Friday, March 14, 2008

H.F. Maika - Early Chadron Druggist

It's always fun to stumble upon unexpected treasures while scavengering through data in search of genealogical gems.

Such was the case this week, when I was searching on-line at USGenWeb and decided to take a peek at an unidentified Dawes County Nebraska file. For those of you unfamiliar with GenWeb, it consists of volunteers working together to provide Internet web sites for genealogical research in every county and every state of the United States. The Project is non-commercial and fully committed to free access for everyone. If you've never visited their web site, check it out at http://www.usgenweb.org/

My latest serendipitous discovery was a collection of letters pertaining to one of the pioneer families of Dawes County: the Maika clan. Although I'm not certain of the relationships, I vividly remember a pair of Maika children who resided on east 2nd street in Chadron during the 1950s. I also recall my mom and dad occasionally referring to the Maika name, and I somehow learned that an earlier Maika family member had run a drugstore. Alas, where in Chadron that drugstore might have been situated, I don't know; perhaps one of our readers knows and can share that information with us at galey@rushmore.com.

The Chadron Centennial History 1885-1985, published by the Chadron Narrative History Project Committee in 1985, offers little information about the Maika family. However, it does refer to an early day (ca. 1906) Chadron druggist named H.F. Maika, whose establishment apparently carried some of the drugs that were the subject of questionable advertising. Cited was the example: "Easy Labor and Painless Childbirth guaranteed by the use of OSAGE PILLS. Purely vegetable and Perfectly Harmless -- Being compounded from numerous herbs and roots which have been in use among the Osage Indians for years."

If you're researching the Maika family or have an interest in early Dawes County Nebraska, you're sure to enjoy poring through the letters and information contained in this bit of research.

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