Black and White photo of 1900 grocery store
Kilkenney Groceries: Edward W. Kilkenney operated a small mom-and-pop grocery store on West High Street in Mount Vernon from approximately 1903 to 1915. Credit: The Knox Time Collection.

MOUNT VERNON — It’s hard to judge the year in the photograph, but I’m guessing before World War I.

The photo comes from the Knox Time Collection, and it shows people in front of a small grocery store. A small sign on the building itself shows that it was on West High Street in Mount Vernon, and a search of Google Maps turns up an image of the same building (minus the porch) in 2012.

In the comments on the Knox Time Facebook page, observers were at first stumped, because the grocery store does not appear to have lasted into living memory for anyone alive today.

The same building was last photographed by Google Maps in 2012.

Once it was recognized, though, commenter Cynthia Marie said that in more recent years it had operated as an ink cartridge store for a while, and that the proprietors of that operation told her it used to be a grocery store long ago.

This photo proves it.

In May of 2012, when the Google photo was taken, there was a sign on the building suggesting it might have been used as a church at the time, as it said “Apostolic Faith.”

Does anyone know if the building has any commercial use today, or is it mainly being used as a residence?

The woman’s long skirt and high collar suggest to me a date of no later than 1910. The young man on the right has a narrow tie and high collar that could be as early as the 1890s.

Mount Vernon city directories show the store being operated by Edward W. Kilkenney at least as early as 1903, when it is described as offering “Staple and fancy groceries, cigars and tobacco, confectionery.”

Edward Kilkenney was the son of Irish immigrants John and Mary Kilkenney. The family was in Mount Vernon by 1847, when Edward was born.

Though he was young, he evidently served in the Civil War, for his grave marker in the Mount Calvary Cemetery in Mount Vernon is a government-issue veteran’s stone.

Looking up his service record on the 1890 special veterans’ census tells us that he served for over three years and five months, suggesting that he was actually underage when he first entered the Union army, probably no more than fourteen.

He served in Company G of the 42nd Ohio Volunteer Infantry.

The commander of the regiment was one Col. James A. Garfield, later to become a U.S. President. The unit took place in the Siege of Vicksburg, and was mustered out of service in 1864.

Kilkenney married Catherine Long in 1873, but as late as the 1900 census, Edward was making his living as a boilermaker.

He must have wanted to reinvent his life, as it was soon after that when he opened the grocery.

He is presumably one of the gentlemen in the picture. The children seem too young to be Edward and Catherine’s, though they could be grandchildren, or simply children of the neighborhood.

Edward passed away in 1913, suggesting that the grocery remained open for at least a couple of years, apparently under Catherine’s supervision, for it is still listed in city directories as late as 1915.

It likely ceased operations around that time.

What commercial function the building served over the next several decades until the ink cartridge store started, I have no idea. If any readers know more, please let us know.