Yellow Store Historical & Genealogical Record
“Out in the country, about 12 miles from this city, there is a store which for 126 years has held its trade, despite the disadvantage of its location, by a type of advertising it has followed since long before advertising developed into a science. Its color and the capitalization of that color in its name have made the "Old Yellow Store" a historic landmark throughout Eastern Tennessee. For 126 years, every time this store has been repainted, it has been repainted yellow.
Captain De Wolfe Miller, an old merchant of the place, tells how his grandfather built a raft of logs and floated them down the river with his family to the present site of the Yellow Store. Impressed with the country, he decided to locate, ad entered twenty acres of government land. Soon he made larger entries until he owned a large body of land and the Yellow Store was built.
But in those days, he says, "there were but few things kept in a store. The people tanned the leather, and made their own shoes, and then got the raw cotton, spinning and weaving their own clothes. I was a grown man before I ever wore a suit of "store clothes". In those days the people led the simple life and their wants were nothing compared with what people these days feel they just must have. My grandfather ran a tanyard and a shoemaker was a part of the store force.
My father succeeded his father, and later I came on and took charge of the farm and business. I can remember when we used to haul our merchandise from Baltimore. A wagon train was made up, consisting of half a dozen or a dozen teams, carrying country produce to that city and exchanging it for such commodities as couldn't be had in our country. We paid $6 in silver for every hundred pounds of freight brought back. These wagons were loaded with feathers, beeswax, tallow, hides, beans, dried fruits, ginseng, etc. The wagons would be started, and in a day or two a trusted man would follow on horseback to take care of the caravan and exchange the country products when the market was reached. This man in charge was for many years Wiley Woods, an uncle of Roy Woods, a member of the firm of Woods& Taylor, of Knoxville.
When the old East Tennessee, Virginia and Georgia Railroad came through that, of course, did away with hauling our goods by wagons from Baltimore and we bought many goods in Knoxville as soon as this began to be a jobbing market.
I volunteered in the Confederate Army and fought hard until the close of the Civil War, when in 1868, I began business in the Yellow Store, which had never been vacant since it was built until two years ago, during the war, when the federal forces closed it. It was about the time I began business that the "drummers' as we called them then, started to visit the trade. They rode horseback and carried saddlebags. At first they had nothing but memorandum books, and while urging us to visit their firms would take down a few items. Gradually they got to carrying samples, which continued until now a merchant can stay at home and buy everything he wants, seeing the goods nearly as well as if in the jobber's house." (Rogersville Review 26, November 1936. Sesqui-centennial Edition, short History of Old Yellow Store)
After state Hwy 11 W was completed, circa 1921, the Yellow Store was turned around to face the new highway. We lived on the Old Stage road just west of the Yellow Store on Neil Miller’s farm from 1941 until 1946. My parents, McKinley and Ona Goins, saved a few items from that time period which included my first grade card and my ration stamp book # 876491. Food was rationed and families were supplied with ration stamps during World War 11.
Our family used them and traded at the Yellow Store. My first grade teacher at Magnolia (1944) was Edna Simmons Davidson, the principal was Miss Ethel Hodge, and the Superintendent of Schools was E. A. Cope.
Jim Thurman operated the Yellow Store during this time and I can remember all the stories he told about the history of the old store. He showed us kids several holes in the walls that was caused by gunfire during the Civil War. Most of these were patched with corncobs. I can still see Mr. Thurman smoking his pipe and rocking in his ole rocking chair. He seemed to really like us kids and we trusted him. We took a few eggs from one of mom’s hens and traded them for a pack of Old North State smoking tobacco. Joining me in this event was my brother William, cousin Hugh Arrington, and a neighbor Echol Klepper, son of Orbin who also lived on Neil Millers farm. There was an old spring house down near Sinking Creek in front of the Smith home just below 11 W. This was where we smoked most of that pouch of tobacco. I am sure Jim Thurman was sitting on the porch of the store watching smoke coming from the spring house and probably laughing his head off, because he told our parents and mom grounded us.
