The Richmond Register

April 3, 2013

Uncle Willie’s store was a popular place

Newby News

By Carol Prewitt
Register Columnist

NEWBY — My husband’s great-great uncle, William Jenkins (Uncle Willie), ran a store in Newby on the corner of Newby Road and Maple Grove Road for many years. It still was operating there when he passed away in 1940 or 41.

Back in the 20s, 30s and 40s, most everything still came in bulk and barrels. Things like crackers, candy and salt fish.

He had two big scales that everything was weighed on according to your need. The scales are still in the family.

He also did some trading for things like animal pelts from possum, pole cat, mink and fox and for chickens and eggs.

If you traded with him, you were given wooden tokens that were then used for groceries or supplies from his store.

On Saturday nights, a dance was conducted upstairs over the store.

According to William “Judge” Lowry, there was live music and a good time had by all.

Then, on Sunday morning, church was conducted in that same space with many of the same people attending both.

In another upstairs area, caskets were stored.

Uncle Willie owned a hearse and a team of horses used in funerals. The driver was a man named Horace Fife.

Horace lived in quarters in a building that also housed the hearse, with the horses kept in a barn nearby, both being on land owned by Uncle Willie.

Ruby Long recently said she remembers when her grandmother, Mary Ella Agee Prewitt, passed away.

Ruby was six years old. She was sitting on her grandmother’s lap in a rocking chair when grandma suddenly fell over and died.

Willie was called on to do the embalming at the house, which was the custom in those days. A wake would have been conducted at home and the hearse used to carry the person to the cemetery.

There is an old hearse from the time period on display at Oldham, Roberts and Powell Funeral Home.

According to Donald Roberts, Burton Roberts bought two old hearses, one from a funeral home in Kirksville and the other was Uncle Willie’s.

One of them was sold to a museum in Tennessee. I’m not sure which is which.

I’m glad so many are enjoying these stories from the past.

Remembering our past grounds us as to who we are today.

I have kept an article I found in a magazine many years ago. It’s titled “You Do Not Have To Be Your Mother.”

It doesn’t mean your mother (or father or uncle or grandparent) was not a good person. It tells us to embrace the good, the thriftiness, strength, humor and resilience.

Learn from the rest and let it go because the only person you are destined to become is the person you decide to be. Great advice.

Dwayne and Brenda Bogie will be celebrating an anniversary on April 7. Dwayne’s parents, Perry and Jean Bogie, will be celebrating 61 years of marriage on the April 11.

Congratulations to both couples.

The Doans will be the featured singers at the Third Saturday Gospel Sing on April 20 at Newby Union Church at 6:30 p.m. Be sure to attend and hear them.

Also, Newby Union Church is looking for donations for a yard sale. If you are doing your spring cleaning and need a new home for your “treasures,” let us know at 625-0355 or 624-2274 and someone will be glad to pick them up.

Hope everyone had a blessed Easter. Please keep in touch. I love hearing from all of you.