Tuesday, March 9, 2010

The Clothing Industry - A Family Tradition

It seems that most of my grandmother's family was involved in the clothing industry.  Whether it be millinery work, tailoring, or selling, these career choices keep appearing in the stories of my ancestors.  Another interesting fact is that it is through this line of work that my family lines intertwine and their names become a large part of Ripley's history.  

As I have written before, the Thill family brought their hat making skills to this country from the Alsace region of France which helped them establish a foothold in the Cincinnati business world.  As his mother's son, Nicholas Becker, Jr. continued the path and created a secure future for his son as Louis later followd in his father's footsteps.  

My great-grandmother, Amy Montgomery Becker's maternal grandfather was a gentleman from Germany named Michael Linn.   Upon his arrival in Ripley in 1855, Michael established the M. Linn General Store on Main Street selling clothing and other items.  When Michael died in 1910, his son, William F. Linn, along with two of his brothers, continued running the store which at that point was called M. Linn and Co. Dry Goods.    

After Amy and Louis's marriage in 1911, they lived in Stuebenville, Ohio where Louis was employed as a clothing salesman.  They returned to Ripley in 1922, at which time, Louis purchased M. Linn Clothing Store presumably from William F. who had opened another store, Linn's Men and Boy's Clothing also on Main Street.  Louis renamed his new store Becker's Department Store.

I'm not sure when Catherine's millinery shop on Second Street closed, but with Louis's purchase of M. Linn's Clothing, the family's tradition of work found in the clothing industry continued and these two families, the Linn's and the Becker's, would come to play an important part in the economy, and therefore the history, of Ripley, Ohio.

The advertisements for M. Linn & Co. were found in The Ripley Bee newspaper in 1911.  
The facts about the establishment of M. Linn's and Becker's Department Store were found in my great-grandfather, Louis's obituary and the book, Ripley, Ohio - Its History and Families published and compiled by the Sesquicentennial Historical Committee for the 1962 celebration of Ripley's Sequicentennial. 

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