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Gleason Businesses of the Past

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In 1920, Carl Parks, Jake Parks, and Alton Richee bought the building on the end of Front Street, facing the railroad. In it was a cafe, operated by Doc and Ernest Call. Jake Parks and Alton Richee operated the cafe for about three months but decided that  cooking was not for them. They redid the interior and started Parks, Richee, and Parks business and sold hardware, groceries, and dry goods. They were partners until 1923 when Jodie Richee bought out Jake Parks, and the name changed to Richee Bros. & Parks.

The store was operated like this until 1939, when Alton Richee died. His son, Vernon Richee, went in as Manager and partner until 1954, when Jodie Richee retired. Vernon continued to operate the store after buying Jodie's share, until Carl Parks died in 1967. Vernon, then, bought his share and became full owner until his son, Jimmy, joined him. Jimmy died in 1971. Gordon Parks was a clerk in the store for thirteen years until 1967, when he retired. Coy Seagraves began working as a clerk in the store in 1971; in 1972, he bought the store when Vernon retired. In 1975, Coy went out of the grocery business and sold the building to Eveready Auto Parts.

The name of the store was Richee's from 1921 to 1972.

Richee's Grocery


In 1922, Cletus Trevathan bought the grocery store on Main Street between the Fitz Maddox Funeral Home and Brummitt Bros. Department Store. Trevathan's remained here  until August, 1941, when it moved to the Jess Margrave building on Front Street. [Previously John Kennon had had a grocery and meat market here, but had sustained considerable damage due to a fire.] Trevathan's remained at this location until 1957 when Mr. Cletus went out of business.

The Meat Market was moved to the small building two doors down, which had been Dunning's watch and clock repair shop. The building also served as the place of business for Finch's Insurance office, operated by Murrell Finch.

Mr. Cletus closed the Meat Market in 1958, and took the position of City Recorder in the old City Hall on what is now South Cedar Street. He continued to serve in that capacity until he died as the result of a stroke on March 13, 1960.

Mr. Cletus and Mrs. Zela raised seven children, and three grandchildren, who all helped operate his place of business.

Trevathan's Grocery & Meat Market


Mr. Pete Brundige started working in 1922 for W.R. Fowler's Grocery, running a "doodle wagon" through the countryside. (A doodle wagon carried a supply of staples that could not be raised on the farms.)

In 1923, he started working for Adams and Herron Produce out of  McKenzie and Hazel, Kentucky. He drove a covered wagon through the country as far as Jewel, and bought eggs, chickens, etc. He also bought butter that had turned rancid, which he shipped to northern markets who used to product to make soap. Also, during rabbit season, rabbits were bought for ten cents or fifteen cent, iced down and shipped on the 6:30 P.M. train for Chicago. In 1929, Mr. Pete wholesaled stalks of bananas to grocery stores.

Mr. Pete and son, Paul, established Brundige Produce in 1939, in the building where Gleason Appliance and Hardware  is now located. They remained there until they built the mill in the fall of 1954. Mr. Pete retired in 1954 but continued to keep the books and assist Paul until 1973, when they sold the operation to Spain Bros.

Paul Brundige died in 1980. Mr. Pete celebrated  his 99th birthday before his death in August, 1987.


The first U-Tote-Em store was opened in Gleason in 1925 and was located on Cedar Street. It was managed by Claud Wilson, with J. D. Dellinger and Roy Hodges working for him.

In 1935, it was moved to the corner of Main and Front Streets (where the Bank of Gleason is now located). Mr. John Kennon, Mr. Willie Delaney, and Mr. Hughlon Morris were managers at this location.

In 1955, the store was again relocated to the T.A. Lovlace building on Front and Center Streets. Hughlon Morris managed the store, and in 1958 bought the business. In 1965, he sold the business to his son, Thomas Morris but continued to work part-time. Mike Morris went into the business with his parents in 1977 with the family still in business at the present time, and the doors of the store still open for business six days a week. Although the name of the store has been changed to Gleason Superette, it will always be the U-TOTE-EM to Gleason's "old timers".


