The history of what is now known as Ken’s Kash Store is long and full of many moves, and the names of its owners are a who’s who of the settlers of Kamas Valley.
According to Echoes of Yesterday, the building was constructed sometime during the 1890s by a Mr. Watt, in the corner of George L. Myrick’s field (roughly 2075 North State Road 32) in Marion. Thanks to a fire in the National Archives that almost entirely destroyed the 1890 U.S. Census, Mr. Watt is sadly only a name.
Sometime prior to 1900 the building and all the goods related to the store were sold to Jedediah Grant Lambert.
Jedediah (the youngest son of Adelia and John Lambert) had married George Myrick’s daughter Alice Marianne in 1888, so it is possible that he was the builder of the original store at 2075 North State Road 32. Regardless, he ran the general merchandise store for a short time and was committed enough to the success of the enterprise that he “minted” tin coin gift certificates for use by customers.
However, by about 1905, Jedediah had sold the store to a neighbor, Peter Sorensen.
Peter Sorensen was the son of Christianne Nielsdatter, second wife of Jorgen Sorenson, and came to Kamas Valley with his mother some time around 1873. He married Mary Elizabeth Lewis (daughter of Karen Marie Sorensen and Daniel Lewis Sr.) in 1891. The couple built a home at 20 West 2100 North in Marion, and it is to this lot that the store was moved. The store was in operation here for two or three years until Peter and Mary Sorensen moved to Idaho, selling the store to Walter S. Horton.
Walter Serene Horton was a grandson of Edmund Horton and came to live in Oakley with his family around 1880. He married Leonanie (Leona) Seraph Pack (granddaughter of Ruth and John Pack) in 1900. The young couple lived in various places around the valley until Walter got the contract to deliver the mail daily to the various towns from Peoa to Woodland in 1905. This was done with a team and wagon and the roughly forty-mile trip took from 6:00am to 6:00pm each weekday. After two years of this work, Walter and Leona bought a house at 2280 North State Road 32 in and moved the store building near the house. They also ran the Marion post office out of one room of the house. Again, after two or three years, the Horton’s were ready to sell the store and house. They moved to Salt Lake City where they opened a grocery store that operated for about twenty years.
Echoes of Yesterday states that the store was sold to Solen Sorensen, step-brother to Peter Sorensen, and that Solen then sold the store to Norman Lloyd.
While there is no doubt that this is true, it cannot be confirmed through other sources. It is also unclear whether the store was moved at each of these transfers of ownership or if it remained in place each time. Eventually, the building was sold to Cyrus Cole and Maggie White Mitchell.
Maggie was a granddaughter of Adelia Groesbek and John Lambert, and Cyrus was the son of Joseph Smith Mitchell and grandson of Benjamin Trotter Mitchell. They moved the building about two miles north, to roughly 4179 North New Lane Road in Oakley, where Maggie was the store proprietor, but that only lasted a few years. For a while the building sat vacant on the Mitchell property.
In 1935, Robert V. Frazier bought the building and moved it for the final time to its current location at 980 West Center Street. Robert had operated a store for several years across the street where the Oakley Post Office now sits. The relocated store was rechristened the Weber Mercantile and the post office was housed within the store, with Robert Frazier (and later his wife, Agnes) acting as postmaster and postmistress.
The store was enlarged over time and when it came time for Robert to retire in 1947 he sold the store to his son and daughter-in-law, Leo and Roberta Frazier. Agnes stayed on as postmistress until her death in 1959, when Leo was named postmaster.
Leo and Roberta ran the Weber Mercantile until 1971, when they sold it to Ken and Karren Woolstenhulme. They changed the name to Ken’s Kash, the name it retains to this day. Ken and Karren owned the store when in 1985 a new post office was built and the old in-store post office was discontinued.
In the 1990’s the store was sold to Gary Stillman of Peoa, but after a few years, Mr. Stillman sold it back to Ken and Karren. It was sold one final time in 2008 to Larry Devey who still owns it today.
All of the previous owners with the exception of Mr. Stillman have now passed on. If you go in Ken’s Kash today, there isn’t a lot remaining that the old owners would recognize: modernization has happened, remodeling has happened, the passage of time has happened. But if you look up at the ceiling about one third of the distance from the front to the back, you can still see an old beam that runs the length of the building. This marks the back wall of the original building that was moved so many times. Just think of the stories that the old beam could tell – if only it could talk…