Findlay's Grocery Store History: WP Snow, Clover Farm Stores, David Kirk Sons

Clover and Snow

Came across this W.P. SNOW / 325 NORTH MAIN ST. trade token that was listed as being from Findlay, Ohio. Couldn't find out anything about Mr. W.P.Snow, other than to confirm that he did indeed have a confectionery and grocery store at that location in the late 1920's.

The location itself turned up some interesting Findlay grocery store history.

Snow's store became a Clover Farm Stores.

325 Main St. was located in the "Goodman Block". The building was damaged, then rebuilt in 1927. It was then called the "Jackson Block", and the grocery store gets new owner with new store name, "Gohlke's".

Clover and Kirk

The Clover brand history in Findlay also connects with DAVID KIRK who owned Eagle Mills and Kirk Groceries which became affiliated with the Clover Farm Stores chain.

See the many photos for details (click to enlarge and read). A bio of Kirk follows the photos.

DAVID KIRK, SR. (1849-1922), a man whose character and achievement were molded on a noble Beak, was long numbered among the most prominent and influential citizens of Findlay, the metropolis and judicial center of Hancock County, and he did much to further the civic, industrial and commercial advancement of this fine Ohio city. Trusted and honored by all, this sterling citizen continued his active association with business affairs at Findlay until the time of his death, which occurred on the 11th of December, 1922.

Mr. Kirk was born in Dunfermline, Fifeshire, Scotland, May 5, 1849, a son of James and Margaret (Swan) Kirk, he having been but three years of age at the time of his mother 's death. James Kirk was born in the year 1803 and passed his entire life in Scotland, where his death occurred in 1879. 

He abandoned farm work when fifteen years of age and entered upon an apprenticeship to the miller 's trade in the City of Dunfermline. He there continued until he was about eighteen years old, and thereafter he followed his trade in the City of Glasgow until 1869, when, at the age of twenty years, he landed in the port of New York City, and within a short time obtained employment with a construction company that was engaged in building a tunnel in the Alleghany Mountains. After being thus employed three months he passed an interval in the City of Buffalo, New York, and then came to Akron, Ohio, which was then a mere village. There he was employed during the ensuing ten years, and with characteristic Scottish thrift and good judgment he saved his earnings during this period and thus had appreciable financial fortification when,

in 1879, he purchased an interest in the Eagle Roller Mills at Findlay, in the operation of which he became associated with W. W. McConnell, under the firm name of McConnell & Kirk

The firm successfully operated the mills, which then had the old-time buhr equipment, and, keeping in touch with modern ideas, the establishment in 1882 was thoroughly equipped with the roller process, this having been the first roller mill in Northwest Ohio.
In 1885 the firm was dissolved, Mr. Kirk purchasing his partner 's interest, and in 1890, to meet increasing demands, he enlarged the manufacturing plant by adding to the building and doubling the output capacity of the plant. Mr. Kirk continued to operate the Eagle Mills, with unqualified success, until the time of his death, and maintained all products at the best modern standard.

In 1887 Mr. Kirk purchased the plant and business of the Findlay Baking Company, and this enterprise likewise he continued successfully until the same was sold to the United States Biscuit Company in 1891. 

A few years later the property became a part of the newly incorporated National Biscuit Company, and Mr. Kirk became one of the charter members of this great corporation. 

His initiative and business progressiveness found further expression in 1895 when he became associated with S. F. Evans as a member of the wholesale grocery firm of S. F. Evans & Company, he having assumed full control of the business upon the death of Mr. Evans in 1899, and having reorganized the same under the corporate title of David Kirk, Sons & Company, which is still retained, he having continued president of the company until his death and his progressive policies having been potent in developing the business from small proportions until the concern is now the largest inland wholesale grocery house in Northwestern Ohio.

BECOMES A BANKER -- In 1915 Mr. Kirk became vice president of the First National Bank of Findlay, this being the oldest national bank in Ohio, and he retained this office until his death. In September, 1922, he directed the movement which resulted in the consolidation of the First National and the American National banks of Findlay, but his death occurred before the important merger was definitely consummated.

At the time of the funeral of Mr. Kirk banks and other business houses at Findlay suspended business during the obsequies as a token of respect and honor to the deceased. From the columns of a local paper, is taken, with minor changes, the following estimate, published at the time of the death of Mr. Kirk. "He was a notable citizen of Findlay, came here from Akron and entered the milling business, and he so conducted his business affairs that he was held in high esteem by all who knew him.. He was strictly a business man, and was so recognized by all who knew him. So well did he conduct his business that people often sought his advice in connection with their business affairs. His word was his bond, and he was so respected. He was a devoted husband, a kind father and a loyal neighbor and friend. He journeyed with honor along life 's pathway, and so lived that when the final summons came he was ready."

February 28, 1872, recorded the marriage of Mr. Kirk and Miss Margaret Whyte, of Loch Galey, Fife-shire, Scotland, and her death occurred at Findlay, Ohio, August 12, 1884. Concerning the children of this union the following brief record is given: James S. died in 1890; Robert W. resides at Findlay; Minnie W. is the wife of A. 0. Stuart, of Youngstown; Maggie died in 1893; David, Jr., resides at Findlay, and with his older brother, is one of the principals of David Kirk Sons & Company; Bessie B. died in infancy, in 1884. In 1885 was solemnized the marriage of Mr. Kirk and Miss Mary Mathison, of Airdrie, Scotland, and she continues to maintain her home at Findlay. The children of this marriage are six in number: Charles T. is associated with the business developed by his father, the Eagle Roller Mills; Isabell is the wife of H. L. Spitler, Cleveland, Ohio; Jeannie is the wife of H. H. Robinson, of Detroit, Michigan; Hazel M. is the wife of B. F. Stephenson, of that city; Ellen M., is the wife of H. J. Denier, and they likewise reside in Detroit; and Harry resides at Findlay. [Source link]

David Kirk, Sr. died in 1922. [Source link]

In 1935, Notre Dame beat Ohio State in the big football game, and David Kirk, Jr. was there, and suffered a fatal heart attack. [Source link.]

Then the company was run by Robert Kirk, then by David Kirk (the 3rd).

See David Kirk family photos on

Kirk heiress Peggy Kirk Bell became a famous golfer. [Source link #1][Source link #2.]

More Grocery Store history:

Interesting article about the history of grocery stores, from early Mom-and-Pop stores to modern mega-stores, in Springfiel, IL, which can stand in for Anytown, USA.  Discusses Clover Farms Stores too. --

To learn more about the fascinating history of the grocery store read: The American Grocery Store: The Business Evolution of an Architectural Space by James Mayo --
Findlay Antique Bottle Club
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