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Dr. A.D. Tyrell and the Maplewood Fair

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The Maplewood Fair store as it appeared early in the 20th century.
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When Brad Colter moved into an old home, he found a cloth-covered box. Underthe cloth he discovered awooden box thatsat in front ofthe Maplewood Fair storemore than a century ago to receive overnight deliveries.

This story for me begins with a breadbox: Not the kind that sits on your counter but this one is more like a trunk.

In 1994 I bought a home at 206 W. 19th St. from Mrs. Guilford (Fern) Lipps. One of the interesting items she left for me was a dusty old sewing box. When I was a kid every grandma had an old sewing box full of yarn and covered with material.

Sometime later I decided to take the material off and see what was underneath. As I peeled off each layer it seemed that a generation was stripped away. The last of four layers was a carpetbag material that was used early in the 1900s. Much to my surprise what I found next was a very old trunk emblazed with the words Krug’s Bread.

A little research on Krug’s didn’t turn up much so the box turned into a conversation piece for me but not much was known about it. What I did know was that Mrs. Lipps had said the home I bought and the building next door were built by the same person and it had been a store. She also told me the home had been in her family for 99 years and she was very particular about who would be buying it.

Fast forward to now. As I started to write this column, the breadbox came to my mind again and I set out to find who it belonged to.

My childhood friend Myla Hassler Faber was a great-niece to Mrs. Lipps. Myla’s grandmother, Mrs. Lucille Gage, was Fern’s sister and she lived nearby at 107 W. 20th Street. Their sister Alma Hamilton also lived within a block of each, at 1948 Ohio Ave. The three sisters were the daughters of Porter Alley of Milton.

Myla put me in touch with her cousin Jeff Lane of Kicks 96 news, who steered me in the direction of his sister, Michelle Lane Mullins and their mother Judy Lane. That’s when the story got interesting because they had most of the answers I had been looking for.

Dr. A.D. (Alexander Dewitt) Tyrell was born on July 22nd, 1835, in southern New York state. He was a close relative of Dewitt Clinton, mayor of New York City, and was related to the famous Clintons and the Dewitts who were prestigious in the founding of and the early days of our country. The families were very wealthy but, after being educated in medicine and pharmacy, he set out to make his own way and moved to Connersville.

He arrived here in 1864 and was soon considered among the ablest physicians. He served several terms as coroner and county physician. He served in the position Physician of the Poor several times. It seems the county paid the doctor to care for people without the means to pay for their care. It is said that he was very successful in the treatment of typhoid and many ailments of the time.

He even served as sheriff for a time to fill a vacancy.

In 1882 he was married to Lewella Backhouse at her parents’ farmhouse, still standing at 2687 S. State Road 1. Later that year they purchased 33 acres from Anthony Schneider and built a cottage at 206 W. 19th St. He added on to the house and eventually added a second story as it is today.

In 1895, he added a building to house his office, a pharmacy, and a store at 216 W. 19th St. The new store was called Maplewood Fair and he had a hall there called Tyrell Hall. Many political speeches were given there, including Connersville Mayor Findlay Gray giving a speech called “The Filthy Canal.” This was in 1910 when Gray was trying to get the people to support the city investing in new water wells and and abandoning the canal as a water source. No doubt this interested the doctor greatly as there were many ill from the effects of drinking the unsanitary water.

He continued business there until 1919 when the store changed hands and became the Sanitary Meat Market. By this time, Elsie, the daughter of A.D. and Lewella, had married Roy Lipps. Their son Guilford had arrived in 1908. Roy was a baker in his father’s business downtown and drove the baker’s wagon.

An interesting side note: Roy played the cornet. At some point he tired of honking the tin horn to announce his deliveries and decided to play a cornet solo for each housewife at each stop. This caused a huge increase in business for the Lipps Bakery. As a bonus, the women would come out to the wagon and almost always make a purchase. This was so popular an idea that other local businessmen tried adding vaudeville to their deliveries.

Dr. A.D. Tyrell lived until July 13, 1925, and Lewella until 1930. The home passed to Elsie Lipps their daughter. Elsie shared the house with Guilford and Fern after their marriage on Christmas day 1931. When Elsie passed in 1961, she left the home to Guilford and Fern, who lived there with their daughter Judy until after Guilford’s death in 1987. Fern sold the house to me in 1994.

As I said, this story started with a breadbox. It must be presumed that the box sat on the sidewalk in front of the store to accept the overnight bakery deliveries from Krug’s. The box likely was covered by material after the Tyrell Store closed in the mid-1910s.

This is my fascination with small town living. A neighborhood boy, familiar with all the characters and landmarks in the story, later buys the home and inherits the breadbox that inspires the story of one of Connersville’s early pioneer doctors to be remembered. What a glorious place we call home.

Credit given to Myla Faber, Judy Lane and especially Michelle Lane Mullins for their time and research for this article. Brad Colter writes this column for the Connersville News-Examiner. He is superintendent at Connersville Utilities.