Down Memory Lane with Scotty Rhodes
The membership and guest of the Timpson Area Genealogy and Heritage Society (TAGHS) were astounded, entertained and informed by Scotty Rhodes as he shared his remarkable photographic memory of the people, places and things he recalls from the days of his childhood in Timpson and the surrounding area. Going street by street, Scotty recalled the businesses where people gathered and shopped, as well as the people who ran the business.
For the first sixty-seven years of Scotty’s life he lived in a nine bedroom family home built in 1894, with fourteen foot ceilings in the suburb communities of Huber and Prospect.
Area residents could do their shopping at four country stores. The Buena Vista store was operated by Ms. Lizzy Ramsey and her five children. Tramell Childs ran Childs store. The Huber Store was the equivalent of the modern day Wal-Mart and stocked for one-stop shopping. Scotty looked forward to going to the Fitts store with his grandma as the store gave patrons a thank-you gift for shopping with them. He got to pick the gift and always chose a bottle of Grapette soda water.
A total of twenty-three county stores provided goods to the Timpson area. These included Arcadia, Stockman, Claudie Milburn’s store, Clevie Cantrell’s store, Corinth, John Brown Store, Worsham’s store on SH 84, Ebin and Bob Towns store, Green’s store at BoBo, Corry’s at Weaver, Herndon’s at Georgetown, Bud Herrin, George Herndon, and Jesse Bryce at the Bryce Community. Scotty’s Uncle Grady Rhodes had a store on highway 87 and his Uncle Buford Crump had a store at Silas which was later run by K.W. Decker. His uncle Otis Rhodes didn’t own a store but he lived just beyond Uncle Buford and raised and sold peas and other produce. People would stop at Uncle Buford’s store and buy summer sausage and red rind cheese then drive on down to Uncle Otis’ for their vegetables.
Fat’s Tackle Box was out on Hwy 59 and owned by “Fat’s” Hudson. You could buy tackle, groceries and gasoline. Mr. and Mrs. Milford and their son Johnny lived next door. Johnny owned a motorcycle or scooter that he used for transportation around town.
Scotty’s dad store, located next to the Young’s Cafe, offered a full range of goods. Gas was $.22/gallon. Boles and Martin (B & M Enterprise) out of Mt. Enterprise serviced the filling station. The McWilliams family had a home in Timpson and Lafayette, Louisiana. They owned a big, beautiful 1955 Buick automobile. On Sunday afternoon they would come in and fill their gas tank, which created a big sell for the store at about $2.25. Scotty’s mother’s favorite item was the Pride of Illinois corn that the store sold by the case.
Scotty remembers his dad’s love and interest in the young people of Timpson A washer pit was set up outside the store so the kids had a place to pitch washers. Refreshing bottled soda water was kept in a box of cold water outside the store and could be purchased for $.06/bottle. On any day, you might find George Duke, Scooter Young, Dave Taylor, John Tyson, Mr. Bluch Hays and others pitching washers there. Scooter idolized Scotty’s dad. The Youngs always said, if they couldn’t’ find Scooter, they just had to find Scotty’s dad and Scooter would be with him.
On Friday and Saturday evening, Wilson and Cherry Cozart would walk to the store and ride to town with Scotty’s dad to enjoy the Timpson night life.
In July 2011, Scotty encountered “Dr. Detroit” and “The Mystery Woman” (Calvin Smith Jr and Christi Broadway Smith) in the hardware store. Calvin lamented that there were only two cars on Front Street. Scotty stated that he could remember when the street was covered with cars and when every building was occupied and who they were occupied by. Calvin said, ”Well Big (Scotty), why don’t you document that?” Sometime later, Scotty mentioned it to his cousin, Imogene Pierce and she suggested that they combine their memories to do just that.
On the front street of Timpson there was the Eat a Bite Café and the Timpson Taxi Service run by Glenn Pierce. Next to them Mr. Edmond Hebert had an insurance agency. Sarah Smith and Arthur Horton worked for him. Arthur went into business for himself later. Johnny Crump and Bob Adams had barber shops. In later years Waymon and Ileta and her husband owned a beauty shop. The McDavids had a drug store. Scotty vividly recalls the beautiful ‘53 model white over green Pontiac car that Mrs. McDavid drove. The McDavid’s home was where the current Quick Stop is located. It disappointed Scotty that he was too young to mow their beautiful yard which had frog ponds, fish ponds and flowers tucked here and there. Aunt Clara Stilly lived the home in later years and Scotty had grown enough to tend the lawn by then.
