Vevay in 1840


In an article published recently in the Vevay Times, Mrs. A. L. Ruter Dufour, a former resident of Vevay, now of Washington City, thus cleverly sets forth her recollection of the town, as it appeared about the year 1840, or little more than 44 years ago. She says:
“Almost the half of a century has elapsed since we first set foot on the soil of Vevay. It may be pleasant to many of our friends to retrospect the past in the business department of the ‘auld lang syne’ of your city. The two journals then existing in this place were the Vevay Times, published by Isaac Stevens, and the Indiana Palladium, published by J. G. Fanning and John McCormic.

Both these editors were gentlemen of acknowledged ability as journalists, and their weekly issues were spicy and full of interest; friends and patrons to every sort of mechanical industry, their respective journals had a wide popularity and a long list of subscribers.
Mr. McCormic was a most erudite scholar and excellent critic, as well as a poet of no mean order. Of the merchants, U. P. Schenck, Sr., had a good sized store in the southwest corner of Pike and Ferry streets, now occupied by his son in the same business.

It was then, as now, one of the principal stores for dry goods and notions, and perhaps had more capital invested therein than any other one house. However, Malin & Patton had an excellent variety store in the corner now occupied by McCrellis & Pleasants’ law office, and being popular men in the community did a good business.

Clarkson & Dufour, in the same building in which Abner Dufour now resides, and also the widow of Perret Dufour, had a large, well assorted variety of goods for many years. Midway of the square, where Malin & Patton’s store was, on Ferry Street, Abram Dumont also had a very good assortment of almost every article needed in the household, in the dry goods line, china and cutlery.

We remember his pleasant, good humored face and kindly manner, although he died in a short time after he took up a residence here. Malin & Dalmazzo had a store on Ferry Street, we think, midway between Main and Pike streets, northwest side; and Ira Malin had a saddler shop also in the same building.
He sold out to a Mr. Browning shortly after we came. Shaw & Rous were also one of the most flourishing and enterprising firms then, and what they had not in their large assortment of goods could scarcely be procured in town.
For many years they did a large and successful business and were succeeded by the firm of Harwood & Shaw, we believe.
There was a firm a little anterior to our time, of Vincent Dufour and Frank G. Sheets, and at the time our father became a citizen of Vevay Mr. Sheets proffered his residence to us, the house and beautiful grounds surrounding it, and which is now the residence of William Patton’s widow and family. Mr. Sheets had just closed business here and subsequently returned to his old home in Madison.

John Dumont was the principal attorney at law, a man of most vigorous intellect and attainments, as many yet living can attest. James M. Kyle was also an able lawyer, gifted in many ways, but died ere attaining the meridian of life. John S. Beal and Joseph C. Eggleston were prominent lawyers.

Judge Scott Carter was then but a student in the school of jurisprudence. Elwood Fisher, then James M. Cotton, was the county representative to the State Legislature. John Francis Dufour, our father-in-law, was probate judge, and a man of strict integrity, veracity and excellent judgment.

He had held various offices of public trust most worthily, and was the first postmaster Vevay ever had. Edward Patton was clerk of the county, a man of “infinite wit and jest,” as well as a capable officer.