File submitted to Lincoln Co., Missouri Heritage pages by Betty Lavy Krieg, 8 October 2002.  Link change or file update: 18 November 2002

W. A. Depping's General Store in Fortieth Year
The Troy Free Press (Troy, Lincoln Co., MO) 11 July 1941.



Familiar to two generations, has been W. A. DEPPING’s general store in Moscow Mills. A general store in the proper sense of the word, this business house satisfactorily serves customers in a large trade area because the policy of the store is to please the customers. If they don’t have in stock the merchandise called for, they get it.

The original business started as a partnership between E. H. OLDERHEIDE and Mr. DEPPING in 1901. At that time, they were located in the James OWENS building that burned three years later.

On the $10,000 worth of goods lost by the fire, only $1,000 worth was covered by insurance. Unshaken in spirit by the disaster, Mr. DEPPING then built the present building which stands on the Main street. It was built of brick and fireproofed as much as it was then possible to do, and was about three times as large as the original building.

The first 10 years after the new building was erected, coal oil lamps provided artificial light. Progressing with the times, a Delco lighting system was installed and when electricity first came through the town, the owners of this store were on the first enrollment. About four years ago, electrical refrigeration was installed.

In 1920, Mr. DEPPING and Mr. ORDELHEIDE dissolved partnership. Mr. DEPPING taking over the store and Mr. ORDELHEIDE taking over the lumber yard, which the partners also owned. The lumber yard was later sold to H. C. RAUCH of St. Charles. Meanwhile, Mr. DEPPING kept right on with the store and after the partnership was dissolved, built an addition to the building which now stands two floors and a basement in the original part, and one floor in the new part.

Another building was bought and moved to the side of the store. This is used for a feed room. Mr. DEPPING has put in a mixer and makes his own chicken feed.

Handling produce has always been a specialty with this establishment. The 3,000 cases of eggs, 30 dozen eggs to a case, and the 8,000 gallons of cream this store handles during a year, would make quite a custard pie. More than 20,000 chickens a year are also handled here.

Let us pause and get a glimpse of the man behind this thriving enterprise, Mr. DEPPING, himself. An alert business man, he is constantly on the lookout for ways of bettering relationships between the store and its customers.

"My family and business are my main interests in life" he replied when asked if he had any hobbies. Proof of his statement lies in the fact that he has never taken a vacation from his store since he started in the business.

"I’m happier here than anywhere else I could be, so why take a vacation? he asks. Born in Warren County, near Wright City, in 1874, he was one of five children, of which all are living but one. His sister, Mrs. Paul ROPER, lives in O’Fallon, while one brother, Louis, is in the general merchandising business in Farber, and another brother, Gus, is a dentist in Middletown, Ill.

About 38 years ago, Mr. DEPPING took Miss Emma STEINMESCH of Wright City, as his bride. This couple built the home on Main Street in Moscow Mills where they now live. Five children were born to them, all of which have received high school and college educations. Henry is now a lawyer in Kansas City, Wesley is with his father in the store, Irene teaches at Maryland Heights in St. Louis County, Hazel is married to Harold SCHMIDT, a merchant at Foristell, Mo., and Mildred is with the Bell Telephone Co., in St. Louis.

Other than Mr. DEPPING and his son, William NAU and Carl PEITZMAN are on hand to serve the customers at all times. Mr. NAU is head clerk and has been with Mr. DEPPING 17 years; Mr. PEITZMAN, 2 years.

Mr. DEPPING was asked what some of the major changes in demand for merchandise were from time he started until the present time.

"Well, the sale of linoleum, wall paper, mattresses, rugs, etc., has increased, I’d say, five times over the business we did along that line originally."

As the veteran merchandiser settled himself more comfortably in his chair, he looked up, with a laugh, and said:

"Since the women were put on an equality with men in voting power, etc., we have had to practically quit handling corsets and parasols."

Such stability as this man represents is heartening to others either just starting out in business, or those a little doubtful about the future of their business.

File submitted to Lincoln Co., Missouri Heritage pages by Betty Lavy Krieg, 8 October 2002.  Link change or file update: 18 November 2002

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