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Wooster Digital History Project

Early Businesses

In the early nineteenth century, people migrated to Wooster in greater numbers. This growing market presented an opportunity for the establishment of local businesses.  The ambitious people of Wooster would use whatever trade or skills at their disposal to open their own stores. Other settlers received shipments of goods such as wine, spices, and clothes from as far away as New York or Pennsylvania to sell locally, catering to the needs of people who wanted imported luxury items.1  Henry Howe, a historian of Wayne County and a contemporary of the time, described the burgeoning economy of the town, as he reported that in 1846 there were “4 grocery, 10 dry goods, 2 hardware, 2 book and 3 drug stores, 1 bank…” Mills were essential businesses from the town’s very beginning since Wooster had plenty of water sources and Joseph Stibbs opened the first mill in 1809 near Apple Creek.3

1 “Advertisement for the Sale of Goods Brought From New York and Philadelphia,” Wooster Democratic Journal and Democratic Times, June 16, 1836.
2 Henry Howe,Historical Collections of Ohio (Norwalk, OH: The Laning Printing Co., 1896), vol., 832.
3 Ibid., 833.