Bess  Conklin

The  Shelbyville  Republican
Monday May 12, 1947
Page 4 column 3
          “Mrs. Bess Conklin is what I term a self-made woman.  She has created a place for herself in this community and is one of the most conscientious workers I have ever known.”  That’s what  A. Goodman  says about his employee with a 32-year service record in Goodman Department Store ready-to-wear.
          In 1914 when women’s “store-bought” clothes were regarded with raised eyebrows by local housewives, Mrs. Conklin began her career with the Goodman store which had just opened a double room, now a part of the  Ben Piatt and  Ralph Scofield  stores on South Harrison street.
          “I felt I didn’t know enough then to sell ready-to-wear,” Mrs. Conklin admitted with her characteristic sweet smile, “but when I’d slip into the more familiar table linen section, Mr. Goodman would indicate in his quiet manner that ready-to-wear was to be my field.”  And now, as a buyer, her serene and charming selling personality is as much a part of the Goodman ready-to-wear department as the clothes themselves.
          Her childhood, in Rensselaer and Greencastle, were carefree tomboy years with her four brothers as pacemakers.
          “I could climb any apple tree,” she laughed, “and was a whiz with a rifle.” Her parents, Mr. and Mrs. Arch Grubb, moved to Rensselaer to Greencastle when Mrs. Conklin was four, two years before her father, a railroad man, died.  In the years following, Mrs. Grubb worked diligently at anything she could do to provide for her children and maintain their home on North College avenue.  One son died in high school, another never returned from World War I, and she now lives with a son, Jewett, on his ranch near Great Falls, Montana.
          Mrs. Conklin visited friends in Greencastle recently and stopped as she always does to view a landmark at her old home - a huge walnut tree which she herself fenced off from the careless feet of her three brothers when it was a tiny seedling that appeared one Spring after she helped her brothers hull walnuts the preceding Fall.
          When Harry Conklin, a Greencastle youth, returned from the Spanish-American War, he married his pretty neighbor, Bess Grubb, and four years later took her and their son, Keith, to live in Shelbyville.  He died this winter at the Conklin home at 218 East Taylor street, after a prolonged illness.
          Mrs. Conklin, past matron of Naamah Chapter, Order of eastern Star, is active in local Star work.  She’s always been an avid reader, but in late years has had to pamper her eyes more that she likes.  Keeping up with the doings of her granddaughter, Nancy, keeps Mrs. Conklin awed and interested.
Contributed by Barb Huff

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