At 11:00 AM on April 11,1944 a windstorm swept through this area. Neil Miller remembered the date and time probably because it almost took his life. Neil saw the storm approaching and drove his truck to a field where Jay W. Klepper was working and brought him back to the tool shed. Neil started toward the house but the wind would pick him off the ground, after being tossed in the air twice by this storm he crawled to the back porch when his sister told others in the house there was a man at the back door. Neil was so dirty from the storm they did not recognize him until they drug him inside of the house and he washed his face. My grandpa Harrison and Jay W. Kleeper stayed in the shed and saw all the trouble Neil had getting to the house, grandpa told that a piece of tin from the barn came near Neil’s head. My father McKinley Goins, Orbin Klepper and Jesse Goode crawled in a potato hole near the sheds. This was a large hole Neil dug to keep sweet Potatoes at harvest time which kept them from rotting and freezing during the winter months. I can remember our outhouse passing by the window before I was put in a closet and told to stay there. This storm blew a large cedar tree into the Magnolia School House, but no one was seriously injured.
The Yellow Store survived this 1943 storm and probably several others, but on Saturday night March 5, 1955 a tornado scattered the old store over the hillsides. I thought that was the end of the store except for memories, but I was wrong. Thanks to the Miller family they kept many of the old charge account ledgers, etc. These records have been microfilmed and are available for viewing at H.B. Stamps Memorial Library. They can be viewed in: Yellow Store Journals Volume 1, 1848-1849; Volume II 1850-1857; Volume III 1859-1860; and Yellow Store Ledgers Volume l, 1851-1857; Volume II 1855-1858.
While viewing this microfilm I was surprised at how many of my kinfolks traded at the Yellow Store, plus several foreparents traded with Jacob and his son C. C. (Cornelius Carmack) Miller. Most of my blood related families lived along the Clinch River in 1800's and came by wagons through Looneys Gap to the Yellow Store.
C.C. Miller owner of the Yellow Store joined the confederate Army in 1861 and in July 1865 he was charged with treason:
“State Of Tennessee Hawkins County to the Sheriff of Hawkins County, You are hereby commanded to take the body of C.C. Miller and have him here before the Judge of our Circuit Court, to be held for the County of Hawkins in the Court House at Rogersville, on first Monday after the fourth Monday of September next, to answer a charge of the State exibited against him by presentment for Treason and have you then and there this writ. Witness Wm M. Pifren Clerk of our said court July Special term 1865.”
Hawkins County, Tennessee Circuit Court, July Special Term 1865:
"The Grand Jurors for the County and State aforesaid, having been duly summoned, elected, panneled, sworn and charged, to inquire the body of C.C Miller being an inhabit of, and residing within the limits of the State aforesaid and under the protection of it’s laws, and owing allegiance and fidelity to the State aforesaid, not regarding the duty of his said allegiance, nor having the fear of God in his heart, and being moved and seduced by the instigation of the devil, wickedly and traitorously devising and intending the peace and tranquility of the said state to disturb, and to stir, move excite Insurrection, Rebellion and War against the said State Of Tennessee on the 20th day of July in the year of our Lord, Eighteen Hundred and sixty one with force and arms the county and State aforesaid, falsely, maliciously and traitorously did imagine and intend to raise and levy war insurection and rebellion against the said State Of Tennessee, and in order to fulfill and bring to affect the said traitorous imaginations and intentions of him the said C. C. Miller he the said C.C. Miller afterwards to-wit: On the day and year aforesaid with force and arms in the County and State aforesaid, with a great multitude of persons, whose names to the Jurors aforesaid are unknown, to-wit: Thirty person and upwards, armed and arrayed in a warlike manner, that is to say with guns, pistols, swords and other warlike weapons as well as offensive and defensive, did falsely and traitorously join and assemble themselves together against the State of Tennessee.”
