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Water Valley Businesses Of Yesteryear

by Charles Cooper

Hello everyone I hope you are having a good week. I’ll wish all of you Happy New Year now since it will be there by the time you read this.

I don’t make New Year resolutions any more since I realized those are the rules we should all be following anyway.

We stopped going out on New Year’s eve years ago. I remember one time Lupe and I were in a club and it was packed and we were asked to let another couple share our table.

They turned out to be a Luffewaffe officer, who was training at Biggs AFB as part of NATO exercises. We laughed about how if it had been twenty-five years earlier, we would be fighting each other.

This month will start the eighth year of “Reflections” and again I thank all of you for your support over the years. From time to time I’ve been asked to repeat a column so I thought I’d recap some of the ones we’ve done and if you want a repeat, let me here from you as to what particular one you would like.

I started out with a column about Dr. Tom Pulley who cut corns off people’s feet for over fifty years.

Martin Boydston’s drugstore which had started out as Knox drug store. Sissie Sartain and Don Holloway worked there and I would fill in when Martin wanted time off.

I covered Arthur Walker’s barber shop, Claude Terry’s shop and Mr. Marvin Groves’s shop.

Newman-Gardner funeral home that started out in the thirties and where I went to work as a teenager. It later became Henry funeral home and now is Seven Oaks.

People’s Wholesale store and a virtual who’s who of young Water Valley people who passed through there. As far as I know, Josie Simpson is the last survivor of those employees.

Merchant Grocery owned by Ray Sissell, uncle of Bill Sissell, and Olin Gore whose sister was married to Johnny Hamner who ran a furniture store for many years.

The Grand Theatre first owned by Alf Walker and later Shine Tyson and then Robert Bostick whose nephew, Leon Roundtree ran it for several years. Busby Chevrolet whose owner, Cliff Busby served as Sheriff 1935-39 and 1943-47. Jimmy Wilbourn Dodge Plymouth and he died at age forty at the height of his career.

Howard Kelley’s garage which was once a Chrysler Plymouth dealer and later a Gulf station.

Double Cola owned by Louis Sherwin and Coca Cola managed by Mr. Elkin.

Turnage Drug Store that celebrated one hundred years in 2005 and which both Jim Allen and I worked there.

The Mechanic’s and Bank of Water Valley and their beginning. James Thompson Studios and his father, Happy Thompson’s dry cleaners.

The IC railroad and numerous employees and three people from Water Valley reached high executive positions in Chicago–Bill Knight, Clint Christy, and Casey Jones.

At least one Governor, Earl Brewer, and one State Supreme Court Justice, Kermit Cofer.

This is just part of the business and profiles that have been covered–over three hundred columns in all. Since I’ve saved them all, I can call up any one you might want repeated.

I would like to hear from all of you and not only requests for past columns but ideas for future columns.

I haven’t heard from Gloria Gardner lately and hope she is o.k. My email address is or write me at P.O. Box 613189 Memphis, Tn 38101 and have a great New Year.

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