Family business continues decades after Daniel came to FD
13 Oct 2019
It’s entirely possible that Steve Daniel’s grandfather ended up in Fort Dodge by mistake around the turn of the 20th century.
Daniel’s grandfather, Ferris Daniel, immigrated from Lebanon to the United States in the early 1900s.
“He came in through Ellis Island and went on to Oklahoma City,” said Steve Daniel, owner of Daniel Tire. “And for some reason he wanted to be in Iowa.”
More specifically, Ferris Daniel wanted to get to Alta, perhaps for a business opportunity.
But Steve Daniel said his grandfather didn’t know the English language very well at the time.
So somewhere along his journey to the Midwest, one version of the family’s story says that a conductor of a train apparently pointed Ferris Daniel to a train that transported him to Fort Dodge rather than Alta.
And Ferris Daniel stayed.
“I think there was a little happenstance there,” Daniel said. “A little stroke of luck and whatever it was was, he was able to settle in here.”
Once in Fort Dodge, Ferris Daniel started a dry goods business.
“The Lebanese are pretty good at business,” Steve Daniel said. “They just always have been.”
Ferris Daniel sold things like pots, pans and sewing materials off his wagon.
“He went out to the farms and sold stuff,” Steve Daniel said. “That’s how he started. He came in, he didn’t know the language. I still have farmers come in and remember having him spend the night when he was on the road.”
When the fall came, Ferris Daniel would stay put. He sold his goods from a store on South Sixth Street in downtown Fort Dodge, where the DART bus terminal is today.
Eventually, Steve Daniel’s uncle, John Daniel Sr., wanted to sell something else.