JAMES HAUGHT: DEATH OF SEARS (AND ROEBUCK) - The Mail Horse Broke Down With Heavy Catalogs


A 1906 Sears Catalog (Bob Weaver)

By James C. Haught

With Sears going bankrupt we get an indication that life is constantly changing.

Growing up in Calhoun County Sears, Roebuck and Company, Montgomery Ward and Spiegel were important in our lives. It is the passing of an era to which I have some sadness.

We got our catalogues through the mail.

Members of my family would fight over who got to look at it first. Although my two older sisters usually won out. Before school started in the fall we would order our clothing from the catalog.

Dad usually bought his tools from Sears, Roebuck and Company. He liked Craftsman tools. When Ray Reading returned to Arnoldsburg from Arizona. He order his house from Sears. It still stands on the corner where one starts up Spring Run.

Back in 1943 our fifth grade teacher, Miss Cox, at Grantsville Grade School said. "For the war effort we are going to have to conserve paper. Don't use many sheets of paper doing your class work and don't waste toilet paper. Brad Young's hand shot up and he said, "Miss Cox, we got two Sears, Roebuck Catalogs this year I can bring one of them in."

Catalogues had multiple uses. They were also used as door stops. Back when I was a boy we typically had five rooms and a path, a path to the outhouse. Each year we got in the mail catalogues from Montgomery Wards, Sears and Roebuck and Spiegels. The old catalogs went to the outhouse.

Back in the 1920's the McKown family had a contract to deliver the mail from Arnoldsburg to Grantsville. Glen Mckown carried the mail on horseback. The mail route started in Arnoldsburg, went up Cabin Ridge to Daniel's Run, then to Sycamore and up Mudlick to Mt Zion. From there it went down Phillips Run to Grantsville.

The most difficult time for Glen was when catalogues were delivered. There was a catalogue for every household along the route. People knew when the catalogues were coming and were usually out waiting for them. A catalogue for every family along the route was quite a chore for the horse and mail man.

Life in America is constantly changing. It is sad for an old man to see it change so rapidly but that is an adjustment we have to make.