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The stone building at 106 North Third Street was built by brothers James and William Alexander. The Alexander brothers were in the flour milling business. Local history states the mill was built in 1872 but we found it listed at this location on the 1868 tax rolls at a value of $4,000. James’ December 14, 1882 obituary refers to the mill as the “Planet Mills”. Unfortunately, the business failed in 1875. James’ obituary also states “At one time he was quite wealthy, but the fluctuations of the wheat market overtook him and swept the greater part of his hard earned wealth away and left him comparatively a poor man.”

“In 1878 Mr. Samuel Reid began the manufacture of smoking tobacco, and conducted the business alone until 1879, when A. J. McCune and W. N. Tinsley became associated with him under the firm name of Samuel Reid & Co. In 1882 the present company organized as the Sam Reid Tobacco Manufacturing Company, with the following officers: A. J. McCune, president; Fred Dant, of Muscatine, Iowa, vice-president; W. N. Tinsley, secretary; and Samuel Reid, general manager. The above-named parties constitute all the stockholders. In 1881 the company purchased the large stone building known as the Alexander mill, situated on the west side of Third and between Georgia and Tennessee streets, and supplied it with the latest and best machinery for the manufacture of smoking tobacco.

They had capacity for about three thousand pounds per day, and were usually kept running almost to the extent of their capacity in order to supply a large and growing trade.  Their goods had become justly popular, especially the well-known and favorite “Joe Bowers” brand, and they found ready sale in the states of Missouri, Iowa, Kansas, Nebraska, and Texas, while occasional shipments were made to Minnesota, Wisconsin, Colorado, and also to the extreme southern states, as Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, and Georgia. On the night of the 2d of January, 1883, this factory burned, and the company sustained a severe loss, but it is understood that the insurance, $21,500, will be used to supply other machinery, and that in a comparatively short time the factory will again be numbered with the leading industries of the city.” 1

The building was rebuilt and W.F. Suda bought the building for his funeral business. It was eventually moved to 106 N. 3rd Street in 1941. 2

1. The History of Pike County, Missouri. 1883. Des Moines, IA: Mills & Company. P. 652-653.
2.  Allen, Betty Jane., and Martha Sue. Smith. 2012. Louisiana, Missouri. Charleston, SC: Arcadia Pub.
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