John Jaggy

John Jaggy

jaggyIn the days when John Jaggy’s store was in business, most Vancouver residents were within easy walking distance of all the shops. And the business people resided close to the stores, sometimes even in the same buildings.

The Jaggy’s lived at 11th and Main streets. One resident recalled in later years, “Grandma Jaggy” (Margaret, the wife of John), head wound and massed with white braids, lovingly tending the big plots of lilies of the valley and mammoth violets on the north side of the house.”

John and Margaret, natives of Switzerland, were married in Niagra Falls about the start of 1857, then left on a trip for the West Coast via the Isthmus of Panama. They settled first at Cape Horn, then moved to Skamania County, where Jaggy was in business for several years.

In 1869 Jaggy came to Vancouver and opened a store. He was one of the first members of the volunteer fire department, which fought fires with a hand pump, and served on the city council and school board.

Ads in the ’80s show that Jaggy was buying hides and furs in addition to seeling dry goods. He would deliver goods anywhere in town, and was willing to exchange merchandise for butter, eggs or grain.

Son John Jaggy Jr. was a steamboat captain, mostly involved with ferries. Among the craft he operated were the Vancouver and the Albina No. 2, both running to and from Vancouver. He also served on the Dispatch, a government steamboat.

Another son, J. Henry Jaggy, worked in earlier years in the family store.

The Columbian reported that the opening of the Jaggy home to friends in the summer of 1902 was the major social event of the year.

Jaggy died early in 1913, and his wife a little later the same year.

John Jr. had died in 1907.

J. Henry Jaggy started his own department store about 1898. He disposed of all the stock except shoes about a decade later. His store at 515 Main St. was sometimes advertised as “The House of Good Shoes.” Jaggy continued in the shoe business until July 1922, when he died on a trip to Seaside, Ore. He left a widow and two stepsons.

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