Delaware County NY Genealogy and History Site
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THE OLD GROCERY STORE
by Mrs. Al Prime, Treadwell
Do you remember the old grocery store
Where the men folk sat in days of yore
Beside the big chunk stove back in the rear
The old time sitters, from far and near?
Once there were four stores in our Treadwell
Not counting the Millinery Store with a bell
That jingled when customers opened the door
To look at felt hats, such as they wore.
Ada Fisher made hats that all looked the same
So her style in trimming didn't bring fame
She's wire a dog-ear of velvet high on one side
And lay half a bird on a brim none too wide.
The Millinery Store we will just pass by
And on to John Knapps, whose father was Sy.
By the way, John's voice would start a tear
When he sang in church, so high and clear.
His store stood by W. Stoddard's tall pine tree
There he sold Bal-Briggen vests and China tea.
Later Dick Hunt bought the Johnny Knapp store
And lived in the rooms on the upper floor.
There was another store, owned by Daniel Munn
Along about the time Grover Cleveland won.
The Post Office stayed there for quite awhile
And stage horses traveled many a mile.
Jackson's store, just below Baptist Hill
Was run by Seymour Jackson, the son of Will.
Another time his cousins, Arch and Romaine
This mercantile business did maintain
The Post Office in that store for many a year,
Then Teddy was President, he never knew fear.
J. E. Oliver was Postmaster until Wilson was elected
Then Port Wheat took it elsewhere, as was expected.
On Roaring Brook corner stood another store
Where many a name had been over the door.
Hand Fields sold tobacco, crackers and cheese
And his long chin whiskers floated out in the breeze.
Farmers in those days sold furkins of butter,
Driving to town with a good horse and cutter,
They'd come in the store to buy boots and shoes
And sit with old cronies hearing the news.
Charlie Warfield would bring a basket of eggs
And shaking the snow from his felt booted legs
He'd whine about not being paid in cash
As he thawed the icicles from his dropping moustache.
Old Charlie in winter wore a high fur cap
The sitters watched him, they didn't nap.
One day he hid an egg under cap out of sight.
'Twas then Chet Treadwell's plan came to light.
Chet said, "Hey Charlie," with a slap on his cap,
Soon the broken egg yolks ran down in his lap
Trickled over his eye-brow and his face wasn't red
As Charlie left the store a hanging his head.
The men in those days were full of their jokes,
Had no high notions, were just plain folks.
All hands turned out to a big barn raising
And the work they did certainly was amazing.
Tommy Niven, The Miller, a true Blue Scot
Would walk to the store every night on the dot.
Joining his neighbors who sat there in line
Trading and visiting, until around nine.
He'd tell tales of Scotland, the land of his birth
How horses over there were much deeper in girth,
And reapers that did twice as much in a day
As our Countrymen, and with far less pay.
By his side Billy Lawson, just shaking with jokes
Who kept the men laughing with little side pokes.
Billy, the Blacksmith, talking over the Election
For the Old Republican Party, he had affection.
Porter Wheat would be there smoking his pipe.
Of the Old Democratic Party he was a type.
He wore a black skull cap on his smooth bald head
And gestured by finger, all that he said.
Grover Cleveland, his idol, he'd argue about
When he and Charlie Murphy politics did spout.
Charlie on this subject would talk much faster
Bill Stoddard, a teamster, came in every night
To talk about John L. Sullivan and "The Fight."
Jim Corbet at that time, was right in his prime
And Little Doc Houck bet more than a dime.
There was Old Doc Houck and Emory, his son
Whom they called Little Doc, (almost everyone).
Little Doc would sit on a keg with the rest
His heavy gold watch chain across a gay vest.
He'd sit all evening, in a game of Rummy,
A short, jolly man, with a fat, round tummy.
He would play the piano and sing a ditty
And some folks thought him very witty.
To the store came Ham Swart and Albert Payne,
Some times Miles Hine with his gold headed cane.
John Herring or Tom Mullally, a ride might beg
Of Royal Prime, who years ago had lost a leg.
There was David Marshall, with hair snowy white
A Civil War veteran, who fought for the right.
Capt. Epps, W. H. Maxfield were Civil War men,
Quite a number of veterans were living then.
Dave, on Memorial Day, chewing white gum
Keeping step to the taps on Maxfields drum,
Lewis B. Strong played a big drum, too
O, they knew Martial music, those Boys in Blue.
Winter nights when men came to the store,
Snow would be drifting, clear to the door,
But they found a warm spot by the big chunk stove
And they made up their minds never to rove.
Free samples on hand of crackers and cheese,
And a pinch of snuff to make you sneeze.
O, those men had good times in days of yore
Just sitting and visiting, in the Old Grocery Store.
This poem was a Bicentennial clipping, paper unknown, probably 1976.
a service of the Delaware County Historical Association located at 46549 State Highway 10, Delhi, NY 13753
Online since 1996 - created and managed by Joyce Riedinger