Buckwalter Lumber Mill Co. used its own currency

By TERESA BLOUNT,

Memories are coming alive. I am thrilled to have received responses from so many people interested in helping to record Union’s history. Additions of business information and personal experiences are vital in making this a successful history.

I received a handwritten letter from Joe Johnson concerning the Buckwalter Lumber Co. brozine coins. It read: “I am a WWII veteran, 1944 Normandy Beaches. I remember when I was about 10 year

s of age when I would ride in a mule drawn wagon with my father around 1930. He raised vegetables and would carry them to Union and go house to house selling those vegetables. I remember the payment from the customers would be the Buckwalter money. He, along with me, would go to the commissary with those brozine coins he had been paid in. 

We lived on the farm located by Chunky Creek on the Little Rock and Decatur Road. We traveled to Union on the road from Chunky Creek to Mount Zion Church on Hwy. 15 and then to Union arriv

ing at Union early morning with vegetables. I am now 97 years of age living in Aldersgate Retirement Assisted Living in Meridian.” 

I have had several people ask what the brozine coin looked like. Included today is a picture of a coin owned by Mary and Benny Ware. This brozine coin, marked Edinburg, was used when Buckwalter Lumber Co. opened a mill in Edinburg in 1933. The brozine coins given in Union read ‘Union, Miss.’

Readers have called in three other employees of Buckwalter Lumber Mill. Mr. B.B. Sadler was a bookkeeper. Rayford Jones of Philadelphia came to work there and rented a room in Boler’s Inn, and Can Nicholson operated the lumber stacker.

I also received additional information about Freeman’s Ben Franklin Store. When Carleton Freeman went to Peoples Bank of Union in 1963, he sold the Ben Franklin Store to J.S. Luke Jr. Luke then sold to George Mars of Philadelphia, who closed the store in 1976. Thanks for the names of these two buyers go to Norma Jean Lowe, who worked for all three men.

I have received two responses from former employees of Freeman’s Variety Store. My aunt Patsy Heflin Vance was 13 years old when she worked for Freeman’s Variety Store.  She worked on Saturdays for $3 a day. Every other week on factory payday, she also worked on Friday afternoon. 

For both days, she earned $5, which she used as her spending money for the next week.  On Friday afternoons, she would ride to town from Beulah Hubbard High School with one of the teachers who lived in Union, many times with Mrs. W.H. (Oneida) Herrington. She also remembers working in the store with Pauline Germany.  

Another faithful employee of Freeman’s store was Barbara Roebuck, who told about taking inventory. Dot Rainer was in charge. When employees came to small items like safety pins or bobby pins that were loose in the bins, not in plastic packages as they are today, they were told to pick up one handful and count the items. Then they picked the remainder in the bins by handfuls and estimated the total number based on the count in the first handful. Two other employees of Freeman’s were Vashti Ishee and Georgia McDill.

Dr. Earl Laird’s first clinic had a short stay in Alexander’s pharmacy, but it stayed much longer in the minds of his patients. Dr. Earl performed his first operation, a tonsillectomy, on Malone Nicholson. Later, he performed one on Angie Laird. Dr. Earl did not want Miss Angie to travel back to her home in Little Rock that day, so he got her a room to spend the night in the home of Jabel and Carrie Shelton, Mack Shelton’s parents.

In 1919, S.A. Pool built a home at 302 Main Street just down the street from his S.A. Pool general merchandise store. Fred Allen Barfoot recalls that Pool’s front yard was “seriously decorated with bird baths and other decorative structures of cement, with sea shells embedded on every surface.” He refreshed a memory for me. I remember as a young girl, walking in front of his house and stopping to look at his cement fish pool.

Thank you all for sharing your memories of early Union with us. I need to make a correction to last week’s article. John and Campbell Alexander came from Jasper County rather Purvis as stated in my article.

Here are the questions for this week:

• When Hugh Kelly retired and his son Perry took over his business, where was it

located?

• When did White’s Hardware close?

• Do you remember where livery stables were located in Union?

If you have additional information or memories to share, send them to me at teresablount26@yahoo.com or 109 Woodhaven Dr., Union, MS 39365, or 601-774-5564.