Todd's General Store
Todd’s General Store was built around 1819 in Toddsville, New York, by Lemuel and Jehiel Todd. The store was used as a company store for the mills they ran in Toddsville. It also served farmers and craftsmen in the surrounding area. The building was relocated to The Farmers’ Museum in 1944.
Todd's General Store: Connecting Community
Stores in rural upstate New York in the 1800’s were a vital part of the community. They provided farmers and villagers with goods they either could not, or did not, make or grow. Stores often served as the bank for smaller communities that did not have a bank. They were also a popular gathering place where people could get information, as well as trade or sell surplus goods.
Purchases could be made with cash or credit. In the early 1800’s, cash was limited. As a result, most purchases would be made using credit. Customers who made purchases on credit could bring in surplus goods they made or grew to pay on some of the balance they owed. Customers could also work off some of their debt by doing jobs for the shopkeeper. Some of the work they could do might have included cleaning the store and hauling goods.
Rural General Stores and Changing Times
Early on, stores stocked goods that were often manufactured in Europe or the West Indies. Goods such as cloth, glass, gun powder and shot, medicine, and iron tools would be imported from Europe. The West Indies would supply salt, molasses, rum, coffee, and spices. As technology and transportation improved, the inventories in general stores changed. Domestically manufactured goods such as cloth, iron ware, and ceramics replaced imported goods. Shopkeepers would make buying trips to larger communities like Albany and New York City to stock their stores and sell any surplus that their community created.