The Stilly girls, Bonnie and Evelyn married Gus Trammel and George Grainger. They owned Trammel and Grainger. After both of their husbands died, Evelyn married Zed Wooten who, as a hobby, built surreys, buckboards and stage coaches. His work was renowned and was featured in the Houston Chronicle at one time.
The East family owned a grocery store. Green’s Ready to Wear offered just about anything you wanted to buy. At Bussy’s Drug store on hot afternoons, one could sit on a stool at a circular glass topped table and Ruth Porterfield would fix you an ice cream cone or a bowl of ice cream. Glamorous ladies worked in the cosmetic department there. The home of the Webbs, who owned Webb’s Auto, was located on the present day parking lot of the Messiah Church.
McElroy’s, owned by Bo and Ruth McElroy, was next to the beautiful Cotton Belt State Bank. Next door was a not-for-profit domino hall. Members paid dues which paid the light light and water bills.
On the back side of Front Street right on the corner, Ms. Gordon Weaver had a grocery store. The Weavers lived in the blue house by the school.
Before the post office moved, the old post office had a wood floor was located on the back of Front Street.
On the very back street there was a photo shop. Sid Connel ran a grocery store. The Riddlehoover family had the shoe shop which was later owned by Charles Hughes. There was a jewelry store. J. D. Nelson owned the plumbing supply store and Sam Malloy had the cleaners shop
John and Adelle Winberry owned the “hot spot” Fox Theater. One could spend less than $1 to gain admission to the matinee movie, have a cold soda pop and popcorn.
Scotty’s Uncle Harve and Aunt Sophie Malloy owned the Rock Shack Café. It was a treat to come to the café on Saturday night and have a bowl of their wonderful chili. There were fourteen members in that family which establishes a kinship of Scotty to most everyone in Shelby County
The Paramore family ran a grocery store on the street and Nute Summers ran the hardware store at the very corner.
On the side street, there was a building that housed a grocery store operated first by J. W. Willis and later by Ben Bearden who introduced Timpson to the first rotisserie chicken.
A Sunday treat was to have lunch at Emmet Shepherd’s Café and have some of the lemon or banana icebox pie made by one of Emmet’s sons David or Steve.
Before the move to their current location, the city offices were located on the side street and Grace Hooper was City Secretary.
The ladies of Timpson purchased their Sunday hats from Nellie Keeling’s Hat Shop.
The Palace Theater was among the buildings on the side street as well as Blankenship’s Department Store where you could buy anything from groceries to clothes. Jewel and Lucille Baker clerked in the store.
Scotty recalls that Mr. Blankenship would give him a $1 check for his birthday and Christmas. He thought those checks were the most valuable things ever.
Burns Dry Good was located between Dent’s 5ȼ & 10ȼ store and Mack’s 5ȼ & 10ȼ store.
At the very end of the side street was Travis Billingsley’s grocery store. Travis ran the store until his retirement. His daughter Elaine and her husband Don Amos took the store over and moved it to where the current Ace Hardware is located. They operated it for many years then sold it to Stanley Amos and Michael Johnson. These men saw the opportunity for progress and purchased the land from Paul Bailey where the current Brookshire’s. Eventually they sold the store to Brookshires. Thanks to the forward thinking of these Timpson business men, we now have a fully stocked grocery store where we can shop locally for our grocery needs.
Champion Milling Co. and the telephone company were located in that area. Some of the telephone operators were Gladys Barnes, Bernice Towns, Mary Lee Witcher and Maggie Frazier. The lineman was Jim Cozart. The building was later occupied by Quick Clean Laundry owned by Forest Broadway who recognized a need for a business where people could do their own laundry when they didn’t have the equipment at home.
Dr. Brigg’s office was where Callie’s Beauty Shop is currently located.
Across from the Masonic Lodge there was the dentist office of Dr. Wilford Whiteside. On the other side of the street, Lee Parmey had a feed store that was later owned by John Henry Raines.
