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In the Company of Harriet Cowen

By Harriet Cowen


The Gloucester Genealogical Society of Virginia is indebted to Harriet Cowen for her kind offer to let us use her pen and ink sketches of the eight country stores as a centerfold for this December issue.  Descendant family members of the Owners of these stores are encouraged to enjoy them for their personal use.  We ask that no reproductions or activity for profit be undertaken with these copyrighted images.

 Ms. Cowen’s artwork can be purchased at Mo Stuff (Pointer Store) located in Bena and at the Focal Point Gallery at Gloucester Court House.  Over the past twenty-five years she has completed more than 400 “home portraits,” which are her specialty.

 Our artist was born Harriet Goodwin, daughter of Roscoe Goodwin and Edith Alley.  She was formerly of Fairfield, Maine.  Harriet married Earl L. Cowen in 1951 and she moved to Bena and Gloucester County in 1989.  Today she is a familiar and well liked “artist lady” in a watermen’s community where she vigorously records the local heritage in pen and ink drawings, often tinted with water color.


COPYRIGHT @ 1999 Harriet Cowen

 All rights reserved. Printed at Gloucester County, VA.  No part of these images may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise, without the express and prior written permission of the artist.

Harriet Cowen, Artist
Box 81
Bena, VA  23018



Freeport Store and Post Office  Built abt. 1900

  Freeport Marina

Located on the Piankatank River at Freeport Road (Rt. 673), this two story building was once an overnight berth for the Piankatank Steamship Line before service ended in 1932.  Stores have existed at this site since the Civil War period.  The current building was constructed in the 1900’s after two predecessors were destroyed by hurricanes.  The store/marina still operates on a seasonal basis.  Edward W. Fairnholt purchased the store in 1878; and his sons, John Edward and Oran Fairnholt, operated the store during WWII.

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Genealogy of John Edward Fairnholt:

R. P. Gray and Signpine Post Office Built 1894

            Presently owned by Wesley Watkins, grandson of R. P. Gray, Jr.

This store is located at the intersection of Rt. 610 and Rt. 617 on Tanyard Landing Road in the Signpine community.  The store building was constructed in 1894 by R. P. Gray.  The two story building had living quarters for the Gray family on the upper floor and space for a general store, butcher shop, post office and lumber mill office on the ground floor.  During the 1930’s a two story residence was constructed just west of the store for the Gray family.  The store was in operation by R. P. Gray, Jr. in 1940.  

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Genealogy of R. P. Gray, Jr.:


Arthur Tab Store and Ware Neck Post Office  Built in 1870s

  Then, became Taliaferro Store and Ware Neck Post Office

   Next, became Nuttall & Company and Ware Neck Post Office  1944-1999

This store is located at 6495 Ware Neck Road (Rt. 623) near Dunham Massie Lane (Rt. 692) in the Ware Neck community.  The building was constructed about 1875 by Arthur Tab as a two story building.  The two wings and rear living quarters were added later.  He sold the store to Richard P. Taliaferro in 1884.  Later, his son, John Earl Taliaferro, owned the store and rented it to numerous tenants.  In 1944 Rudolph Nuttall purchased the building and has operated the store to the present time.  The Ware Neck Post Office has been there since 1951. 

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Genealogy of John Earl Taliaferro:

Horsley Store and Short Lane Post Office  Built in 1920s

  Roadside Antiques

This two story general merchandise store, gas station, and post office was built in the 1920’s by the Texaco Corporation and leased to Calvin Horsley to service “the automobile.”  It is located on Route 17 at the intersection of Short Lane just south of Gloucester Court House.  It was in operation by Calvin Horsley in 1940.  Today it contains an antique store.

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Genealogy of Calvin Horsley:

Zanoni Store and Post Office   Built 1885

Presently owned by Richard Willings and Julie Rios

 This store is located at the intersection of Zanoni Road (Rt. 626) and Crockett Road (Rt. 628).  It was built by Hansford E. Taliaferro, son of John P. Taliaferro.  Hansford and his brother, Richard, were clerks of Arthur Tabb at the Ware Neck Store in 1880.  Their father was forced to sell Toddsbury after the Civil War to satisfy his creditors, and Arthur Tabb was one of them.  The store was operated by Charles F. Robins during WWII and he purchased it in 1942.

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Genealogy of Charles F. Robins:

Roanes Store and Post Office  Built abt. 1877

Presently owned by Roane Hunt and Richard Piggott, grandsons of Richard Roane

This is a large two story building that served as store, post office and boarding house.  Located at the corner of T. C. Walker Road (Rt. 628) and Paige Road (Rt. 629), it was half way from Roane’s Wharf on the Ware River and Gloucester Court House.  Richard Roane opened the store some time after 1877.  Then, his great nephew, Bernard Woodland, operated the store from 1915 to 1950.

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Genealogy of Bernard R. Woodland:

P. E. Muse Store and Coke Post Office  Built 1895

  Eddie Minor Store and Coke Post Office after 1915

  Martin’s Corner, current Owner

This store is located in the Coke community and was built in 1895 by William Haywood and sold to Peachy Elbert Muse (born in Essex Co.).  When Peachy moved to Bridges and opened his second store, Eddie Minor, Sr. bought the building and operated the Coke store through the WWII and the 1940’s.  In recent years the Martin family took over and renamed it Martin’s Corner.

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Genealogy of Eddie Minor:

Pointer Brothers Store and Bena Post Office  Built 1904

  Bena Post Office, Mo’s Stuff and Deal Tax Service

James Edgar Pointer, Sr. built the store in 1904.  He and his brother, William DuVal Pointer, ran the store.  At times Edgar was Postmaster.  They operated the store during WWII and the 1940 period. The Pointers lived in the house next door.  After Edgar died, John Fedors operated the store for short periods as did Faber Merchon.  Taylor Minor worked in the store and at times ran a little Lunch Room in the current Post Office section.  At one point Lillie did sewing and sold hats in the part that is a Post Office now.  The Texaco gas tanks were added about 1920.  The store always sold general merchandise and did fairly well.

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Genealogy of J. Edgar Pointer:


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Last Updated  Friday, 30 January 2004 06:20 PM