Panola Co Historical & Genealogical

Crenshaw and 'Early Retail'

Crenshaw and 'Early Retail'

CRENSHAW and ‘Retail’

Mr. John M. Mothershed recalled the events of life and business which began in 1930 and continued thirty years (till 1960) in the Panola County town of Crenshaw. A feature article regarding Creshaw and its surrounding area (Tallahatchie Valley) was printed in The Panola Story,
Number 3, 2003.

Prior to the 1930’s the Mothershed family resided in Ruleville, MS, in Sunflower County of the delta. But, by the year 1930, a business was begun in the northwest portion of Panola County at Crenshaw. The railroad being in place brought the choice of business fronts to face the
tracks. During this time three or four grocery stores were there and the Mothersheds were involved in the food business. Saturdays brought the town’s population to full ebb. Since the fresh meat was one of the last items of the grocery list due to the methods of keeping the meat cool and unspoiled, the grocery would stay open late into the night. John remembers napping on the larger produce sacks due to the long hours.

His dad, Mr. John A. Mothershed, would even come early on Sunday morning for the customers who made their way homeward early in the morning .

The Creshaw Oil Mill was located on the west side of town. The wonderful odor could bring an appetite. There was a cotton gin connected and a seed house probably the size of 100 feet by 100 feet!

Farming was a big entity. In fact, there were two gins! Entering into the new age of the automobile and related businesses was not lost on the families of Crenshaw. There were two car dealerships—Chevrolet and Ford. Five service stations fed the fuel needed. A funeral home was there
for the reckless as well as any others. Mr and Mrs. Charlie Russell and their eight children served as role models in the community.

Mr. Tom Potts lived in Crenshaw and was instrumental in much business. His brother, Hugh Potts, would later serve as a car dealer and banker in Kosciusko, MS. Mr. & Mrs. Reggie Smithson were residents in Crenshaw before leading the way at Magnolia Mills in Kosciusko. Cotton seed oil cakes were a specialty in Crenshaw. Fishermen particularly enjoyed using them for fish bait. Cook and Company bought
out the local mill.

With government came the City Hall as well as a watering trough on Main Street. There were two bulk grocery firms too. Schooling could take one to the 12th Grade. The Longtown Cemetery was the local place of internment. The railroad depot embarked and disembarked many travelers. A hotel and boarding house were
necessary in this time.

A five and dime store brought about some of the first discount bargains in the area. The local movie theatre had first run movies just like Memphis. A lumber
yard was tops in its workmanship and was a necessity to the upper Tallahatchie Valley. The Dickins family were staples here as well as three doctors: Dr. Jenkins, Dr. McCawley and Dr. Sill. However, Dr. Shaheen of Como had a reputation in the area which was unmatched. His care and bedside manner merged to endear him to countless families who lived off the land.

Mr. Mothershed suffered an accident which eventually brought about a special surgery to remove his ankle bone. But, his infirmity did not slow his pace.
John M. remembers with a twinkle in his eye how industrious a worker was his dad.

Many good families like the Jules lived in Crenshaw during the busy years of the making of the Dam (which was finished and celebrated in 1940 at Sardis Lake).

Following World War II there began a decline in the retail community. Young John M. Mothershed came to Panola County and one day was looking for an
equipment part. In Marks, Ms, he found the part and a piece of advice which brought him to plan the retail store we all know on Highway 6 as Western Auto. It
was located first on the square in downtown Batesville, later in the now Civitan Building. Taylor and Bob Maddux were grocerymen next door!

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