Rusk History 1934
Among the carpenters who helped to build early Rusk were Robert Green, John M. Evans, Duncan McEachern and Luther Johnson. Blacksmith shops, so essential in early days, were operated by John Findley, Austin Jones and J. L. Whitescarver. James Cook had, among other business enterprises, a livery stable. William N. Bonner operated a tanyard, another vital factor in the pioneer community.
A number of Rusk business houses deserve especial mention for longevity. The J. J. Mallard general merchandise store, opened in 1864, was continued by his son, T. B. Mallard, as a grocery store until 1930. The Old Corner Drug Store, owned by J. F. Mallard, passed its thirty-ninth birthday before being sold to A. G. Odom in 1920. Doctor E. M. Moseley has been in the drug business over thirty years, A. G. Odom being a partner in the original business. Beginning in the '70s, three generations of Neelys have sold goods in Rusk. The Pryor Machine Shop and Foundry, now operated by Alvin Pryor, has existed more than forty years. The W. H. Wallace Hardware Company dates from 1895.
For more than a quarter of a century the C. & W. Bauer Confectionary and Cafe (south side of the courthouse square) was noted throughout East Texas. Its history even antedates the Bauer name. In the early '50s Casper Renn, an enterprising German who became one of the town's most extensive real estate owners, established a bakery and confectionary on the site. After the Civil War his brother, Benedict Renn, made it famous as a gingerbread and beer parlor. Hops were grown at the rear of the shop and the beer was kept in tubs of cold water. On Christmas Day he kept open house. With the children "Uncle Bennie" was a prime favorite. In 1896, in return for their care during the remainder of his life, he transferred his business to Mrs. Catherine Bauer and her son William, who had some years previously made a small investment in it. When Mother Bauer retired, Mr. and Mrs. William Bauer continued to render the service which had made the cafe famous, until they moved to Colorado in 1923.
In 1853 Andrew Schmeder and his wife Christina opened a store on the west side (Lot 8), which the latter still owned more than a half century later. After being left a widow Mrs. Schmeder married B. Miller. They continued to operate the business under three successive firm names—B. Miller, Miller & Cannon, and Mrs. Christina Miller—until death claimed them both in 1905. Even then the business survived. By their will two long-time employees, W. T. Caver and W. H. Tucker, inherited it. Tucker eventually became the sole owner and continued to operate it until 1932.