Merchant in Hobart
By Karen Cuccinello
J. Lawrence & Son dry goods and general merchandise store began with Jacob Lawrence (1853-1934) who came to the USA from Germany/Prussia in 1872. Jacob married Laura A. Grant (1851-1921) and they had one child, Amasa Jacob, born July 12, 1884, who joined his father’s business July 15, 1902.
A want ad in a 1903 Hobart Independent newspaper stated the Amasa was looking for raw furs and would give market price for all furs brought to Lawrence’s store. Also in 1903 they advertised fur coats and scarves, ladies and gents shoes, rubbers (boots) and you could take your Brown stamp book to the store on the last Thursday of each month and receive one dollar worth of stamps free. (I never heard of a Brown stamp book. When I Googled it I only got James Brown, the singer, stamps and he wasn’t born until 1933.)
Amasa’s wife-to-be moved to Hobart from Central Bridge with her newly remarried mother Minnie (Mrs. William F. Brazil) in 1906 to own and operate the New Hobart Hotel (767 Main St.). They owned the hotel for about 25 years.
In 1909 A.J. Lawrence advertised the following, as well as items from the 1903 advertisement: Underwear For men, women and children in the finest all wool Jersey Ribbed and Fleeced Lined. Bed Spreads, Comfortables, Rose Blankets and all Wool Blankets. Rain Coats in all the latest shades for men, women and children.
1917-18 WWI Registration card- Amasa Jacob Lawrence of Hobart, age 34, self employed merchant, description: short and stout, dark grey eyes and brown/bald hair.
January 11,1922 Stamford Mirror-Recorder- J. Lawrence and son. A.J. Lawrence leave tomorrow on an extended trip which will include El Paso. Texas, Trinidad and Denver, Colo., and Omaha, Nebr. (they were gone three months)
On June 15, 1927 Amasa married Emma H. Freemyer (1885-1960) who was born in Middleburgh to William and Minnie (Houck) Freemyer. This was a first marriage for both and they were both 42 years old. A month previous to the marriage Emma had bought a Buick sedan in Stamford, which was pretty daring for a single lady to do in 1927.
In 1961 Amasa donated carpeting to St. Peters Church of Hobart. The wine-red with a small black pattern carpet was installed throughout the entire church, choir and sanctuary. The gift was in memory of his wife who had been a member of the Ladies Guild for 40 years. This carpet replaced a carpet that was given in 1905 by the Ladies Guild.
Amasa J. Lawrence died September 28, 1963, age 79, at Community Hospital in Stamford. Mr. Lawrence spent his entire adult lifetime operating a dry goods and general merchandise firm in Hobart.
At the time of his death he was president of the Hobart Water Company and the Hobart Cemetery Association. He was a former mayor of the community and a warden and vestryman of St. Peter’s Episcopal Church. He was buried with his wife and parents in Locust Hill Cemetery, Hobart.
In 1969 appreciation was expressed to Herbert Coager, who has tended the flower boxes at the community hall (previously the New Hobart Hotel) during the summer. The flowers for these boxes are provided from a fund left by the late Amasa J. Lawrence.
Photo from the Stamford Village Library history room collection.