Need Shoes? Give Daniel Davis a Call

Researching my cousin Daniel Davis (1814-1902), I found him in the 1880 census.

It tells me he was a “Boot & Shoemaker.”

Source: GenealogyBank, “United States Census, 1880,” database with images, GenealogyBank (https://genealogybank.com/#), Daniel Davis, Gilford, Belknap, New Hampshire, United States. (Original index: United States Census, 1880, FamilySearch, 2014)
Source: GenealogyBank, “United States Census, 1880,” database with images, GenealogyBank (https://genealogybank.com/#), Daniel Davis, Gilford, Belknap, New Hampshire, United States. (Original index: United States Census, 1880, FamilySearch, 2014)

Looking to see what I could find about Daniel in GenealogyBank’s Historical Newspaper Archives, I found this advertisement for his services.

An article about Daniel Davis, Lake Village Times newspaper article 8 July 1871
Source: GenealogyBank, Lake Village Times (Laconia, New Hampshire), 8 July 1871, page 1

Interesting. This advertisement says that he also sold sewing machines.

Looking further in the old newspapers, I found this ad specifically for the sewing machines he sold.

An article about Daniel Davis, Lake Village Times newspaper article 10 August 1872
Source: GenealogyBank, Lake Village Times (Laconia, New Hampshire), 10 August 1872, page 3

He pitched the fitness of this sewing machine – its durability, quietness and his flexible financial terms.

He asked all interested customers “to give us a call.”

Wait, this ad was published in 1872.
What did they mean by “give us a call”?
I think of that as a reference to calling them on the telephone – but the telephone would not be invented until 1876.

So, I searched for that phrase in the old newspapers and found that it was commonly used as far back as 1795. It meant “come and visit us, pay us a call.”

An article about dry goods, Farmers Chronicle newspaper article 28 December 1795
Source: GenealogyBank, Farmers Chronicle (Danbury, Connecticut), 28 December 1795, page 4

Fascinating.

You can learn a lot about your relatives – and the times they lived in – in America’s old newspapers.

 

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