“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.
The Shelbyville Republican
Monday May 12, 1947
Page 4 column 3
MRS. BESS CONKLIN
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
“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
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