Wooten’s Grocery, Snipesville

Jesse Bookhardt shared this history of Wooten’s: When I was a kid growing up in the Snipesville community, Wooten’s Grocery was A. I. Sinclair Grocery. It was the center of the farming and timber endeavors of mid-twentieth century Southwest Jeff Davis County citizens. The store is located near the original site of the Snipes family wooden store which stood during the 1930’s and early 1940’s. Snipesville was named for this family. At one time the crossroad hamlet had a couple of stores. Robert and Rosalie McCall ran a store located directly across from the main entrance of Excelsior School. It burned in the late 1950’s and was never replaced. At sometime in the 1960’s, Mr. Clarence and Mrs. Ruby Smith operated a store at the intersection of the Snipesville-Denton Road and Georgia Highway 107— just opposite Excelsior Methodist Church .
The Sinclair/Wooten store has stood a long time and has served the needs of locals. We often drove to the “The Store,” and would go in for a candy bar, and if we had enough money, a cool “Co-Cola” from the drink box. Sometimes we chose to mix a pack of Tom’s salty peanuts with our Co-Cola. Once Mr. Arlie had a monkey as a mascot or pet at the store. The primate was know to bite if you got to frisky with him. At another time, a baby deer was kept in a pen behind the store. Someone working turpentine boxes found the fawn in the swamp and brought it to the Store. Everybody in the community got to see it grow. One of the first televisions in the community was available at the store for viewing. It was common on certain nights to have men gather around the black and white snowy images to watch their favorite program. The thing often faded out right during the good part of the show.
I remember too that we purchased gasoline and kerosene at Sinclair’s Grocery. We served ourselves and then went in to pay. The kerosene tank sat to the right of the main door of the store. One had to hang your can from the spout and hand pump the fuel. Groceries of common brands were available, and fresh meats were cut and sold. Groceries were packed in used cardboard boxes instead of plastic or paper bags. No beer or any kind of alcoholic drink was served, but I am sure that exchange of some spirits took place between patrons in the parking area. Mr. Arlie allowed credit to his regular customers and was reasonable in collecting. If a family was having a hard time, often additional time was given to pay. The store and parking area also served as a meeting place where people met to conduct business deals, or to just visit. Supplies for fishing were also sold. The Atlanta Journal and Constitution paper was sold at the store. The parking area in front of the establishment was notoriously pitted with holes and when it rained a muddy mess was a reality.
Generally, the store was a man’s domain. Women certainly were welcome but it was not customary for them to go there that often. During mid-century it was common to see tractors, trucks, and cars parked at the store. Home made cypress fishing boats, plows, and other items were seen in the backs of parked trucks. As times change, it is good to see that some of the old has survived and has been captured by the photosphere to be shared across the Internet.

8 Comments

Filed under --JEFF DAVIS COUNTY GA--, Snipesville GA

8 responses to “Wooten’s Grocery, Snipesville

  1. Kody Brewer

    One time when we were living there behind the store in the early 1980s Alabama’s bus stopped by the store

  2. Ann Hinson McFarlin

    Thank you Jesse for posting this. It has brought back lots of memories. By the way we went to school together at Excelsior together.

  3. Jesse Bookhardt

    When I was a kid growing up in the Snipesville community, Wooten’s Grocery was A. I. Sinclair Grocery. It was the center of the farming and timber endeavors of mi-twentieth century Southwest Jeff Davis County citizens. The store is located near the original site of the Snipes family wooden store which stood during the 1930’s and early 1940’s. Snipesville was named for this family. At one time the crossroad hamlet had a couple of stores. Robert and Rosalie McCall ran a store located directly across from the main entrance of Excelsior School. It burned in the late 1950’s and was never replaced. At sometime in the 1960’s, Mr. Clarence and Mrs. Ruby Smith operated a store at the intersection of the Snipesville-Denton Road and Georgia Highway 107— just opposite Excelsior Methodist Church .
    The Sinclair/Wooten store has stood a long time and has served the needs of locals. We often drove to the “The Store,” and would go in for a candy bar, and if we had enough money, a cool “Co-Cola” from the drink box. Sometimes we chose to mix a pack of Tom’s salty peanuts with our Co-Cola. Once Mr. Arlie had a monkey as a mascot or pet at the store. The primate was know to bite if you got to frisky with him. At another time, a baby deer was kept in a pen behind the store. Someone working turpentine boxes found the fawn in the swamp and brought it to the Store. Everybody in the community got to see it grow. One of the first televisions in the community was available at the store for viewing. It was common on certain nights to have men gather around the black and white snowy images to watch their favorite program. The thing often faded out right during the good part of the show.
    I remember too that we purchased gasoline and kerosene at Sinclair’s Grocery. We served ourselves and then went in to pay. The kerosene tank sat to the right of the main door of the store. One had to hang your can from the spout and hand pump the fuel. Groceries of common brands were available, and fresh meats were cut and sold. Groceries were packed in used cardboard boxes instead of plastic or paper bags. No beer or any kind of alcoholic drink was served, but I am sure that exchange of some spirits took place between patrons in the parking area. Mr. Arlie allowed credit to his regular customers and was reasonable in collecting. If a family was having a hard time, often additional time was given to pay. The store and parking area also served as a meeting place where people met to conduct business deals, or to just visit. Supplies for fishing were also sold. The Atlanta Journal and Constitution paper was sold at the store. The parking area in front of the establishment was notoriously pitted with holes and when it rained a muddy mess was a reality.
    Generally, the store was a man’s domain. Women certainly were welcome but it was not customary for them to go there that often. During mid-century it was common to see tractors, trucks, and cars parked at the store. Home made cypress fishing boats, plows, and other items were seen in the backs of parked trucks. As times change, it is good to see that some of the old has survived and has been captured by the photosphere to be shared across the Internet.
    To the best of my memory,
    Jesse Bookhardt

    • Bill Ringle

      Jesse, according to my mother, the former Colleen Rowland, the man working the turpentine boxes that brought the fawn to the store was none other than her father, George Rowland. She remembers this clearly and was tickled to see someone else recall that event in writing. I imagine this store to be one of the places that encouraged her “peanuts in coke” practice that she told me about when I was a kid. Thank you for your lengthy and colorful description of a place that is a part of my mother’s past.

    • Ann Hinson McFarlin

      Jesse this has brought back many memories. You and I went to school together. Thanks for the memories.

      • Faye Smith Sinclair

        Hi Jesse, Hi Ann. Good to hear from both of you. Jesse, the article was great. I shared a picture on my face book page of James Sinclair holding the famous monkey. Lots of memories….Faye Smith Sinclair

      • H. D. Snipes

        Where would you recommend I go to learn more about the Snipes family of the Snipes family store?….H.D. Snipes

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