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Roanes Store Off the Ware River


By L. Roane Hunt

 
 

The three sons, Luther, Richard, and Charles, of Charles A. Roane and Sarah R. Roane of King and Queen County came to the Robin’s Neck of Gloucester County after the Civil War and worked as merchants for about fifty years.  First, Luther and Charles settled in the area that would become Seldens Post Office.  They purchased about sixty acres that had been part of the Level Green Plantation on the Ware River at the mouth of the Wilson Creek.  The White Marsh Plantation, owned by the John Tabb family, extended eastward to include the Wilson Creek, Tabb’s Landing, and a shipyard located on Wilson Creek near Level Green.  In the 1870 census, Luther and Charles Roane were listed at Seldens as merchant and clerk, respectively.  Later in 1877, Richard Roane purchased an acre of land at Cedar Fork, near Robins Mill, where he built a store (see painting on the left) that would become Roanes Post Office, located five miles from Seldens toward the Courthouse.  Robins Mill was the headquarters for the Patriots during the Revolutionary War.  In 1882, Richard A. Roane purchased a half acre from Luther Roane and built the Roanes Wharf on the Ware River.  Also, in 1888 Richard purchased more of the Level Green property from Joseph James and built the Seldens Store and Post Office.  Richard Roane developed the two stores that were supplied by Roanes Wharf (See painting below.)  The Roanes Wharf was located on the Ware River which was on the main water route to the Gloucester Courthouse, the center of county development for many years.

The Roanes Store complex consisted of both a store and house, and according to tradition was built in seven phases.  The painting shows the store front on the left and the house front on the right.  The two-story structure has been modeled with 3D computer soft-ware to illustrate its design.  Two views are presented at the bottom of page 23 to show the first and second floors exposed, respectively.  The actual store had first-floor windows on the front wall with blinds for security.  The store was open to the second floor and the two open balconies at each end allowed light into the store from the many windows on three sides of the second floor.  The walls were covered with shelves to display the goods, and storerooms were located behind the main store area.  Two bedrooms were located above the store for the young clerks. 

The house portion was located behind the store, but the front extended beyond store and opened into a small formal yard.  This end of the house consisted of an entrance hall and front room on the first floor and three bedrooms above on the second floor.  The kitchen was located on the other end, and it was probably separate until later additions connected it.  The center section was added last with a dining room on the first floor and the master bedroom on the second.  At times, the house was used to room and board travelers and salesmen that came to the area by steamship and used rented buggies to go house to house selling their wares. 

Richard Roane began this store, but he enlisted family members to operate it in later years.  After 1915, it was rented, and it closed in the mid 1960s.   

  

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Last Updated  Friday, 30 January 2004 06:20 PM