The owners have changed, but the name stays the same.

The owners have changed, but the name stays the same.

James Milburn Marquis, commonly referred to as J.M. Marquis, started one of Shawnee’s oldest businesses in 1905 when he opened J.M. Marquis Co. at 218 E. Main Street in downtown Shawnee.

Originally the store sold just about everything under the sun, operating as a second hand store. By 1923, the shop transitioned into a furniture outlet according to the city directory of the time.

The first phone number for Marquis Furniture was a three-digit number, 509.

In 1925, the Shawnee Directory noted that Marquis’ residence was 218 ½, indicating that he had moved from his previous residence at 246 S. Minnesota to above his store, which was home to Shawnee Garment Factory until their relocation to 113-117 N. Bell in 1910.

The Marquis operation was becoming so successful, in 1930 they purchased the adjacent building to the east, expanding their storefront to 216-218 East Main.

With several businesses and residences using a telephone in 1935, Marquis Furniture was assigned 4000 as their new direct line.

Jim Bowles purchased Marquis Furniture from Nina Wilson and Evelyn Gilluby, daughters of J.M. Marquis in 1951. Prior to purchasing Marquis, Bowles was in the oil business. They store had a grand reopening ceremony in 1952 under new ownership.

In the early days of Marquis Furniture, one could purchase refrigerators, ranges, televisions, radios and record players, and during Bowles’ ownership there was a transition to selling furniture and bedding exclusively.

Over the years the Bowles family tried their hand at opening up various other furniture stores in the downtown area, eventually returning their focus to Marquis Furniture exclusively.

Jamie Bowles was diagnosed with cancer in 1979 and passed in the spring of that year. The operation was sold to Gary Baugh. The Baugh family remains the owners of Marquis Furniture to this day, owning Marquis Furniture stores in Enid, Stillwater and Ardmore.

The Baugh family did not return request for comment.