Whether the buyer was a business, government entity or individual, determined what and much they purchased from the general store in early Dodge City.
For example, individuals tended to purchase food and sundry items in fairly small quantities. Restaurants purchased much the same but in larger quantities. Outfits which used horses bought literally tons of corn and oats.
This article offers a peek into the life of Beeson and Harris's Long Branch Saloon from May 1879 to March 1881 when they purchased $223.85 ($5,820.10 today) in goods from the Robert M. Wright & Company store.
During this time the saloon bought 23 caddies of matches.
Generally, there were about 200 matches in a box and 24 boxes in a caddy. If this holds true, that would be over 110,000 matches sold in under two years.
Of course matches were the only source of ignition for stoves, lamps and lanterns. And a lot of pipes and cigars were smoked in the Long Branch.
Patrons probably brought their own tobacco, since the only tobacco bought was a single acquisition of cigars.
More surprising was the staggering 1,700 plus lemons Beeson and Harris acquired. Apparently, the cowboys drank a lot of lemonade (spiked?) or some other lemon based drink.
The saloon also bought several bottles of lemon, and other flavors of, extract during this time. Lemons may not have always been available. From January to June 1880 they purchased zero lemons.
To counter all this sourness, they bought a lot of sugar; about 355 pounds, mostly in six or seven pound increments.
In a short period from February through June 1880 they procured nine dozen eggs. Before then, they bought none, and afterwards they bought none as well.
Did they try some new product which included eggs that failed to catch on with their customers?
The ledger shows an occasional purchase of men's clothing. This might been because Beeson and Harris bought clothes for themselves on their R.M. & Wright Co. account or allowed employees to do so.
For the latter, unless the clothes were specifically for work, Beeson and Harris probably required employees to reimburse them.
Once in a while cleaning supplies, lamps and lamp components appear in the ledger.
A dignified and lively place like the Long Branch had to be cleaned and well lit.
Though gambling was illegal in early Dodge City, the Long Branch Saloon acquired decks of playing cards by the dozen.