A History Of Pafford's Store

By Nell Morisette
Camden, Tenn.

Good Morning, it's a beautiful one in Benton County this Friday morning. But did you hear our forecast today? Snow flurries for Saturday.

Thanks to Billie Sandefur Doty and Tim Pafford, along with my memories, this week will be memories of the Pafford Store, later called Pafford Grocery. Louise Pafford also gave me some information about the store. Mr. John Holladay's residence now stands on the property. Its location is 96 Eva Beach Road.

Early in the 1990 era Mr. Lindsey Melton operated a general merchandise store on this property. On July 16, 1923 Mr. William Marshal Pafford bought the "Melton Storehouse," and operated it for a time. Marshal is Billie's grandfather.

Billie still has a calendar that says "W.M. Pafford Store 1924." She remembers being in her grandfather's store one day and he said, "I want you to meet a friend of mine." He was the last Indian in the area and lived in an old shack in the river bottom. She thinks his name was Ben and she can still remember his shirt and denim jeans. The India's wife had recently died.

This was a typical country store with a gasoline pump out front, and an oil tank and kerosene talk in the back. Against the left wall were shelves full of leather shoes, men's hats, dress shirts, straw hats, long johns, socks, wash pans, dish pans, wash boards, yard goods, and kerosene lamps. There were long tables filled with denim jeans, overalls, work shirts, and such. At the front was a handsome spool chest filled with all sizes and colors of thread. Near the center front of the store was a metal box filled with cracked ice and soft drinks. To the right was a candy counter with "all day suckers," jaw breakers - and guess what, old fashioned stick candy, ribbon candy, candy bars, and chewing gum. Behind this was a tall ice box.

There were two more counters in line with the candy counter on which was a large scale and behind were barrels and sacks of flour, sugar, coffee, beans, and hoop cheese. There were some canned food. In those days people raised gardens and canned most of their own fruit and vegetables. Part of the back counter was separated from the store by a divider of stained glass. This was for the medicine such as Black Draught, Cardui, Smith's Cough Drops, Turpentine, Paregoric, Vicks Vapor Rub, and Mentholatum. Also in the store was a black tobacco cutter and metal box for Putnam dyes.

In the back near the wood store were a few coke tables and chairs. Sometimes young men would gather and play music on Saturday nights. Lots of times you could go into the store and find a domino game being played. After a domino game, what could be any better than a thick slice of bologna, crackers, R.C. Cola and a Moon pie? Also near the back door was a huge scale and bags of fee.

There was a second store to the store building, and the Woodmen of the World used to meet there. At some point this time Mr. Frank Boswell and his two adult daughters lived upstairs for a time. Somewhere in this area black wooden coffins were also store.

Elections were held in the side yard under the big oak trees, between the house and store. A glass case was moved out from the store and the ladies filled it with homemade cakes to sell. Ladies from the Methodist Church made homemade iceparentsto sell. A counter was moved from the store for voting an chairs from the house. People still paid the poll tax and I think it was $2.00.

Sometime later Mr. Ben Holland and son Ben Browing operated the store. According to the deed they never bought the building, just the contents. They loaned out so much credit that they had to close.

Tilford (Tip) Pafford bought the contents of the store in 1938 for its indebtness. He borrowed $25.00, went to Jitney Jungle and bought staple food, flour, sugar, coffee, dried beans, etc. This paid off and on March 25, 1941, Tip and wife Louise bought the "Storehouse" from W.M. Pafford, with the help of Tip's partnes "Aunt" May and "Uncle" Frank Pafford.

After Tip bought the store, he installed long rows of Delco batteries in the garage located between the store and house. Then he wired the store and house for the first "electricity" in Eva.

There was a side room where Henly Farrar had a barber shop. Later wheat was stored there. After Tip bought the store, he added rooms and this was their living quarter.

Tip and Louise's son Tim said as a child he heard a thousand conversations, ate, slept, and played there, "his palace," all of hit home. There was the warm coal stove, sacks of flour, sacks of feed for the farm animals. The octagon soap, hurricane lamps, chocolate drops, hoop cheese, Grapette, glass washboards, Hadicol, Nash's Baby Elixor, Eva brand fish, five cent comic books, and kerosene refrigerators.

This was the era of war ration stamps on gas, sugar, and other items. Signs on the front and sides of the store advertised Royal Crown Cola, Coca Cola, Grapette, Old Gold, and Lucky Strike Cigarettes. Tim said another good memory was to crawl out on the roof, look far out to the river (Kentucky Lake), and listen, reminisce, and ream of the future, with not a care in the world.

Aunt May and Uncle Frank Pafford operated the store until the late 1950's.

When the business was sold, the Paffords retained the real estate, selling only the contents including fixtures, furniture, and stock. It changed hands many times.

Billie said she had been on a real nostalgic trip helping me with this article. It brought back some fond childhood memories.

Tim said, "Store, you will live to me forever, and thank you for giving me the happiest days of childhood at Pafford's Grocery."

Thought for the week:

To make the most of your time on earth, always keep Heaven in mind.

Pafford Store Deed


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