by Marcia Napier, Grain Valley Historical Society
As a young girl I remember my grandmother telling me about owning a millinery shop. I wish I had paid more attention and asked more questions. I have no idea where it was located, but apparently it was next door (on the right) to John O’Connell’s business.
The small building may have been on the east side of Broadway (Main) between Walnut and Front Street. The information on the back of this photo includes the business name and the date, 1910.
Tonsorial comes from the Latin tonsorius, "of or pertaining to shearing or shaving." You're most likely to encounter this adjective in a humorous or overly formal context, and it can describe anything that has to do with cutting hair or shaving. The two men in the photo are identified as Jerry Sweeney and John O’Connell. The dog shall remain nameless!
Jerry Sweeney was born about 1840 in Ireland. In the 1910 United States Census he was listed as 70 years-old, single and living as a border in the Edward Williams home. (Tommie Webb, owner of Warren Webb Hardware was also a border in the Williams home). I found no further information so I don’t know if he has a relationship to the Sweeney family who owned a large piece of land on Sweeney Road, a mile-long road between Duncan Road and Pink Hill Road, ¼ mile east of Buckner Tarsney.
John O’Connell was born in St. Louis in 1875. His parents were James and Martha Elizabeth (Richardson) O’Connell. James died when John was about 4 years-old. His mother then married Dennis Costigan and they moved the family to Jackson County in the early 1880s. In 1906, O’Connell married Creola Warren, the daughter of William A. and Nancy Warren and the sister of Ellsworth and William Durwood Warren.
If you read last week’s article about the Warren Webb Hardware you can begin to see that Grain Valley was indeed a small town and it must have seemed as if everyone was related.
When you consider the three O’Connell children along with the six Costigan children and their spouses you can connect to the Richard family, the Elliott family, the Herrington family, the Houston family, etc..
In later years, O’Connell owned a business on U. S. Highway 40 (Eagles’ Parkway) south of town. But that’s a story for another week!
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