In 1938 Noah Jackson (Big Jack) Dunning moved to town and bought a grocery owned by a Mr. Fowler. It was located in one of the old buildings that Gleason Hardware now owns. Jack operated the store under the name “Dunning Grocery” at that location for a while and then moved it to one of the buildings in front of where the Bank now stands. While operating the store he was assisted by his wife Maggie Bell, his father Henry Herbert, and two children Estelle and Little Jack; this is where Little Jack got his first experience in retail business. Jack continued to operate the store until 1945, and then sold it to Doyle Capps and his brother Paul.  In 1959 Little Jack and his wife Nelcene bought the same store from Mr. Capps, thus returning the name “Dunning Grocery” to the lineup of businesses in the Gleason area. 

In February 1960, there was a fire that destroyed the building and all the stock as well as the buildings on either side. In a few months, when the building was rebuilt, Jack and Nelcene reopened the store in a more modern setting with added fresh produce, frozen foods, and a complete meat market where Jack was also the butcher. Jack and Nelcene had two children when they bought the store, Ricky and Rayma; a third child Rachel was born in 1962. They continued to operate the store until 1975 when they sold it to Ralph Turner. While operating the store they delivered groceries in and around Gleason as well as made sandwiches for many of the school children, factory workers, and other people. They employed many people including Big Jack and Maggie Bell Dunning, Ricky, Rayma, Rachel, Jerry Belew, Jimmy Belew, Willie Delaney, Shorty Heath, Bob James, Michael Hamilton, Frankie Trevathan, Buddy Finch, Billy Snider, Steve Ross, Rupert (Pert) Pritchett, Dan Brummitt and Dale Brummitt. 

After selling the store, Jack worked at the Gleason Lumber Company, as a carpenter and at the lumber shed, until becoming a rural mail carrier in 1980, serving both route 1 and 2 before retiring in 1998. He was elected Mayor in 1983. Nelcene worked at Irene’s Bridal Shop, Gleason School as a sub-teacher, and as the school secretary until retiring in 1998.


In October of 1945, Doyle Capps rode into town in a 1929 Chevrolet with his wife Wylodean, and his two daughters, Cherie and Annette, to start a grocery business that would endure for nearly forty years. Doyle was not inexperienced in this field for he had operated a country store in Skullbone, and his father and grandfather before him had run a store in the Flytown community. His father had sold from a “doodle wagon” to over 100 customers.

Doyle and his brother, Paul, bought the grocery store on Main Street from Jack Dunning, Sr. Paul stayed until 1947. Of course, these were the days before shopping carts and self-service. Everyone came to town on Saturday to do their shopping. Doyle’s main assistants at that time were his wife and daughters. In 1959, he sold the business to Jack Dunning, Jr.

For two years Doyle had a milk delivery route, but this was not his type of business, so in December, 1962 he bought five acres of land on Pillowville Road and built Capps Market.

He retired in September of 1981, leaving many good friends and faithful customers to the new owner, Don Whitworth.


Trevathan's Lumber Company is another of our Industrial Plants. Gleason points with pride to the fact that Mr. Frank Trevathan contracted and erected a nice home for a customer in Clinton, Kentucky, trucking the material to Clinton from his mill in Gleason.

This plant gives employment to a crew of fifteen hands, and in addition to the finished product turned out at the mill, Trevathan Lumber handles all kinds of building materials. In fact, Frank says he can furnish material and build the house complete from the ground up , , , and cheap, too. He is an experienced contractor.


For a short time in the early 1990's, Gleason had a tomato canning factory. It was located on Union Street, West. Later, this building was used as a tobacco warehouse by Leonard Freeman.


(Click Link for Pictures)

In the early days before electricity came into use, the power used to separate the seed from the lint was generated by a mule or oxen hitched to a post, walking a treadmill all day, but getting nowhere. Later, steam engines were used for some years.

