Southern Weakley County
|Old Dunlap School had been built a
from Jonesboro, eastward on a small branch. John R. Crawley later built
a general store about a mile north and called it Crawley's Store. This
new business began operation in 1904. He and his son Wyatt operated
a thriving store for a short while then annexed a north wing to
existing building where Wyatt's first wife Nina sold all styles of
hats until her death in 1923. Wyatt remarried and continued to operate
until his death.
After Wyatt's death, his wife, Brooksie and son, Richard Lee operated the store until Richard was drafted into World War II. Brooksie then alone, converted the old millinery shop room (which had been used for storage for years) to a dance floor, installed a "juke box" and "pin-ball machine" and the boys stationed at Camp Tyson near Paris and others returning from the war zone began to discover it's whereabouts. Brooksie soon became known as "Ma" Crawley and the old store took on a new fancy. It was the favorite hangout for young people and those returning from the war. Mr. Jimmy Dunlap and John Harrison Lewis (another of Brooksie's sons by a previous marriage) helped her with the business. Lewis ran his garage during the day and helped his mother at night and on week-ends.
After the war ended and a few years passed, business became slack, Lewis moved to Michigan and Mr. Dunlap died, the old Honky-Tonk closed never to reopen. The building was sold to Frank Todd, who tore it down and built a dwelling from the best lumber.
Other stores soon opened after Crawley's Store had established itself. Some of the other merchants here were Pat Huston, Lou Taylor, Ollie Glosson, Wilburn Martin, T.Z. Elinor,Jr.(T.Z.'s Pic-Pac), "Tootie" Boaz and Leonard Cantrell.
The settlement had two fine doctors, Dr. Talma Z. Elinor, Sr. and Dr. Jether J. Crawley. Both had fine homes and open for business, they also made house calls with a horse and buggy. Dr. Crawley died in 1938 and Dr. Elinor lived until 1952. Ike Lowery was the only Negro that lived in this community. He had been taken in by Ben Elinor when Ike's family perished in a fire. After Ben Elinor died, Ike lived with Dr. Talma and saw after things around the house and tended the garden while the doctor was away. He is the only Negro buried in the Meridian Cemetery.
Soon after Crawley's Store was built, construction on a new school building began, and it became one of the best and biggest of the country schools in Weakley County. Old Dunlap School was moved to this new building located on the new main road. Many of the residents of Crawley's Store community received their education here until the 1940's when the county closed the school. The land and building was sold to Alma Drewry. It later became another store building the last business to exist at this old settlement.
Submitted by John Holt
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