Elam-Area News

Published 2:56 pm Thursday, January 3, 2013

This week's mystery deals with the mercantile establishment in Prospect that operated under the name of Gills & Glenn sometime in the late 1800's. I wish to thank the people of the area who have given me many pieces to the puzzle but I am still lacking the positive proof as to the location of the store. I believe that it was the store building known to many long time residents by the names of Allen's, Hix-Carson, and Campbell's store.

The Prospect Historical Society recently came into possession of a bill head from “Gills & Glenn, Dealers in Dry Good, Notions, Groceries, Boots, Shoes, Hats, Caps, and General Merchandise. “They also advertised that they were “agents for Zell's special tobacco fertilizer, Ober's special tobacco fertilizer, and Pacific and Peruvian guanos.”

The date line is “Prospect Depot, A.M.& O.R.R., Va. _____ 187_. ” The South Side Railway, which had built the depot and laid the tracks, had become the Atlantic, Mississippi & Ohio Railroad. This company went into receivership in 1873 and Norfolk & Western took over the rails through this area.

Email newsletter signup

The store's proprietors are listed as T. (Thomas) Henry Glenn and J. (Joseph) W. Gills An article in the Sacramento Daily Union on February 24, 1868, tells of the loss to fire of a tobacco factory owned by J. W. Gills in Prospect Depot. A quantity of tobacco and all machinery were lost at a value of $6,000. Gills had partial insurance coverage.

Census information indicates that Joseph W. Gills was born in 1833 and died sometime after 1880. He married Elizabeth Ann Whitworth around 1860-61 and together they had seven children. The 1870 census lists him as a farmer worth $3,300 in personal and real estate.

According to census records, Thomas Henry Glenn was born in 1843 and died in 1911. He was married twice to half sisters, first to Mary J. Cunningham and second to Ida F. Cunningham. In 1870 he is listed as a farm laborer; however, in the 1880, 1900, and 1910 census, he is listed as a merchant. Thomas was a veteran having served in the 23rd VA Infantry, CSA and was paroled from Appomattox on April 10, 1865.

The Freemasons Lodge of Virginia in a book dated 1877 list T. Henry Glenn as the secretary and J. W. Gills as a member of the Prospect Lodge #160.

In 1877 both gentlemen are on the board of trustees that acquired the property for the Prospect Charge parsonage. There had been a store on the property which was remodeled into a residence. The present parsonage was built in 1929.

Several years ago my husband and I interviewed long time Prospect-Prince Edward County historian Robert Taylor. I gleaned from my hastily scribbled notes that Glenn and Giles had operated a store in the area of the presently closed Campbell store, once known as Hix-Carson and Arthur Allen's. I hesitate to say this is the exact location. The old E. S. Taylor store building across the railroad tracks from the Depot and this store was once a tobacco warehouse. Could it have been the Gills & Glenn Store before Taylor acquired it? Who owed and operated the store that was converted into the Methodist parsonage?

If you have any more puzzle pieces to this Prospect mystery, please email me at ecovington@century link.net or call 434-574-6576.

Community Communique

Bring your old, gently-used coats to the Pamplin Depot Dance for donations to needy families in our community and stay around for the Old Time Dance from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. on Saturday, January 5. Music is provided by the Farm Use String Band. The dance is free of charge. Food and beverages are available for purchase. Everyone in attendance will have a free chance to win a door prize of family fun and gifts, plus each coat donated gets a chance in another raffle for fun prizes. There will also be a fund-raising raffle of a work of original art for $1 a ticket. All monies raised go to the Pamplin Depot fund.

The Prospect Historical Society will meet on Tuesday, January 8, at 7:30 p.m. in the Prospect firehouse.

The Pamplin Volunteer Fire Department will host an Emergency Medical Technician class starting January 14. Participants need to have current CPR certification.

Hilda Allen spent Christmas week with Kevin and Laurie Justus and Jacob in Damascus. She stayed from Saturday, December 22 until Saturday, December 29. Laurie spent New Year's weekend with Hilda, returning home on Tuesday.

Samantha Dunn visited with Tola Morgan Friday, December 21, to Monday, December 24. They enjoyed shopping together. On Monday they motored to Stony Creek for Christmas with Jimmy and Mary Annette Dunn. Tola returned home on Tuesday.

On Wednesday, December 26, Paul and Ann Greene motored to Richmond and Highland Springs to visit with family.

Fran Shirey gave an inspiring talk about her experiences in Ghana on Sunday, December 30, at Olive Branch United Methodist Church. She was presented with a gift and a luncheon after the service. Those in attendance were inspired by her commitment and devotion to her work.

Sue and Paul Gregory of Newport News and Elam visited with Julian and Edwina Covington on Sunday afternoon.

Dorothy Womack enjoyed visits over the holidays from Bill and Helen McCraw of Five Forks, Frannie Jones of Keysville, George and Shirley Moore, Earl and Shirley Southall of Charlotte Court House, Margaret Burroughs, Phyllis Turman, Wanda and Lindy Hamlett, Burton and Connie Smith of Cumberland, Rhonda Rowland, Lew Gilliam, Shyleen White, and Mickey Armstrong.

Please keep the following people in your thoughts and prayers: Howard Campbell, Russell Miotke, and Mildred Flood.

Sympathy is extended to the family and friends of Grace F. Giles and Pallie Berry McMillian, and Stephanie A. Wright .

“The joy of brightening other lives, bearing each others' burdens, easing other's loads and supplanting empty hearts and lives with generous gifts becomes for us the magic of holidays.” – W. C. Fields

If you or your local organization has news or announcements to share with the community, please call Edwina Covington (574-6576) or email her at ecovington@centurylink.net with the subject line Elam-area news.