In November, 1913, Gleason gins were paying $4.50 to $4.75 per hundred for cotton. People were paying $1.00 to $1.25 for picking cotton in good weather. On September 13, 1918, the paper asked, "What will it be when it turns bad weather?".

When the bulk of the cotton picking and selling in this immediate section was over, the receipts ran larger than first estimated. The total ran almost 2,000 bales for the two gins here. The  price from $4.85 to $3.50 per hundred in the seed, the larger portion bringing a good price, made the season average about $4.35 per  hundred pounds. About $15,000.00 was paid out from cotton through the Bank of Gleason with the Gleason Gin Company and Parks-Watson Gin Company both paying for their cotton through the bank.

Clarence Horn operated the gin, repairing the machinery, etc. from 1913 to 1917 for a monthly salary of $100.00. Mr. J. B. White was Manager for the City of Gleason. Horn left to operate the water and light plant until the fall of 1918 when he returned to the Gin.

Mr. J. D. Bradberry succeeded A. E. White as Manager of the Gleason Cotton Gin. Clarence Horn remained and continued to operate the Gin until his retirement in the 1950's at which time Hulon Cooper became the Gin operator. Both J. D. Bradberry and Hulon Cooper remained until it closed in 1975. It was necessary for the Cotton Gin to go out of business because cotton production in the area could not maintain the Gin.


Early in Gleason's history, there was a Dr. Wilson who was a druggist. His life, however, ended in tragedy when he shot a Mr. Alexander and, then, shot himself.

Ed and George Lasater were also druggists in the early years along with J. C. Ammons and D. F. Terrell.

In 1912, Dr. J. C. Ammons, who was the druggist, built a new modern drug store on Front Street (in the building where Eveready Auto Parts is now located). Roy Brasfield, Bob Smyth, and Dennis Smyth were the druggists who worked for him.

J. C. Ammons Pharmacy

In the early 1930's, Bob Smyth and Henry Scott bought the store and changed the name to City Drug Store. In 1936, Henry Scott bought the land and built the building on its present site. Bob Smyth bought and moved to the location on Main Street in 1938. Some of the people who have worked for Bob Smyth include Joe Hamilton, Murrell Finch, Dudley Sanders, Alex Edwards, Kenneth Lemonds, John David Phelps, Robert Jeter Clement, L. Jack Dunning, and Thomas Morris.

In 1960, Bob's son-in-law, Buddy Robison, joined him. Buddy is still the pharmacist and owner of City Drug Store.

[An interesting note: In the early 1900's, oranges could not be bought fresh, but drug stores kept some in coolers to be used in medicinal formulas.]

Remedies of the Past


Many of the prescriptions in those days were mixtures of herbs and such. A cough syrup was so many drops of vanilla, lemon, peppermint and orange extract. In 1911, this was the formula for the complexion: glycerine, rose water, and lemon juice - to be applied to the face and hands night and morning. The 1910 prescription for scabs and itch was sulphur, lead acetate, ichthyol, and vaseline. IT was to be applied on three consecutive nights, and then washed off. The user was also instructed to change all wearing and sleeping apparel

In 1912, this formula was noted: Indian arrowroot, prickly ash, sasparilla, wild cherry, black root, poke root, alcohol and aguae. You were to shake the bottle before using. However, there is no notion as to what it was  used for. Dr. McBride had this formula: oil of sassafras, oil of hemlock, oil of cedar, oil of spike, tincture of capsicum, po. gum camphor, chloroform, and alcohol, to be applied three or four times per day (for what ??).

Finally, this was Tatum's Scratch Remedy, by Dr. I. J, Tatum, from the year 1915: acetate of lead, sul. of zinc, carbolic acid, aquae os. ad., to be applied twice a day.