1853 Yellow Store Ledger records Lewis Minor. Also, page 120, 1860 is Lewis’ brother Zachariah Minor who paid William Goen’s bill. ( Zachariah and Aggy Sizemore Minor’s daughter Susan married William Goins this authors G,G, Grandparents. William Goins was hung in Jan., 1865 during the Civil War, near his home on Big Ridge, now Fishers Valley, Hancock County, TN.) Zachariah Minor account through Jan 6, 1860, total bill was $46.99 and marked paid. It stated, “Gilford Minor, Zack’s son. Lewis Minor, Scott Co., VA., Jan. 1855.” John Minor, Lewis Minor and Zack Minor were brothers, and all had charge accounts at the Yellow Store.
On Yellow Store ledger page 105, starting Jan 15, 1851, “Andrew England Scott Co.” was written by Mr. Miller. Andrew England owned a Grist Mill in Indicut Valley, Scott County, Virginia. He married Catherine Fisher, daughter of Henry and Happy Riddle Fisher, their daughter Mary married Samuel J. Arrington, this author’s fifth generation grandparents. Andrew was the son of John and Mary Parsons England. John England was present during the siege and surrender of Cornwallis at Yorktown.
Yellow Store Ledger page 388, “William C. Bateman, April 22, 1854 paid $10.00 for painting a Stable and Crib.” On June 20, 1855 he was paid “50c for painting a Buggy.” Yellow Store ledger page 115, Oct 28, 1848 “William C. Bateman was paid $6.00 for painting the store and Bateman's dwelling.” According to this record William Bateman lived in one of Millers houses, which also agrees with his location on the 1860 Hawkins County, Tennessee federal census enumerations for the William and Ellen Bateman family, profession listed on the census was “ painter.” William C. Bateman may have put the first coat of yellow Paint on the store. William and Ellen Bateman’s daughter Janis Virginia born 1855 married Haze Mayo in Rogersville 15 Sept., 1877. Five children were born to Haze and Virginia Bateman Mayo, they were: James H. Mayo b. April 4, 1878, Leroy "Roy" Mayo b. 25 Sept 1880, d. Feb 13, 1947. Bart S. Mayo, born 13 April 1885 died Dec 1, 1955, Effie Mayo b. July 11, 1890 d. 1980's, Charlie Mayo, b. Dec. 31, 1882 d. Feb 13, 1947.
1850's-Yellow Store Ledger, page 181, “Cornelius Grose,” his account balance due $18.97 for several items purchased beginning March 1, 1853, through Feb 25, 1858. Cornelius Grose lived below the present day old Shanks Store in Stanley Valley, Hawkins County, Tennessee. Isabelle Gross wife of Thomas Anderson was the daughter of Henry Gross b 1823 and Mary b 1824. Henry Gross was the son of Cornelius and Isabelle Simmons Gross. Margaret Anderson daughter of Isabelle Gross and Thomas Anderson married William Franklin “Billy” McCullough 5 Jan. 1902. Married by Justice of Peace J. E. Lane, bondsman was R.G. Johnson. Another member of this McCullough family is recorded on Yellow Store Ledger page 168, “Samuel McCullouch shoe leather,” recorded Jan 26, 1849.
1854-Mr. Miller also tells us on another Ledger that John Minor Sr. was dead by 1854. On three separate Ledgers Mr. Miller identifies his wife as a “Widow.” Example: “John Minor (Widows son) also Wilson Minor (Widow’s son) and Joseph Miner (Widow’s son.)” John Minor Sr. was the son of Hezekiah and Elizabeth Going Minor, his wife described by Mr. Miller as “Widow Minor” was Susanna Going Minor, daughter of Zephaniah and Elizabeth Thompson Going. John and Susan Minor’s grandson Joseph Miner established the Joseph Minor and Son Monument Company in Rogersville.
Mr. Miller also gives the address of James Madison Sisemore (now spelled Sizemore) as Big Poor Valley, he refers to a son James as “ Matt’s son” on ledger sheet page 502. Miller sold Sisemore leather and he also bought shoes from Sisemore. Matt’s son William O. Sizemore (Wild Bill) is listed as a shoe maker in Civil War Records, this trade was probably handed down from James Madison’s father Owen Sizemore Jr., who was also listed as a shoe maker on the mortuary notice of his death May 1860, murdered at a still house, Hancock County, Tennessee.
