914 between the deaths of John
Trimble and Henry Rauch).
The owners of this new business came from a variety of backgrounds and experiences.
George W. Armstrong was born in Bloominggrove Township, Richland
County, November 5, 1864. His parents were Samuel M. Armstrong
and Sarah Jane Burns. George W. was probably the oldest son in a family
of eight children. In 1889 he moved from the family farm to Shelby to
join the grain business of W. H. Morris. After several years he formed
a partnership in the coal business with I. E. Will that was known as
Armstrong and Will. In 1894, he entered the hardware business
as a partner with John Hughes (Armstrong & Hughes). During this
same year, George married Theressa "Ressa" Graham, a daughter of
Perry and Harriet Graham. In 1901 John Hughes was replaced in
the partnership by H. G. Morton and it became Armstrong & Morton.
Two years later, Armstrong & Morton went out of business and
George Armstrong and Henry Rauch formed Armstrong and
Rauch Hardware at the 68 West Main Street location.
Henry Rauch was born April 25, 1875 in Mansfield, Ohio to
George and Minnie Rauch. He was one of at least seven children.
Henry went to work in the hardware business at S. E. Bird
in Mansfield before coming to Shelby to work for two years
for Armstrong & Hughes. He spent seven years selling American
Stove Company products for Blymyer Bros. in Mansfield before coming
back to Shelby to go in partnership with George Armstrong in 1904.
Henry was married to Mettie A. Weichold shortly after becoming
a partner in the new business.
John Marion Trimble was born on a farm between Crestline and
Ontario on March 29, 1855. He was one of at least nine children of
James Sterrett and Lucinda Ann Murphy Trimble. John married Emma M.
Brown on February 22, 1885. After leaving the farm, his first venture into
business was in Crestline, Ohio where he entered the hardware trade
in the partnership of Brown & Trimble. He sold out his interest in
this business in 1897 and moved his family to Shelby where he started
a grocery. He continued in this endeavor until in November of 1905,
he sold his grocery business to the partnership of Bushey & Bushey.
He then, in early 1906, became the third partner of Armstrong,
Rauch, & Trimble.
The location of the hardware store is in the earliest established portion
of Shelby, being a part of James Gamble's first plat of Shelby. The store
location was lot #3 on that original plat. According to an early article
in the Daily Globe (1), there was a hardware store at this same location
for 50 years prior to 1906. The article further states, "The firm is located
in the stand formerly occupied by J. A. Seltzer & Sons. Nearly everyone
throughout this section knows J. A. Seltzer, who with H. W. Steele and
later with the two sons of Mr. Seltzer, made the store one of the best
known throughout this section."
The article continues, " Their line has been greatly increased and the class
of merchandise carried by them will be found of the very highest merit. In
shelf and heavy hardware they have everything that can be desired while in
paints, oils and glass they are exceptionally strong. They carry an enormous
line of the John W. Masury house paints which have a reputation for
goodness that is world - wide."
"In farm implements they carry everything. They have the exclusive agency
for the John Deere line, one of the most celebrated in the country, and
also carry Osborne and McCormick farm machinery, for which they are
exclusive agents."


Courtesy of The Daily Globe - Shelby, Ohio
"Shill Bros. furnaces and the Wise furnace is sold by them, two makes that
are recognized as the best of their kind. Their stove line is very large
representing such makes as the Quick Meal and the Detroit Jewel."
"In buggies, wagons, and harness they always carry a very extensive line
of the best makes, and their trade in these items is very large."

Photo courtesy of John & Doris Yetzer
Store Interior - 68 West Main St. - ca. 1906-1909
The above picture was probably taken after the addition of John Trimble
to the business since those pictured (compare with the pictures at the top of
this page) appear to be: George Armstrong - man behind counter on right,
Henry Rauch - man on left wearing straw hat, John Trimble - man with bow
tie leaning on counter. The woman may be Henry's new wife Mettie. Notice
the wide assortment of items. With that in mind, the following portion of
the Globe article is significant.
"In roofing, tinware, enameled ware, linoleums and hundreds of various
articles going to make a first class place, they recognize no superiors. "
"They have a fine tinshop in connection with their store and every
attention is given the trade which can in any manner add to the
convenience of the public and the enlargement of their business."
The 1904 Sanborn fire maps show that there were several buildings
located on the lot behind the hardware store (between the Mickey and
Cockley & Dick buildings and the M. E. Church lots) that housed the
tin and sheet shops. There were also several smaller buildings that were
evidently warehouses for the many inventoried items that could not be
housed in the main store front.
The Globe article continues: "John Seltzer, who has been identified with
the store for many years, will still continue in the employ of the new
company. He is a gentleman whom it is a pleasure to meet and to know,
his knowledge of the business, his wide acquaintance among the farmers,
and his genial nature, make him a very valuable man to the house."
"All of the partners in this concern are experienced hardware men, well
known among the people with whom they expect to do business and
the GLOBE confidently predicts for them a large share of the trade in
this section. Mr. Rauch's acquaintance with the wholesale trade will
enable the firm to always buy right and the wide knowledge of the people
and their needs by Mr. Trimble and Armstrong will make a combination
for business that will be hard to beat in either prices or quality of goods."
"This stand has always enjoyed a splendid patronage. It has drawn trade
from miles in every direction and under the new order of things will
maintain the past reputation of the house."

The location of 68 West Main Street continued to be a hardware store
for about another 70 years. It has had many owners in that time period.
John Trimble died in February of 1909 and the business reverted to
Armstrong & Rauch. By 1915, George W. Armstrong was the sole owner
of the business and it became known as G. W. Armstrong Hardware.
George Armstrong may have been associated with the business at this
location longer than any other owner since he held ownership until
the store was acquired by C. A. Black in 1934/35. George was involved
in the hardware business for over 40 years and in the 68 West Main St.
location for at least 30 of those years.
Leo H. Shaw ran the business in 1945 but it was known for a period
in the mid to late 1940s as Barnes & Black. By 1948 it became Barnes
Hardware and was so until in the early 60s when it became Adam
Hardware. The store remained Adam Hardware for about 10 years
when it then finally was closed as a hardware business and True Value
hardware was started at 72 West Main Street.

While owning the grocery, the Trimbles lived at 95 West Main Street.
During most of the period of the hardware partnership, they lived at
34 Raymond and 54 South Gamble Street. After John's passing,
at the time of the 1910 census, Emma lived with her father George,
at 44 South Gamble Street. That census indicates that Emma may
have had one child that was livng at that time, however there is
no indication of that in the 1900 census. After her father's death in
1912, Emma moved to Mansfield to live with Carrie Cox, a sister
who was also widowed. Emma continued to live in the area until
her passing in 1942. John Marion and his wife Emma M. Brown
/ Trimble are buried at the Oakland Cemetery in Shelby.
George and Theressa Armstrong made their home at 44 Marvin
Ave., where they raised their family of five children. George
Washington Armstrong lived in Shelby until his death in 1957.
Theressa Graham Armstrong passed away in 1949 and they are
both buried at Oakland Cemetery.
Henry P. Rauch and his wife Mettie probably had no children. In
1910 they were living at 30 North Gamble Street. By 1920 Mettie
was still living at 30 North Gamble Street as a widow with roomers.
A strong possibility is that Henry passed away around 1915 when
the business became G. W. Armstrong Hardware. More research is
needed to determine what happened to Mettie A. Weichold
after 1920.

(1) Some information in the above was derived from an article in
The Daily Globe April 2, 1906.

If you are interested in adding to, or commenting on the items on
this page, please contact us.

Copyright © 2000 - 2018