While the women
were thus busily engaged, the men made furniture and wooden cooking
utensils such as butter bowls, trays, chopping bowls, ladles and spoons,
potato mashers, and rolling pins. These items supplemented the few items
of china, crockery, iron kettles, skillets, and dutch ovens that some
had brought across the plains with them. Families lived mainly by their
own production, and exchanged products with their neighbors. Every home
and farm was a little kingdom to itself.
enterprises sprang up in Centerville, such as grocery stores, a molasses
mill, flour mill, sawmill, blacksmith shops, and a cooperage. There
were also shoemakers, tailors, carpenters and cabinetmakers, wheelwright,
rock masons, nurseries, a meat market, and even a small silkworm operation.
Probably the most important business was the old Centerville Co-op,
built at Main and Center in 1869. When money was scarce, housewives
traded eggs, butter, and other items for store merchandise. In business
for many years, the Co-op finally closed in 1940, and the building has
since been used as a lumberyard, restaurant, and law offices.
The first schoolhouse
was built of logs in 1851. As the community grew, more and finer schools
were built, the older buildings being abandoned, torn down, or converted
to different uses. Today Centerville boasts a large junior high school
and four modern elementary schools.