The Classic Story of the Levy Bros (3)

A new-old story by June Morrall

Soon the “credit squeeze” was felt by the Levy’s, who as businessmen were vulnerable to the ups and downs of the financial markets.  They had been selling on credit to the farmers who had suffered through a drought and had no crops to sell to pay off their debts.

They could have closed the store but instead young Joe Levy rode to San Francisco to meet with the brusque Daniel T. Murphy [of Murphy & Grant], a dry goods wholesaler. To the more financially successful Murphy, Joe explained he needed an immediate loan or an extension on money owed.

Dan thought about throwing Joe out of his office, until Joe said he was thinking of writing his father in Europe for a loan, where, apparently, the  financial  “panic” had not been felt.

That turned the tide for Joe; When Dan Murphy heard that Joe was willing to ask his family for a loan, he was impressed  enough to give him what he was asking for.

By the end of the 1870s, the financial markets had come back, and with the turnaround, Levy Brothers prospered—so much so that they opened another general store beside a popular saloon on what was then the main road,  this one located in the tiny, beautiful farming community of  San Gregorio. Fatherly Fernand opened the store and was appointed postmaster.

The little community of San Gregorio supported a schoolhouse, a Chinese “washhouse” in the part of “town, ” populated with homemade shacks known as Chinatown.

The Temperance Movement (anti-saloon, anti-alcohol) was alive in San Gregorio where its members attended meetings at Kineer’s Hall.

Part IV coming next

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