Artifact of the Month

National Cash Register
Donated by the Charlotte and Phillip Steele family

National Cash Register, 1905

This cash register belonged to James Cooper Steele, owner of a general store in Elm Springs, Arkansas.

Steele (1864-1916) was the son of Dr. Marion DeKalb Steele and his second wife, Mary E. Deaver. The Steele family settled in Elm Springs in the late 1850s. Dr. Steele practiced medicine there for many years before opening a general store in the early 1870s. The family also owned 40 acres of farmland and several town lots.

James Steele and his brother Albert later took over the family business. James also ran a funeral parlor, was the town's railroad depot agent, and served as Elm Springs postmaster in the early 1890s.

In 1893, James married Sara Ann Hudson of Cassville, Missouri. Their children were Mary LaRue, Beulah, Hattie Marie, and Joseph Marion.

The following notice appeared in the Springdale News on January 13, 1905, just a few weeks before James Cooper Steele purchased his cash register:

Springdale News, Jan. 13, 1905

As was the custom of the National Cash Register Company, they attached a label to the bottom of the cash drawer, recording when and for whom the cash register was made:

National Cash Register certificate, 1905


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