Initially, when I began to become active with the Perry County Historical Society, I couldn’t understand why Nellie was a such a beloved local character. I came to the organization as a Civil War enthusiast and naturally my first interest was in Phil Sheridan. I am enjoying getting to know her by the fascinatingly interesting little snippets of history that she left behind. She didn’t have a child of her own, but she certainly left a legacy. Okay, I will admit it..I am officially smitten with Nellie.
Perhaps one of the most interesting facets of Nellie Sheridan is the manner in which she continually challenges 19th century conceptions of appropriate female behavior. There is even evidence to illustrate that her attitude definitely impacted others in the community. Men were irritated and sought after her “plum” job.
Women wanted to be her and followed her example. One such woman, is the wife of Mr. Brehm, the former business partner of T.C. Wilson, who begins to inject tidbits about the firm after the death of Mr. Wilson. While it wasn’t printable, an article in the Somerset Press states, that the firm of Wilson and Brehm will continue as usual. Nellie is taking over the business of her late husband and no further changes will be made.
It is after his death, that we begin to see advertisements for comfortable corsets and even Mrs. Brehm adds informational articles. The two women collaborate and the business thrives for many years. In fact, Nellie now owns the building in which her post office is located (see will) upon the death of her husband. Nellie is postmistress and a leading entrepenur of Somerset.
More importantly, Nellie also demonstrates a sense of pride in her community. The week after her husband died, Nellie gives 2.00 to help fund the pumpkin show in Somerset and another $15.00 from the store. $17.00 is a generous sum during that time.
She and Mary obtain a telephone under the name of Sheridan. Let’s not forget that it was also the enterprising Sheridan spirit which erected the first Civil War Equestrian Statue in Ohio wihtin the village of Somerset. Nellie would have had a grand view of it from her postoffice and from the store. Its no wonder that Nellie often smiled..You go, girl!