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Thursday, September 29, 2022

Kate's Brief History


Tom Ley in Holland’s 1886 Directory

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One ad in Holland’s Business Directory promotes “Tom Ley’s Chinese Laundry” and it is the only one advertised, although it’s possible there were other laundries operating in Naperville. Ads were run in The Naperville Clarion in 1885 for a laundry business run by Charles Ong Lung.  

Chinese laundries were common in the 1800s because of a series of discriminatory practices. During the 1840s, many hopeful men came from China to make their fortunes during the Gold Rush. As the boom fizzled out, however, large numbers of unemployed men of all races were left competing for too-few jobs. Growing conflicts led to anti-Chinese policies, including an 1875 law that prevented Chinese women from entering the country. In 1902, all Chinese residents were required to be registered and carry photo IDs.


Excluded from property ownership and the most desirable

Willard Scott in Holland’s 1886 Directory

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Naperville had two bankers listed in Holland’s 1886 Directory, both of which were also merchant tailors first. Last time, we looked at George Reuss. Across the street from Reuss’s shop was that of Willard Scott who had been around even longer. 

In the early 1800s, Stephen Scott decided to move his family from Maryland to stake out a claim in Illinois. He sailed through the Great Lakes, much like Joseph Naper would a few years later. Rather than in the fledgling settlement near Fort Dearborn, Stephen chose land near Grosse Point, now part of Evanston. 

A few years after settling there, Stephen learned that their homestead had been awarded to the family of Antoine Ouilmette following the Prairie du Chien treaty. During hunting trips, the Scotts had explored land around the DuPage River and decided to relocate there, a few miles out from the Naper Settlement area. This was in 1830, the summer before Joseph Naper arrived with his community. 

Stephen’s son, Willard, was already a young man when the family moved to Illinois. During a journey to Peoria, he stopped at the Hawley homestead. Smitten by the daughter of the house, he asked her to marry him. Caroline refused the one-day’s courtship proposal and he continued his journey. On the way back home, Willard stopped again at the Hawley’s and repeated his proposal. This time, Caroline said “yes” and they were married July 22, 1829.

After a time, the Scott family, including both Caroline and Willard’s parents, moved from their farms and into the Naperville town proper. Willard and Caroline started a family and had three sons who grew into adulthood. 

George Reuss in Holland’s Directory

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While progress has replaced many of Naperville’s earliest structures, not only does George Reuss’s business building still stand but so does his home. And both are fine monuments to his maxim that "industry and economy lead to wealth." 

Trained as a tailor, Reuss left Bavaria in 1854, remaining for a time in New York until moving west to St. Charles, Illinois. Mathias and Gertrude Krapf, a family he knew from back home, also settled in St. Charles, bringing with them their daughter who was an old school friend of George’s. In 1856, Reuss married Anna Maria Krapf, moved to Naperville, and started a store with “a Mr. Dollinger.” This is possibly Franz “Frank” Dollinger as he also lived in St. Charles for a time and was a member of Euclid Lodge, the Masonic organization in Naperville. The partnership didn’t last long, however, and they split up the stock to go their separate ways. 

Now in his twenties, Reuss operated a clothier’s shop which sold men’s furnishings and utilized his tailor training. His obituary states that while Reuss was “a stern man, he was eminently just and demanded much more of himself than he did of anyone else” and his business seems to have flourished. In the 1860s, Reuss hired local contractor, Levi Shafer, to erect a fine clothing shop on the corner of Washington and Jefferson. In addition to being a successful builder, Shafer is known for loaning his gun to Marcellus Jones who is said to have fired the first shot of the Battle of Gettysburg with it.  

Reuss’s good reputation and sturdy building impressed the farmers and townsfolk who were his customers and they started asking him to hold their money. So the clothier became a banker, launching the Bank of Naperville in 1886. Isaac Murray, brother to the Ruth that I wrote about in my first book, was vice president of the bank. 

George installed a vault and added another room and rebuilt the entrance with elegant red granite to better reflect the change from tailor to bank. Thes


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Using Tech for Book Marketing

Don and Kate Gingold


Kate and husband Don have been building websites since 1996 for all sorts of clients, including authors.

As the Internet has evolved, producing books and marketing them has become much more complicated. Whether traditionally-published or self-published, authors today need to know their way around websites, blogging, social media and other online marketing tools.

Kate regularly writes about online marketing for Sprocket Websites and provides tips and techniques for entrepreneurs, small- to medium-business owners and not-for-profit directors. Since being an author today is not really different from being an entrepreneur with a small business, most of those tips are just as useful to authors.

Frequently Kate also writes about tips specific to authors, some of which are available here.

The Sprocket Report

The Sprocket Report is published every other week with Internet marketing tips, tools and techniques. The archive features articles from 2011 up to the present. You are welcome to read how business owners are using technology to market themselves and apply those tips to your author business.


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