Huston & Arnold
August 29, 1897: “J. S. Huston of Cripple Creek arrived In Johannesburg a week ago and has decided to locate here. At present he is erecting a store building at the corner of Johannesburg and Rand avenues. When completed it will be opened up with a good stock of groceries by the firm of Huston & Arnold.” – The Herald
John S.Huston was a young man of 18 years of age when he and his partner, a man by the name of Arnold, opened The Village Store in Johannesburg. John was a native of Ohio but came to Johannesburg from Cripple Creek Colorado.
John started in the grocery business but soon branched out to include wood, coal, hay, grain and miners supplies. John stayed in business until he sold his store to C. J. Teagle in February of 1900.
October 18, 1897: “Mrs. J. S. Huston and children of Hope, Kan., arrived last Sunday to join Mr. Huston.” – The Herald
The Kern County Board of Supervisors issued George Clutter a license as a Trader in Johannesburg in the years 1898 and 1899. 3
Kern County Land Company
In March of 1899 the Kern County Land Company bought out George Woods and continued his business. 4
Samuel H. Fairchild
Fairchild came to Randsburg originally where he was a hotelman. By 1900 he had located in Johannesburg and opened a sdtore dealing in provisions. In the 1902 buisness directory he was listed as running a restaurant and market. The fairchild family was a prominent family in Johannesburg both in buisness and socially.
In 1905 Mr. Fairchild was the Postmaster of Johannesburg. Sam and his wife sold out in 1906 and moved to Roswell, New Mexico.
Charles, Clayton, and Edward Teagle were partners in the mercantile business in the Rand Mining District and outlying camps. Charlie came to the area first in 1896, as is evidenced by the filing of a claim on the Fairview Copper mine, which was located in Jan of 1897. Clayton followed Charlie in 1900. Edward does not show up on the Great Register of Voters until 1906, although he is quoted in the book Ballarat, 1897-1917, Facts and Folklore, as saying he came to the area in 1899 for his health. At the time the book was written Ed was 93 years old.
Charley is thought to have first started in business in Garden Springs (Garden City) in 1898 and in February of 1900 he purchased Huston’s store in Johannesburg. The Johannesburg store and the residence of C. J. Teagle were lost to fire in October of 1901.
The store was soon rebuilt and stores at Summit Diggings, Ballarat, The Tanks (Trona), Skidoo and Atolia were to follow.
The Teagle Brothers also had a hotel (The St. Charles), and were involved in a partnership that owned the Randsburg Miner. The Teagle brothers did not confine their capitalistic ventures to the desert but ventured also into the oil business in the San Joaquin Valley and in real estate in Bakersfield. 6
Mrs. C. J. Teagle remained in business in Johannesburg for many years and provided many essential services to this small town.
March 19, 1920: “C. J. TEAGLE ESTATE VALUED AT $10,006. –A half interest in 31,800 shares of stock of the Amber Oil company is given as a $3,180 asset of the estate of Charles J. Teagle, pioneer Johannesburg mining man. The entire estate, consisting of lots, household goods, buildings and merchandise stock at Johannesburg is appraised at $10, 060.47 by A. T. Lightner and Edward Grady. Teagle was one of the original stockholders of the Amber, which was organized during the Midway boom by Supervisor William O. Houser, who was accidentally shot to death in August, 1912. The Amber Company drilled for oil in the Maricopa-Sunset district.” –Bakersfield Californian
H.D. & L.D. Porter
In March of 1897 the Porter Bros. & Weaver of Delano, Calif. took a ten-horse team and hauled eight tons of hay, grain, and Merchandise out to Ballarat where they opened a new store.
It is not clear when they opened their store in Johannesburg; however it is known that they were operating there in 1902. In 1904 a V. H. Porter Jr. was listed in the Great Register of Voters as being a grocery man in Johannesburg, it is thought that this may have been a relative of the Porter Brothers. The firm was listed in the 1905 business directory. In addition to the stores in Johannesburg and Ballarat they were known to have stores in Beatty and Rhyolite Nevada, and possibly in Bullfrog Nevada.
Richard Lingenfelter in his book Death Valley & the Armagosa, A Land of Illusion, relates that the Porter Brothers were not loved by all and that in Ballarat “…. one disgruntled customer of Porter Brothers General Store –rumor said it was George Montgomery– did shake things up by placing a stick of Giant Powder on their window ledge late one night in protest of price gouging markups of as much as 700 percent. Although one wall of the house was blown away, its occupants escaped unscathed and the town promptly returned to its slumber.” 7
Kelly & Price
Kelly and Price who were also running a livery stable in Randsburg were in the hay and grain business in Johannesburg. (See also: Johannesburg Transportation) 8
Curry & Montandon
J. T. Curry who was listed as a miner in 1902 also ran a retail business in Hay, Grain, Wheat and Bran.
He also held a half interest in the firm of Heydlouff & Curry in Randsburg, dealing in oil and fuel. In April of 1904 the Houser Bros. bought out these businesses and Mr. Curry left town to see the St. Louis Fair and find another place to live. His search must not have been to successful at he was back in business again in Johannesburg by January of 1906 and in April of 1906 he was joined in partnership with Louis A. Montandon, who previously had been employed in the Yellow Aster Mine. Louis was 32 years of age in 1906 and was a native of Illinois. 9
An old timer in the desert region, A. Woods was one of the earliest merchants in Johannesburg. His large store and warehouse were located at approximately the southeast corner of Broadway (Hwy. 395.) and Ommpaul St.