Workday Wednesday: The Drugstore of Samuel J. Lee

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Lee Family (Click for Family Tree)

Trying to learn about the businesses where our ancestors worked can help us fill in some of the context of their lives.

Samuel J. Lee (1879-1964) was a druggist in St. Louis, Missouri. A Google search with his name took us to GoogleBooks, and a few directories of pharmacies throughout the nation.

Samuel J. Lee in His Drugstore in St. Louis, Missouri, possibly 1940s or 1950s?

GoogleBooks does not have the complete run of these directories- only 1905, 1906, 1910, 1911, 1916, 1921, and 1923 were available for today’s research. (Hopefully more on a tomorrow in the near future.)

There were only two mentions found:

1921- Samuel J. Lee in St. Louis, Missouri, The Era Druggists’ Directory, Vol. 19, Page 178, D. O. Haynes & Co., 1921, via GoogleBooks.

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1923- Samuel J. Lee as proprietor of Chenoweth Drugs in St. Louis, Missouri, The Era Druggists’ Directory, Vol. 19, Page 178, D. O. Haynes & Co., 1923, via GoogleBooks.

This suggests that Sam bought the Chenoweth Drugstore, and, as many do, Sam kept the old name since that is how customers knew the company. Generally, a buyer has to purchase the name and the “goodwill” it has built up over the years to continue to use it, or else rename the store at the risk of old customers not being able to find it.

Samuel J. Lee (left) in his Chouteau Ave store in St. Louis, Missouri, circa 1920?

Further research in other years did not bring up Sam’s name. It did, however, bring up the Chenoweth name.

1913- Chenoweth Drugs in St. Louis, Missouri, The Era Druggists’ Directory, Vol. 17, Page 113, D. O. Haynes & Co., 1913, via GoogleBooks.

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1916- Chenoweth Drugs in St. Louis, Missouri, The Era Druggists’ Directory, Vol. 18, Page 100, D. O. Haynes & Co., 1916, via GoogleBooks.

We know by the address that it was the same store. A quick trip to GoogleMaps shows the 4067 Chouteau Ave. address as very close to Sarah Ave- it is the closest cross-street. Sadly the building no longer appears to be in existence.

It is interesting that in 1921, the drugstore was listed under just Sam’s name, but in 1923, it was called “Chenoweth Drug Store” again. Reviewing city directories might give us more information, and it is more likely that a complete (or almost complete) run of those will be more available than the more specific druggist directories.

 

Notes, Sources, and References: 

  1. Images from directories as listed in captions.
  2. Google maps for 4067 Chouteau in St. Louis–https://www.google.com/maps/@38.6279979,-90.2492035,3a,90y,125.02h,79.72t/data=!3m6!1e1!3m4!1s_ibdo7GZjK2nEFcAWsga0A!2e0!7i13312!8i6656!6m1!1e1
  3. See also “Five Family Photos for Friday- Samuel J. Lee of St. Louis, Missouri”– http://heritageramblings.net/2013/12/13/five-family-photos-for-friday-samuel-j-lee-of-st-louis-missouri/

 

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