The Joy Theater was in that area as well. It was open on Sunday and one could stop and get a “healthy” sack of popcorn for 15 ȼ after church on Sunday evening.
Taylor Hardware, now owned by Jerry Woods, was in that area.
The Timpson Times newspaper was owned by Syl Winfrey and Tom Malloy. Mr. Winfrey was never seen in anything except a white shirt and bow tie. Mr. Malloy always had a pipe in his mouth. The local paper has had various owners including the Milners, Luna Bell, Tracy Broadway, Mr. Reeh, Hilda Pena and now Chad Pate.
Next to the paper was Lee Brothers Dry Good store, then Wallace Cleaners owned by Mrs. Vernon Wallace.
A grocery store was next to the cleaners. It had various owners over the years including Bevie Lee Bolin, Claude Ryder and Royce Crawford.
The Bailey Cleaners was next to the grocery store. The Bailey grandchildren, Tad, Patricia, Barry and Hal, still live in the Timpson area.
There was an appliance store run by Charles Hairgrove then Leon Metteauer.
Brinson’s Ready to Wear offered everything from overalls to Mama’s classy Sunday dresses. You could get just about anything you needed to dress up for any occasion.
The next building was the Blair Building, then Rose Motors and Bogard Feed and Seed Store. Mr. Bogard also offered bookeeping and services.
There was a Studebaker dealership for a short period.
On Railroad Ave., the Locker Plant operated under several owners including Walter Simons, Lum Edwards and Wayne Oliver.
The Walters family owned J.B. Walters Auto Supply. Mrs. Walters drove a 1952 Pontiac two-door hardtop, bright green and white automobile, a classy car in that day.
An upholstery shop, a funeral home and Murry Moore’s garage operated in that area as well.
The Blankenship hotel offered one hundred rooms, a large ball room and a beauty shop. Railroad travelers would stop there on their way through Timpson and get a room. Mr. Blankenship lived there in one of the rooms.
Having been raised in a house with two grandmothers and his parents, Scotty became accustomed to having all of the cakes, pies, cookies and candy made by his grandmothers. They often took food to share with Mr. Blankenship who was a sweet little man.
The Blankenships’ four children were Gus, Myra, Ila Mae and Ruth. Gus enjoyed drinks with “spirit”, which were not available in Timpson. Gus would ride the train to Longview several days each week and purchase “a package” then ride the train back to Timpson.
During Scotty’s high school years, the Blankenship Hotel was purchased by a man from Mexia, Texas just for the bricks. The hotel, along with the old train depot, are treasures lost to the area.
Wallace Christensen’s mama and daddy owned a two story building near the hotel. They operated a grocery store downstairs and the family lived upstairs.
Back in those days, men and boys wore white shirts, a suit and a tie to church, even on the hottest of days with no air conditioning. Vivian Hooper operated a laundry where everyone went to get those white shirts washed, starched and ironed.
Bailey and Inez Ramsey lived in an apartment next to the laundry.
Mr. Willis had a television repair shop to serve anyone who was lucky enough to have a television.
Robert Crawford had a store on the site where the trailer park is.
The jail was located where the current fireworks store is. Ed Hooper was the City Marshall. He would put you in the jail but he wouldn’t lock the door. He was a big man and everyone knew they better be there when he came back.
The Light Plant was down by the jail, as was the Clark and Tyre Box Factory.
Dewey McClung owned a Gulf Distributorship near there and Forrest King owned the Sinclair Distributorship.
A two story rooming house and café was located where the current Texas State Bank is located.
Timpson had two cotton gins that were owned by L.D. McWilliams and Sam Smith.
Three tomato shed provided a place for farmers to sell their crops and provided jobs for many of the young people in the area. As a youngster, Scotty would ride in the truck with his daddy to deliver tomatoes to the sheds. While the truck sat in line awaiting its turn to be unloaded, Scotty’s daddy would go off to talk with the other farmers. When it came time to inch the truck up, Scotty was thrilled to be charged with the responsibility. To teach him work ethics and financial responsibility, when he was deemed old enough his daddy gave Scotty three rows of tomatoes to work, pick and sell at the tomato shed, Scotty got to keep the earned money.
