One of the thriftiest tradesmen on the south side of the square was Mr. Edward Long, a dealer in boots and shoes.
He came to Monticello in 1869 from Marion, Ohio, and began business on a modest scale in a little building that was owned by William Rothrock which was near the site of today’s chamber of commerce building on West Broadway. At that time, he carried no stock at all and concentrated on making custom fitting shoes and boots for local residents.
In the 1870s, it was all he could do just to handle the orders that walked in the door.
Long was a skilled craftsman and extremely industrious. For the next 12 years, he quietly plied his trade; but in 1882, he relocated to North Main Street, which was one door south of today’s Main Street Antiques.
In this location, he started out with a small inventory of boots and shoes. After a year of encouraging trade, he moved again where he increased his stock. After a few years, his sales increased significantly.
Long’s advantage was his ability to talk about a shoe or boot, how it was made and what the differences were between one product and another. In this way, he gained the confidence of the customers who continued to come back again and again.
Some of the brands he handled were the Whitney Oil Grain and Dongola shoes manufactured in Cleveland. He also carried Roberson & Burton goods from Detroit and Hoover & Gliddon’s of Newport, Ky. These assorted manufactures completed his shoe line.
In boots, he sold Gorkey’s hand-sewn Morocco leg boots out of Jamestown, N.Y. In Long’s day, the Gorkey boot was totally at the top of quality.
Long knew shoes and boots inside and out after making them for so many years. His store did not carry shoes or boots that did not last. It is interesting to note that Long, during his growth years, was the only business in Monticello that exclusively handled footwear.
So what is the rest of the story on Long? The following is a short autobiography:
“I was born June 27, 1830, in the city of Hoen Stive (Saxony, Germany), a town of some 3,000 population in county.
“My father was employed in a large mercantile house and had a good position. At the age of 6, I was sent to school. When I was 8 years old, my father and mother concluded to move their family to America. My father always loved the United States, its laws and its free institutions.
“We left Saxony and arrived at Hamburg, a port of departure for New York. We boarded a sailing vessel. It was a long voyage. We landed at New York and after a few days, we went to New Jersey. There, we boarded a boat on the Morris Canal; at Easton we changed boats to the Lehigh Canal, and landed at Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, in Northampton County and that was the end of our journey across the ocean.
“My father got employment and applied for naturalization papers for the whole family. After five years, we all became citizens. I was not a good scholar as I was slow to learn. In a few years I went to work in a factory, but factory work did not suit me and I asked father to teach me the shoe trade.
“So I worked two years and then worked under instruction 6 months in Bucyrus, Ohio, and after that six months at Mansfield, Ohio, I felt that I could work anywhere in Mansfield in the shoe trade.
“In a shop in Mansfield, Ohio, there were six men at work. A man by the name of Coffin quit and moved to Van Wert, Ohio. He had bought some town lots and started a shoe shop. He told me that when I got through at Mansfield — my apprenticeship time of six months was not out yet — that I could come by the last of November for work. I left Mansfield and went home for a week and left for Van Wert.
“On leaving, father said to me, ‘Edward, I owe yet one hundred dollars on our home that is on the farm. If you can pay $50 I will pay the other $50.’ I told him that I would and started walking some 90 miles to Van Wert that was within 20 miles of Fort Wayne.
“The roads were rough and frozen. I got lame and had only 4 cents left. I got to Van Wert on a Sunday afternoon. I went to the hotel called the Western House. There I found one of the journeymen friends that had worked in Mansfield. They all welcomed me and told me to spend the 4 cents and commence to save more. I got to Van Wert the last of November. I went to work. Mr. Coffin paid me on piece work wages. Some weeks I earned $9 and I thought I was doing fine.
“I told the boss of the shop that I wanted to save $50 that winter to pay off my father’s home, and by spring I had the money earned, but did not know how to send it. So I hired a horse from a man and paid him $5 for the use of his horse for a week. There were no money orders that one could send by express.
“I went into the shoe business for a number of years at Lagro in Wabash County, Indiana, but fever and ague nearly used me up. I left Lagro and went to North Manchester, 10 miles north of Wabash. I worked there for three years. I got acquainted with Elizabeth C. Wilson. She became my wife. After several years, my father-in-law and I went into partnership in the shoe business.
“In the fall of 1863, my father-in-law, Mr. Wilson, took sick from asthma and knew it was the end. I worked day and night to keep up with the work until my eyesight gave out. So I told my mother-in-law that I would settle up the partnership business. I paid all the debts and collected the outstanding accounts. We called in a lawyer and everything was divided and when that was done the lawyer called us in to dinner and he did not charge us one cent.
“Late in the fall of 1863, the 47th Indiana Regiment obtained a veteran furlough for the whole regiment for one month to go home and re-enlist for two years more or for the duration of the war. They were to come home about the holidays. I enlisted in Company D of the 47th Indiana Regiment. On the 4th of Jan (1864), we were ordered to Wabash to be enrolled. So on the 4th day of Jan, 1864, I went to Wabash and was enrolled as a private with nine others in Company D 47th Infantry Regt. in the 13th Army Corps in the Army of the Gulf.
“The weather at that time was intensely cold, 32 degrees below zero on New Year’s Day of 1864 and it was known through Ohio and Indiana as the cold New Year when the furlough of the 47th had run out. In the last of February 1864, we went with the regiment to the front and arrived at New Orleans and went into camp. After the war is when I first worked in Marion, Ohio, and in 1869 I came to Monticello.”
Long was short on education but as you can see he was “long” on common sense. He found a trade in which he excelled — and did. He eventually sold his shoe store and went back to making shoes and doing repairs.
In 1918, he was living in Monticello with his daughter, Lillie, who had married Ira Clapper, who had died in 1914. When his daughter decided to move to Colorado, Long was shuffled off to another daughter, Mrs. Grover Weaver, who lived in Birmingham, Mich.
Long would die in Boulder County, Colo., in 1925, at the ripe old age of 94 while living with Lillie. He is buried in the Green Mountain Cemetery in Boulder.
His wife, Elizabeth, died in 1893 at the age of 51 and is buried in the Old Monticello Cemetery.