Highland News Leader

Sam Jenny Jr. was a top trap shooter and car salesman in Highland

Sept. 19, 1916: “Wick’s Pipe Organ Co., at their board meeting, contemplated increasing their capital stock from $40,000 to $60,000... Leo Seifried and Earl Schwarz completed a model of their invention, called the ‘Pianorgan.’ They were inviting the public to see and hear it, as it would be on display on the second floor of the First National Bank building on Main Street.”

Changing subjects, Anderson Cemetery is in need of a riding mower and a self-propelled mower. Do you have one that you would donated? The Highland Home Art Hall has room for your farm photos, it can be a Centennial photo or your farm family photo. Called Roland Harris at 654-5005.

Now, back to Highland in the early 1900s.

Jan. 30, 1917: “Dr. Louis W. Cohlmeyer, a dentist of Marissa and Nashville, was in Highland to see about getting rooms to establish a dental office here in Highland.”

My files read: “Dr. Cohlmeyer and his wife, Maude, in 1917, did come to Highland, and he rented the former residence of the Schiettinger family at 900 Broadway for his office and home. (The Cohjmeyer story will continue at the end of this column.)

“The Schiettinger Furniture Store building at 906 Broadway had been turned into an automobile agency, where Sam Jenny Jr. was selling Essic and later El-Car automobiles. Sam Jenny Jr. and Orville Streif, in 1915, had established their automobile agency and repair shop at 808 Broadway in what we call the ‘Freight Salvage Store’ building, and others still call it the ‘La France Shoe Polish Company.’ 

(The Highland Home Museum will have a La France Shoe Polish metal shoe polish kit with shoe rest. I was told that, during a promotion, that if you bought four cans of their shoe polish and two shoe shine brushes, they gave you this metal shoe polish kit as a Christmas gift.)

“Then in 1921, Duane Tibbetts purchased this Schiettinger residence and the former Schiettinger furniture store building on Broadway… He remodeled the old store, making a complete store building of Stocker concrete blocks, manufactured by Stocker Concrete Construction of Highland. They also added a large warehouse, with an elevator from basement to second floor, and an entire new second floor. In 1922, Burns Duane Tibbetts, Alice Koch, Newton Wildi and Orville Koch opened Tibbetts & Co. at 906 Broadway. (Roland Harris Furniture and Harris Chapel followed in 1953. Then came Duvardo’s Furniture, Bruegge Furniture and today Jane Mannion Dance Studio.) Tibbetts & Co. had furniture and floor coverings on the first floor and on the west and north area of the second floor. The southeast part of the second floor was the undertaking area, with a visitation room, office and casket display. In 1936, the east part of the first floor of the store was changed into Tibbetts Chapel, with two visitation rooms, then casket display room and embalming room to the rear.”

Now back to 1917.

“Sam Jenny Jr. kept selling automobiles. His feats included of bringing in trainloads of El-Cars, lining them up around the Square and selling them in a day or two. This was at a time when some people were still thinking that maybe the car would never replace the horse.”

“Sam became famous in 1926 as a trap shooter, and by 1927, he became the world champion when he downed 114 clay pigeons (birds) in succession. Sam continued to win championships, and in 1931, he set another record. He won in singles and then won the doubles in a trap shoot in Kansas City. The local newspapers called Sam Jenny Jr. ‘Our Most Distinguished Citizen,’ a title that had been reserved for Louis Latzer, founder of PET Milk. Latzer had died at his residence in 1924. Today, the Highland Historical Society owns this residence, which we call ‘Latzer Homestead,’ located at 1464 Old Trenton Road.

Sam Jenny Jr. (1888-1964) married Anna Hoffman, who went by “Ann” and ran the New Highland Hotel, located above Tschannen’s 5 & 10 Store on Main Street. Today, it’s where the empty lots are on the Square along Main Street, owned by Ralph Korte.

Sam had three children. Evelyn Jenny Goodin later designed for Artex International Inc., at 1405 Walnut in Highland. I have a table cloth from Evelyn, which will be in the Artex display at the Highland Home Museum, thanks to Celeste Weis Jenny. Bruce Jenny married Celeste Weis in 1951. Bruce was the owner of Jenny’s Upholstery at 2768 Troxler Way in Highland, until his death in 1982. Sam Jenny III, a clinical psychologist in southern Illinois, returned to Highland 12 years ago when he married Janet Oberbeck Flamm. (Thanks, Sam III and Celeste.)

I had the privilege taking care of the funeral arrangements for Sam Jenny Jr. in 1964. His obituary read, “From the Roaring ’20s until World War II began, Sam Jenny Jr. made headlines in shoots across the country, from Detroit to Miami, and from coast to coast. “

One sports writer wrote, “Sam was first or tied for first, or runner-up, as Sam held the world’s championship for clay pigeons, so often, it is getting tiresome. Sam had more medals than Charles Lindbergh.”

Sam Jenny Jr. did know Charles Lindberg, as American Sportsman magazine had a testimonial dinner in New York in 1927 for Charles Lindberg, after he flew across the Atlantic Ocean alone. The magazine invited only the top sportsmen in their field, and on this list was Sam Jenny Jr., so he had more than a nodding acquaintance with “Lindy.”

“In 1933, B.D. Tibbetts had the Schiettinger residence at 900 Broadway torn down and built a new beige brick building on that corner and attached it to the furniture store building. Dr. Cohlmeyer then rented the northwest part of the second floor for his dental office. Attorney Frederick L. Habbegger (1902-1964), cousin of Sam Jenny Jr. who graduated from the University of Illinois with his law degree in 1931, rented the northeast part of the second floor for his law office.

“The south part of the second floor was the apartment of Owen ‘Buster’ Brown, who had 900 Broadway as his ‘Brown’s Cafe,’ and I might add, ‘Passion Pit’ teen dance area in the lower level. The east section of the first floor was the stairway to the second floor, plus the small room, at the stairway entrance, was rented by Western Union. They could send money any where.”

Angie Whitner, the daughter of Oscar Whitner, lived to be 104, and was one of the operators at Western Union. Angie later married Orville Heim. Capt. Heim, a World War II pilot, returned from the war and in 1946 purchased an interest in Voegele Studio, calling it Heim-Voegele Studio. Orville was called up again in 1950, during the Korean War, and sold his interest back to Alfred Voegele.

(Quotes from Page 117 in Highland Sesquicentennial book, other quotes from Russell Hoffman’s columns and my files.)