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Wahoo Newspaper Historical Articles

First Barber Shop In Mead Owned By Slave

The busy little town of Mead, in Marietta Precinct, was known by other names in the days of grandfathers.

It was first called Alvin by the Union Pacific Railroad Company, but since there was another Alvin in the state the name was changed to Saunders after the county when the post office was established. Later the name was changed to Mead in honor of a railroad official of the time.

Mead is located on the east half of Section 35, Township 15, Range g, East of the Sixth Principal Meridian according to the government survey. The town is located on the Union Pacific Railroad and is about six and one hair miles east and a quarter of a mile north of Wahoo, the county seat.

The first house in the town of Mead was constructed by Cyrus Truman Condit, in 1877 when the Union Pacific Railroad built through the town. Mr. Condit resided in that house for a number of years and remodeled and enlarged it at different times, making a modern and substantial borne. Mr. Condit was cashier of the Bank of Mead for a number of years.

The organization of the town of Mead was in the hands of such pioneer families as the Freeman Knowles, the Sturdevants, Halls, E. Frank Mills, and the Beckers. The first grocery store m the new town was opened on March 1, 1877 by Charles Ostenberg, Phegem E. Hebert established the first hardware store and the second opened was that of W. N. Becker.

Joseph B. Sturdevant was the first depot agent and Charles Ostenberg erected the second residence. The first lawyer to locate in the town was Freeman Knowles arid the first physician was Dr. Phillip L. Hall. The first elevator and grain business was operated by Cyrus Truman Condit and Thomas Ostenberg. The first barber shop was established by Henry Brown., an ex-slave who formerly traveled with Uncle Tom's Cabin. The first live stock dealers were Lars Anderson and Ola Carlson, and the first butcher shop was opened by Ola Carlson and his son, Charles Carlson. Edward Frank Mills was one of the early settlers in Mead. According to some of the pioneers the railroad built through the town in 1876 and the depot was the first building erected.

The first newspaper ever published in the town was named the Advocate and was published by William N. Becker. The editor was not able to provide a shop with necessary equipment for publishing a paper, and had the Advocate published by the Visitor in Valparaiso.

Charles W Wilson opened the first drug store in the village, and John Ohmstead opened a general store in a frame building conducting the same for a number of years This building was later used by the Modern Woodmen of America as a lodge hall.

A water and electric plant was established in 1914 and was a distinct credit to the physical appearance of the town as well as to the initiative of its people.

The Bank of Mead was opened for business as a private bank in 1885 with Cyrus Truman Condit, president; Thomas Ostenberg and Henry Anderson vice presidents; and Philip Lewis Hall, cashier. The capital stock was $5,000.

The bank was incorporated as the Bank of Mead on December 31, 1900 Phillip Lewis Hall was president of the bank; Cyrus Truman Condit cashier; Thomas Ostenburg, vice president; and Gus Soderberg, assistant cashier.

In the year 1931 the bank had an undivided surplus profit of $16,000.00 and the deposits averaged about $340,000. Among the officers of the bank were Jay Willey, president; Harry Widman, vice president; Roy M. Erway, cashier, Gus Soderberg and Emerson E. Erway, assistant cashiers.