1850 Yellow Store Ledger page 331 was “Nancy Sizemore and Thomas Sizemore Jr.” and on page 63 is “Andrew Stapleton.”
The children of Elijah Hurd who lived on the Clinch River are identified and separated from other “over the mountain Hurds” as Jacob Miller described them. After their names he wrote in small letters whose son this was on his charge Ledger, not only for the Hurds but many other families. Most of these Hurds complicated things by giving
their children the same names of their brothers, etc. Several Hurds with the same names are on the old Yellow Store Ledger as they came across Looney’s Gap and traded with Jacob and C.C. Miller.
No other record, to my knowledge, exists that identifies the following Hurds: “John D. Hurd, Elijah son, August 1, 1854.” His charge account for this date was $9.29. “Joseph E. Hurd, Elijah son 1 lb Sugar Aug 1, 1848.” “Elijah Hurd, son of Elijah 1853”. On page 258 “Jesse Hurd, Elijah son.” “George G. Hurd, Elijah son,” on August 31, 1835 he charged a pair of boots. “ Elijah Hurd Sr. your note on Jan 15, 1855 paid June 10 by son Elijah.” “Carter Hurd, Elijah son.” Also the following over the mountain Hurds as described by Mr. Miller are: “Elem Hurd John’s son, Elem Hurd, George’s son, John A. Hurd, Jesse son, Hiram Hurd, John’s son.” “ Dec 16, 1853 John Herd, Jame’s son.” “1859 James Hurd, John’s son, Jacob Hurd, Jame’s son. William W. Hurd, Jesse son.” “1855 George Hurd, Jesse son, Thomas E. Hurd, Jesse son.”
Elijah Hurd/Herd on the Yellow Store Ledger with several sons was born 1779, died
1866, he married Mary Walling circa 1804, she was the daughter of William Walling.
James Hurd/ Herd b. 1782, died 1840, married 1st Elizabeth Swain, married 2nd Nancy Fisher, his sons listed on the ledger were John and Jacob. James and Nancy Fisher Hurd are this authors 6th generation grandparents.
Other over the mountain traders were “Jesse R. Wallen, son of John, date 1850 $3.75, Clinton Bledsoe and Isaac Bledsoe, son of Clinton.”
“1854 Henry Fisher Jr. $2.00,” also “Jackson Fisher for Henry Fisher”. They were sons of Henry and Happy Riddle Fisher who are this authors 6th generation grandparents.
Page 395, “1854 Joel Winstead.” Page 428, “James England, Andrew’s son.” Joel Winstead was son of Ezekial Winstead, he married Mahalia England born 1831, daughter of Andrew and Catherine Fisher England.
Page 396 “William Fisher over mountain.” He was also a son of Henry and Happy Fisher.
Page 337 August 1854, “George Sizemore $14.22.” He married Lydia Sizemore d/o of Owen Sizemore Sr., George and Lydia are this authors 6th generation grandparents.
Page 358 “August 4, 1854 $1.58 for leather, Gilford Minor, Zack’s son.”
Aug 28, 1856 “Henry Payne Sr., Enoch Roller Elias son.” “Andy Roller Elias son, James England Andrews son “.
Other names taken in order as entered on the old Yellow Store Journal dated 1848
William H Green, Andrew Campbell
William L Chambers
William H. Grey
William C. Carmack
Charles C. Watterson
John Carmack Sr.
James C. Miller
Henry B. Evans
James R. Coldwell
George A. Simmons
William P. Owens
James R. Fogery
A. J. Camp
John L. Gose
George R. Powell
Benjamin W. Vaughn
William D. Thurman
Thomas R. Coldwell
David D. Anderson
F. E. Watterson
William W. Johnson
Benjamin N. Thurman
John Herd per son Jesse
Elias Roler (across mnt.)
Mary Ann Kinkade
Enoch Horton Sr.
Thomas Barrette Jr.
James B. McBride
John Tate Jr.
William Church,& Ollie Church (mother)
George A. Gibson
Elijah Hurd per Joseph C.Hurd.
Thanks to the Miller family for the great old Yellow Store and for doing a good job recording, identifying, separating and preserving family history and thanks for the memories.