Memories Shared by Hoyt Pearson !
Reflections of life in Semmes as told by Hoyt Pearson at Semmes Heritage Park
The first General Store in Semmes was owned by Charles McCrary. The McCrary’s homesteaded in Semmes in the 1800’s. (Check out previous blogs for McCrary Family History) The name of the store was changed to Pearson General Merchandise when it was bought by C. K. Pearson. In the store at the time of purchase from Mr. McCrary was a large cast iron safe. The safe had small drawers in it and citizens knew to make use of these small drawers, as a bank, to place money in for safe keeping. This would have been the first bank in Semmes.
Pearson General Merchandise Store sold salt pork, sugar, flour, syrup, nails, shoes, socks, hats, men’s work clothes, women’s dresses, undergarments, panties, slips, tools. We would compare it today to Wal-Mart. You could get credit at the store.
Some important advice given to Hoyt by his father, concerning the operation of the store, “son save your pennies and the dollars will take care of your store.”
The bench in the front of the store was a place to sit and visit a spell. For Entertainment on Saturday night, folks would gather at the bench and play music, sing and visit.
Pop Smith had a rolling store called Buddy’s Rolling Store. The rolling store had dry goods, clothing, food, candy, knick knacks and animal feed. Cows Feed and chicken feed, flour, was sold in printed sacks. The girls in the family would line up with their mothers to pick out printed pattern sacks which would later become dresses. The rolling store had a set route and day to come, so you knew when to look for it.
The ice man came around and sold 25 pound and 50 pound blocks of ice that were wrapped in a blankets.
Hoyt, Clausell Blackwell and Gene Christopher were good friends who were always running around together. One Homecoming at Semmes First Baptist, Clausell and Gene went up in the attic and fell thru the ceiling. Hoyt said, “I was not involved but I got a whipping too because we were usually always together.”
Personal Notes: Jeanette Lyles Byrd
One of my fondest memories was running down to the road to wait for the rolling store to purchase penny candy.
Electricity was not available, until around 1949, everyone had an ice box and ice delivery was very important. There was a Crystal Ice and Coal Company somewhere around the “Loop in Mobile” that delivered ice and coal.
The picture is a print of a painting that I painted from a snapshot. The store was located at the corner of McCrary Rd. and Highway 98.
Preserving our History