The Stores of Cumberland Township (3/17)

BY ELSIE MOREY / March 2017

The stores of Cumberland Township became more than simply commercial entities. Their obvious function of providing food stuffs and household products in the communities led to their serving other functions as well, from social gathering places, to post offices to fire companies and other social activities.

In 1864, John Weikert’s general store in Green Mount was sold at auction was purchased by Hugh Baxton Bigham. There had been a post office at Green Mount since 1847. Bigham was appointed as the fifth postmaster of Green Mount in January 1865 and served continuously until the post office closed in 1913. In December 1895, the name of the post office was changed from Green Mount to Greenmount.

Beginning in 1885, Josephus Mills opened a store as part of his house. The property was located just north of Rock Creek on the Taneytown road. When a request was granted for a post office at Horner’s Mill “Josephus said why not have the post office at my store?” Thus Josephus Mills was appointed the first post master. The post office was called Barlow. In 1897, Josephus remodeled the store. He added a coffee mill and left the customer mail bins in the same area. Josephus Mills ran this store until he turned it over to his son Abner. During hot days in the summer, men would sit on the steps of the store eating cheese and crackers and talking their means of entertainment.

Josephus Mill’s store was sold to John Black in 1913. Since Black was a teacher, his wife ran the store during the day and John tended to the store during the evenings. The Blacks ran the store until 1915 when J. Carnahan Smith purchased it.

The J. Carna Smith, General Merchandise, Barlow, PA. store was the topic of the society’s article in the Gettysburg Times Jan. 24, which gave a description of this store. The Smith’s operated the store for twenty-four years until 1939.

Clarence Fair began his store in 1929 on the site of a former creamery. Fair was a stout man with a wonderful personality. His friends like to call him “Jumbo” do to his size. Clarence had run a store earlier from the Boyd farm. In the 1930’s “Jumbo would hold auctions at the store to sell from the back of a large truck: bananas, watermelons, cantaloupes and other green vegetables. Concerned citizens meet at “Jumbo Fairs” store to organize a fire company to serve the community. The early years of the fire company the fire calls went to Fair’s store and he rang a bell he had installed in the store. The volunteers reported with buckets and fire extinguishers to help fight the fire.

Fair’s store changed hands many times to a Mr. Mellot, the Witherows who managed a large line of green groceries, canned goods, sporting equipment, Texaco products and issued hunting and fishing licenses.

The Maring’s purchased it and called their store Maring Grocery. Maring’s ran ads in the newspaper as “our own fresh beef for 50 cents a pound.”

The Marings sold the store to a Mr. Brown in 1970. Hurricane Agnes flooded this area and water surrounded the store. Brown was killed in an automobile accident and Mrs. Brown ran the store until 1974, when it was torn down. Sources: Adams County Historical Society, Geiselman; 1996, Reflections.

Elsie D. Morey is chairman of the board of directors of the Cumberland Township Historical Society.