Oscar Allen Dentzer (1875-1940), Grocer

John Dick Dentzer and Sarah Jane Dentzer gave birth to Oscar Allen Dentzer on February 4, 1875 in Forest City, Illinois.  The family migrated to Dickinson County, Kansas by 1880, when the family was living on 161 acres in the Newbern Township (SW, 5-14-2) about 4 miles south of Abilene.  Oscar grew up on the farm and attended Abilene schools.  He enjoyed baseball and at one time was captain of the Newbern Nestlings baseball team.

When Oscar was 16 years of age, he began working for J. B. Case & Company and was the supervisor of their grocery department.  The J. B. Case Company occupied four store fronts (206-208-210-212) on the west side of the 200 block of N. Broadway Street.  The grocery department occupied 208 N. Broadway (currently occupied by Abilene Chiropractic and Sports Rehab).  As the grocery supervisor of one of the leading retailers in Abilene for nearly 20 years, Oscar became proficient in all aspects of the grocery business and often traveled great distances to buy product.

Dentzer Grocery Store Location

208 N. Broadway Grocery Store prior to Oscar Dentzer Purchasing the Business

On November 27, 1901, Oscar married Miss Dollie H. Hudson, daughter of John and Mary Hudson.  The wedding was held at the home of her mother at 422 N. Broadway Street with the Rev. Fuller Bergstresser performing the ceremony.  Dollie worked for the Independent Telephone Company and was the first local exchange operator for this company in Abilene.  The new couple first lived on SE. 2nd Street, but a couple years later moved to 217 E. 1st Street.  Their daughter, Phyllis A. Dentzer (Lanning) was born in 1914.

DCN 1-23-1913

Dickinson County News – January 23, 1913

J. B. Case & Company made some significant changes in 1911 when they closed out their clothing and shoe departments and sold the grocery department to Oscar. The grocery remained at 208 N. Broadway and was named O. A. Dentzer Grocery Store. Among his employees were his brother, Walter H. Dentzer, Judson Stowits, Leta Zollett, and Calvin Chestnut.

Oscar was an active member of the community and took on leadership roles in a number of organizations.  He served as President of the Abilene Business Men’s Association (1917); President of the Commercial Club (1922); and President of the Abilene Rotary Club (1923).  Oscar was a contributor to the subscription for the construction of the Memorial Hospital in Abilene.  He was also appointed by the Dickinson County Commissioners as acting Food Administrator for Dickinson County during the brief absence of C. A. Case in 1918.  The Dentzer’s were members of the Trinity Lutheran Church.

During the spring of 1916, the family built the bungalow addressed 101 NW. 10th Street, which they moved into in August.  They would stay in the home until the middle 1920’s, when they purchased a rural property just west of Abilene in Grant Township.  Oscar also sold the grocery business and devoted himself to operating a small dairy.

Oscar died on December 10, 1940.  His funeral was at the Eicholtz Funeral Chapel.  Following Oscar’s death, Dollie moved back to town (509 NW. 5th) and worked as a personal nurse.  Dollie died on June 14, 1959 at the Abilene Memorial Hospital.  Her funeral was at the Rasher-Martin Funeral Home in Abilene.  They are buried in the Abilene Cemetery.

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About James D. Holland

I'm a former local government planner turned real estate agent turned safety manager turned Chamber of Commerce Director, turned marketing sales representative... phew. I enjoy writing about Abilene's history, businesses, events, politics, and anything else that interests me.
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2 Responses to Oscar Allen Dentzer (1875-1940), Grocer

  1. Ronald Britt says:

    Thanks again James. Always interesting to learn more about the early Pioneers in Abilene. Keep them coming.

  2. Pingback: Dr. Charles Frederick Attwood (1882-1945), Physician and Surgeon | Plains Trader Chronicle

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