At one time Timpson had a race track and fairgrounds on U.S. 84 near the intersection with U.S. 59.
A two story hospital, owned by Mrs. Frank Whiteside, was located behind the Methodist Church. It burned to the ground when a fire was caused by a patient smoking in bed. Mrs. Whiteside lived in a garage apartment behind the hospital and it was spared by the fire. She was known for collecting whiskey bottles. People who learned of her collection would bring her bottles from all over the world and she had no two alike.
Scotty was born in the Timpson Clinic with Dr. Smith and nurse Clara Brown in attendance. Doctors who followed Dr. Smith were Dr. Bussey and Dr. Devine.
Starting at the city limits on old Hwy 59 south, Alvie King had an upholstery shop, later owned by T. J. Whitten. Frank Barnes owns a trailer repair shop there now.
The Smith family owned, operated and lived in a motel near that site.
Corry and Hudson operated a grocery store there as did Cecil Worsham. Cecil moved his grocery store to town. Like the onion rings at Clear Springs, Ollie Ray Barr was the drawing card to Worsham’s business. Ollie Ray was loud and boisterous and everyone enjoyed being included in his conversations.
Glenn Pierce owned a grocery store in the area.
Ferris Wallace and his wife owned a woodworking shop at a location near the entrance to Woodlawn Cemetery.
Sanford Galbreath had a grocery store where the Dollar General is now. It was later owned by Mr. Fletcher.
Cecil’s Welding shop offered any type welding one might need.
Mattie Windham had a gas and grocery store across from the current government housing area.
A grocery store was located where Judy Towns lived.
Albert Holmes operated a garage. He smoked Prince Albert tobacco and displayed all the cans on the walls around his shop.
Eakin Motor Company offered first Pontiac cars then Fords beginning in 1956. If you went in to order a car, they had little model cars that you looked at to place your order. Scotty was lucky enough to be given some of those little model car samples.
The Wayside Inn was located where the Assembly of God Church now resides. Upstairs were rooms for rent and food was served downstairs.
In that same area, Larry Bearden had a café, Sam Crump had a Texaco station and Bud Essery had a grocery store. Right on the corner where the Baptist Church parking lot is, Bef Amos, a jolly little man, had a gas station and garage. Just across the street, Ben Barnes had a tractor dealership. When the new highway came through, he moved the business up on the new highway.
The ice plant was in that same area. Back before modern refrigeration, the ice truck made the rounds through town selling blocks of ice that you placed in your refrigerator to keep items cool or to chip for drinks.
Drew Crawford owned an ESSO station which was located where the city offices are now located. Shelby Motor Company, the Chevrolet dealership, was located where the post office now sits. James Towns also operated a Citgo service station there and Velma Mathis had a beauty shop on one end. When the new Hwy 59 opened, the Chevrolet dealership was moved to where the Timpson Clinic now resides.
Robert Billingsley had a Gulf station at the site of the current fire station
Robert Crawford moved his grocery store to where the blinking light is. This was later owned by John Amos, then Howard Bass.
Across the street, in a building that still stands, was Ross Graves had a Texaco. On the corner where the T.I.S.D. Administration Building now stands was a frame grocery store which sold sandwiches and and soft drinks to students from the adjacent Timpson school. It was operated by the Turners and, later, Red Peters.
Where was the action on Friday and Saturday nights in Timpson? Mack’s Malts! Hamburgers were 5/$1 and fries were 10 ȼ. $1 in the juke box played enough tunes to last until closing. Besides providing a meeting place for Timpson teens, Mack’s provided jobs for some of the high school students.
Where the middle school is now, Lucille Crump had a grocery store/gas station. She had a garage apartment and a room that she rented to the band director, Mr. Goff. John Rhodes had a little grocery store just past where the funeral home is now.
Although these places are mostly gone now, anyone who was in attendance at the August TAGHS meeting can attest that as long as Scotty Rhodes is around, they are not forgotten!
The Timpson Area Genealogy and Heritage Society meets at 2PM on the third Wednesday of each month in the Meeting Room of the Timpson Library on the corner of Austin and Bremond Streets.. The public is invited.