The Little Country Store, 1790

2. The Little Country Store - Hart Square

The Little Country Store, 1790

Please click on the thumbnail for a slideshow of historical images and the restoration. General stores served as economic and social centers. Here folks gathered to learn the news, tell stories, play checkers, or sit around and chew tobacco. An 1840s store offered a surprising array of   items, from pocketknives, needles, and dictionaries, to candle molds, flannel, and paregoric. Other medicines were common, along with tools, kitchenware, and spices. Salt, sugar, and coffee were as popular as tobacco. The store most often served as a post office as well.

In 1790 Joshua B. Little and his wife, Susan, built what would become the Hart Square Country Store. Located on the outskirts of Conover, the one and a half story structure was falling down when Paul Hedrick told Bob about it. Thinking there might be a few salvageable logs, Bob and Becky headed over to Conover one Saturday. The log structure, as did an outhouse, stood behind a contemporary house from whose porch a woman in a rocking chair said her husband would be along in a minute. “He came out of the outhouse, hooking up his overalls,” Bob says. “I assumed the outhouse was a relic like the log house.”  The man abruptly asked Bob what he wanted, and Bob got to the point. “His wife,” Bob says, “jumped up and said he couldn’t sell it. Uncle So-and-So was coming to live in that house!” “He’s not coming,” the man said. “He’s ninety years old. I’m going to burn it to the ground tonight if I don’t sell it today! Whadda give me for it?”  he said, turning to Bob. “No, I won’t take three hundred,”  the man said. “Leave the tin, and you can have it for two fifty.”

Bob needed to move the house in a hurry before the wife could prove persuasive, and so he rounded up Paul and his brother, Claude, and moved it the next day, in 1981. Later the man and wife warmed up to him and even gave him the deeds to the old house, confirming its date, 1790.