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February 4, 2019 / Joanne Yeck

Buckingham County Business: Williams Company Store

Williams Company Store. Courtesy Bob Jeffery.

Arvonia and its slate quarries remain a favorite topic at Slate River Ramblings.

Adding to our knowledge about the community, Bob Jeffrey consulted John Williams’ privately printed autobiography, Five Generations, which includes several passages concerning the Williams Company Store, pictured above.  Mr. Williams grew up in Arvonia during the 1930s and recalled the following:

“This store, started by our grandfather and his brother (John R. and Evan R. Williams), included food, meats, animal feed, clothing, shoes, hardware, roofing materials, window sash, ice cream and candy. Many other items were included, and because of transportation problems and an extreme shortage of money, this truly had to be a “country general store.” (p. 78)

“All quarry workers had a charge account at the Company General Store, but payment in full was expected on Friday payday.  ‘Another Day Older and Deeper in Debt, I Owe My Soul to the Company Store,’ certainly rang true in Arvonia, Virginia.” (p. 81)

The Williams Company Store was originally located next to the main quarry and the railroad depot. Within sight of the Williams brothers’ houses, it probably opened c. 1880 when the Williams Slate Company was established.  The business was still operating in 1950 when John Williams returned to Buckingham County, taking over as President of the company. During the early 1950s, a new company store opened at the quarry on Arvon Road, above Hunts Creek.

For more about the Williams brothers of Buckingham County, follow these links:

Buckingham Slate: The Williams Brothers

Buckingham Slate: John R. Williams

 

 

2 Comments

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  1. Nancy D. Mickles / Feb 4 2019 11:29 am

    My great grandfather, grandfather and my father worked at William’s Slate Company. Their last name was Davies. The company store also sold certain furniture items. I still have four cane bottom chairs and a cane bottom rocker that was purchased there. They still look good. My parents used them as kitchen chairs. I have a lot of memories of going to the company store. The slate companies in the area were the main employers in Arvonia. Many others in my family and other families were employed there too.

    • Joanne Yeck / Feb 4 2019 12:03 pm

      Nancy,

      Many thanks for your comment. It is good to know that the furniture sold at the Williams Company Store was solid and long-lasting.

      Enjoy your memories!

      Joanne

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