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Jun 07

From Underseller to Emporium

Posted on June 7, 2022 at 9:22 AM by Ken Kocher

1878 photo of the Wynn BuildingWW.D. Wynn ad 1878hen fire destroyed the entire business district of Madison in April 1869, the store of Wynn & Peacock was at ground zero being one of the first two buildings consumed by the flames. W.D. Wynn quickly rebuilt, this time using brick. The façade was parged with stucco which was scored to give the appearance of a stone block building. Peacock’s continued involvement in the firm is somewhat unclear. While the establishment is mentioned as Wynn & Peacock in 1875 and a partial early photo of the building shows Peacock’s name on the building, all other mentions and advertisements indicate Wynn operating the business alone. In his ads he claimed to be “the original underseller of Madison.” Despite his aggressive sales pitch, he was out of business by 1883 when his building was sold to satisfy a defaulted mortgage.

That same year the Griggs Brothers moved their farm implement business from Washington Street to the Wynn Building. In addition to plows, mowers, hay rakes, sawmills, cotton planters, stoves, separators, and engines, the brothers also sold New American sewing machines. At the beginning of 1885, the Griggs brothers dissolved their partnership with J.M. retiring and P.M. continuing the business. J.F. Boughton joined P.M. Griggs in the building during the fall of 1886. Jim Boughton, who had been working in M.A. Peteet’s drug store, had struck out on his own to sell family groceries. The two shared the building for a year when Boughton bought Griggs’s business.

Vintage sewing machine postcard advertisementBoughton announced, “I shall continue at the same stand and will be glad to supply the customers of the old house with anything they may need in machinery, agricultural implements, stoves, or family groceries.” Boughton held an art exhibition given by the New Home Sewing Machine Company which was “largely attended by our ladies.” New Home presented such exhibitions around the country. They featured artistic work created on their sewing machines. The creating artists were present to explain the processes necessary to create the exhibited designs as well as giving demonstrations. The exhibit must have been an odd juxtaposition with the farm implements and groceries. When a storefront in the Atkinson Building came available in 1894, Boughton moved his business there.

W.W. Leake opened his grocery in the space but had financial difficulties and was closed by the sheriff. T.D. Creighton then leased the building for his store, The Globe, “an emporium of fashion and style.” Creighton, who had suffered a devastating fire and bankruptcy, was ready to make another go of it. While he was in New York buying stock, the building was being painted and fitted up. Before Creighton moved in and the building was still vacant, the Ladies’ Garden Club had a barbecue dinner fundraiser – 25 cents a plate. The Globe opened in March of 1900 in its new quarters advertised as the Blue Front Store. Creighton’s brother-in-law who clerked at the Globe, Roscoe Anderson, would go on to use this color advertising scheme when he opened Anderson Dry Goods in the Broughton Building.1900 ad for The Globe

Before year end, T.D. Creighton decided to leave Madison for South Carolina. He sold his goods at “New York costs” and closed out his store. From this point the building took on more of a transportation bent. We’ll cover that in an in a later edition.


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