Mildred McConnell's Scrapbook Articles
Memories of H. F. Addington, Sr.ís General Store
By Ann Goode Cooper
Rambling down a dusty, country road in Valley Creek in the Addington Frame Community of Scott County, carries ones' thoughts back to yesteryear. Many people left the community of farming to settle in the big cities or elsewhere; but there were those few who were left behind in the homestead of their youth amid the heritage of their ancestor who had lived and died in the community.
It was in the Addington Frame Community that Henry Farley Addington, Sr. married Sophia Quillen and brought his bride home to the land he had lived on as a boy and planned to occupy as a man. Being a shifty man with a head for business, Mr. Addington went into the grocery business in 1899, one year after he and his bride were married; but mountain people were very careful about buying. They lived off the land and the things they didn't grow from their rough hillside farms they would many times have to do without because there wasn't money to pay for any luxuries. Their land produced everything they needed except sugar, soda, coffee and salt.
Only a few yards from the house where Mother Maybelle Carter was born, Henry Farley Addington, Sr. began his business as a merchant. It was alsoinside the first store that he occupied that the local post office was located.
The mail was a slow process in the beginning as it was only delivered to the post office once a week. Many area residents chose to receive the mail more often so they began delivery twice a week and in later years the mail was delivered daily. This not only gave the residents a chance to go to the post
office daily; but it also helped Mr. Addington with his business because when people came to the post office they would many times buy things from the store.
The postmaster at Addington's Store in the year 1899 was Mr. Morris McConnell. Mail had a slow way of moving from one area to another as the only means of transportation was by horse or horse and buggy.
A business like atmosphere filtered through the quiet Addington Frame Community and H. F. Addington's Store began to have a booming business.
Despite the many changes that had been brought about by the country store, much of the life in Valley Creek and the Addington Frame Community remained the same.
Children were still found playing and having fun at every house up and down the creek and ridge. Many clung to their old habits of sliding down hills of pine needles and "riding" poplar saplings to the ground or from treetop to treetop.
While life in the valley continued, Mr. Addington was busy with the process of building a new store a hundred yards away from his first store. He loved his store and the hard work that was involved and he wanted to build something that everyone in the community could benefit from and buy what they were in need of and if he didn't have it in stock he wanted to be able to order if for his customers so everyone could become a satisfied customer.
So in 1914, Henry Farley Addington, Sr. moved into his new modern store building with all the excitement and enthusiasm of his day. It was in a large building in the bend of the road overlooking the beautiful Clinch Mountain that he had called home. He could stand on his large concrete porch and see his home which he and his wife, Sophia, occupied along with their five children. They were Olene, Lois, H. F., Jr., Frank, and Ana Lee. He could see his youngsters at play as they enjoyed the beauty of God's creation and the beautiful Clinch Mountain.
He could glance down in front of his store and view the home of Sara Daugherty, who was to later become the wife of A. P. Carter. If he continued his view he could see the home where Maybelle Addington Carter was reared. He was to watch these two great ladies grow from infancy into young womanhood and all the time he was able enjoy and listen to their music because they were only home folks, who like himself, had been reared in the Addington Frame Community.
Sam Addington ran the local blacksmith shop across from the store. It was there people could leave their horse to be shod while they went across the road to the general store. To put shoes on a horse with all four shoes it would cost $1.00, and to buy the horse shoes separately, the cost was according to the size of shoe which was purchased. If one needed a size No.2 shoe, which was all ready made up, it would cost 10 cents. A size three or four shoe, made up, would cost 15cents.
One source of contact with the outside world was through the general store and Mr. Addington had one of the largest and nicest general stores that could be found through out Scott County. The store was huge for its day with high shelves on either side and a ladder which was used to climb upon to get items from the top shelves. The ladder was moved from place to place on a track.
There were large long counters running down both sides of the store with showcases on these counters which displayed various items. The ceilings were very high so the shelves could be made taller and be able to store more items.
Mr. Addington helped his customers and the members of his community by buying everything that was brought to him. He would buy rabbits which had been killed and only the entrails removed. Those rabbits would later be shipped to Baltimore.
He bought anything from a part of a hog to a whole hog which he would cut up himself and salt down. He bought butter, eggs, chickens, ginseng, may apple root, dried apples, dried beans, and goldenseal. If anyone brought produce or any item to sell, they would purchase the groceries they needed, many times they would not trade the full amount out that was coming to them so Mr. Addington would write a "due bill" and upon their next visit to the store they would present their "due bill" to him and using their amount from their "due bill", they would buy their groceries.