Some of the doctors who practiced in an around Gleason from 1859 to the present include Dr. J. W. Bandy, Dr. Cutter, Dr. Arbuckle, Dr. Basford, Dr. Waterfield, Dr. Summers, Dr. Burnett, Dr. Wood, Dr. Tatum, Dr. Bledsoe, Dr. J. E. Jeter,  Dr. Goldsby, Dr. L. T. Smith, Dr. Hudgins, Dr. O. B. Wilson, Dr. McBride, Dr. Curry, Dr. John F. Allman, Dr. Enoch Heath, Dr. S.C. Lankford, Dr. J. B. Lasater, Dr. T. H. Swaim, Dr. R. M. Jeter, Dr. Patrick O'Keefe, Dr. Bill McDaniel, Dr. Dixon, and the present Dr. John D. Howard. Some of the doctors were also veterinarians, druggists, dentists, or optometrists.


Dr. D. F. Terrell, pharmacist and owner of the drug store on Front Street was in business in the early 1900's. Elmer Terrell, his nephew, became a partner. In 1939, when Dave Terrell died, his daughter, Valda, and  her husband, Overton Duke, became partners with Elmer Terrell. Later, in 1946, B. F. Terrell moved to town and operated the drug store as druggist until 1953. His son  Louis opened a Sundry Store and Ice Cream Parlor operating it from 1954 until 1960.


In 1934, Vernie Drewry started selling auto parts from his car for Buford Bros. He used the building where the Bank Community Room is now located for storage.

In 1937, Charlie Huggins started selling parts on the road and continued until 1938 or 1939 when Drewry, Raymond Cochran, and Charlie started Eveready Auto Parts in Gleason, Camden, Dickson, and Selmer. In 1941, Dick Sparks started working full time for them.

In 1949 - 1950, this group of men started the Kentucky - Tennessee Warehouse, which they incorporated in 1955. In 1956, they bought the Park building (formerly Horn's Garage) at the 4 - Way Stop on Main and Cedar Streets to enlarge the warehouse. Joe Wright  of Dresden came in with them. In 1959 - 1960, they added to the back by enclosing the former White's Garage building.

Eveready was owned by Charlie Huggins, G. W. Gibbs, and Ellie Steele, until G. W. Gibbs moved to Arkansas in 1980, selling his interest to Jessie Mayo. In 1983, when Charlie Huggins retired, Ellie Steele and Jessie Mayo became sole owners.


In 1936, Tharpe and T. G. Byrns came to Gleason from Camden and opened the Gleason Variety Store in one of the buildings under the old hotel. Their sister, Novella, opended a Beauty Shop in the back of the store. The operators, along with Novella, were May Blanche Gaylord, Mildred Chandler, and Novella's thirteen year old sister, Jozelle, who attended high school in addition to helping in the beauty shop.

The next location for both businesses was the corner building facing the railroad in the Levy Building (where the bank of Gleason is now located). The Gleason Variety Store was sold to Melvin Swindle, and Novella's Beauty Shop moved behind City Drug Store for a short time.

The shop moved to its present location in 1941, when the Bank of Gleason moved to it's present location. This shop, first known as Novella's was changed to Jozelle's, when Novella and her daughter, Derotha Verdell moved to Perry, Florida in 1953. The shop is still located in the same place, where Jozelle Hamilton Smith has been on the job for fifty years, Mary Brawner Jorge for forty-four years, Margaret Martin Beasley for twenty-eight-years, and Joyce Horn Wray for almost 50 years.

The Gleason Variety Story was bought from Melvin Swindel, who had moved the store next to the beauty shop (in the former bank building) on Front Street by Joe and Jozelle Hamilton in 1945. They operated it until 1953, when they sold the business to Lucille Bunch, who kept it open until about 1975.

Front Street Businesses in the Early 1900's

The history of the Gleason community provided in Oakwood-Gleason: A Look Back provides an account of Gleason's history up through the time the book was originally published. As some 20 years have now passed since its publication, Gleason Online is providing a "History Update" feature, for each section of the book, for those wishing to add important historical information relevant to the Gleason community. Contributions can be submitted via E-mail attachment by clicking on the "Website Visitor Comments" graphic, provided above.


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