The Rock Hill Herald reported on Oct. 13, 1900 – “The mammoth store of S.M. Jones and Co., in Chester is quite impressive. Including the extensive cellar, the store has four stories. It is divided into departments and is elegantly fitted up. The floor space amounts to about 200,000 sq. feet.”
City Directories and History: 1908 – S. M. Jones and Company, 1940 – Clark Furniture Company, (109.5) Clark Building, John N. Gaston, Joan Beauty Shop,
Marion F. Matkins, 1958 – Kimbrell’s of Chester, (109.5) Frank R. Pavese, 1978 – Wingate Company
Once housed a large building known as the Gunhouse-Straus-Jones-Clark Building. Erected in 1873, for I.L. Gunhouse Co., a mercantile business. In circa 1882 S.M. Jones came to Chester to work at the store and with Mr. Myer Wachtel purchased it and operated it as the S.M. Jones and Company store. It was
destroyed by fire in November 1981. The facade was destroyed by wind before it could be stabilized. The best known and longest lasting business was that of S.M. Jones and Co., a general merchandise department store which was liquidated in 1924. The store was once of Chester’s finest establishments operated by owner, S.M. Jones and Managed by E.C. Stahn. In the late 19th century, anticipating Chester’s growth, the company had acquired some 1,200 acres in the Chester area for housing.
Later Clark Furniture and Hattie’s Book and Gift Shop occupied the building. At an earlier date, Mr. Pinchback, a cabinetmaker from London, England was located where the Wingate [The Wingate Company] Candle Co. is today. [Recollection of Chester – D.S. Mayes] *** AFLLC’s S.C. Artisans Database has William Pinchack as living near York, S.C. making coffins and carpentry, prior to moving to Chester, in the very early years of the 19th century. It is unclear as to why Ms. Mayes suggested he was from London. It appears he was a thriving cabinet maker and remained in Chester for years, before leaving for Newberry, S.C. Mr. Pinchback is the “attributed” builder, of three identical, known Chester County flat-back walnut cupboards. Though his name is not inscribed on them, he is the only individual having been documented in Chester, at the time these cupboards were built as a known cabinet maker. He was in the right place, at the right time, and with correct knowledge to have executed them!
Interestingly the Mills Atlas of ca. 1820 also states that the area had a Pinchback’s Mill. It was common practice for many mill owners to have also built furniture and other household needs with the lumber from their mill. It is unclear however as to if there existed any relationship between the Pinchback Mill and the furniture maker, William Pinchback.
One of the cupboards remained in the Graham House, next to the Chester Courthouse for decades. It is now in the permanent collection of the Cultural and Heritage Commission of York County, S.C. The other cupboards are in a private collection. (Information courtesy of the AFLLC Collection)
Also see a receipt for the Hardin Account dated Oct. 22, 1902 under the More Information links, found under the primary image.
“The amount of business done here during the past commercial year was about $700,000, of which S.M. Jones & Co. and Joseph Wylie & Co. did about $100,000 each. In addition to these two large firms, we have the prominent firms of W. Holmes Hardin & Co., W.T.D. Cousar & Son, Culp & Irwin, Crawford & Blake, R. Brandt & Son, J.J. & T.B. Stringfellow, Gregg & Means, J.S. Calvin, Hafner Bros., J.D. Ratterree, W. H. Rosborough, E. C. Stahn, L. Samuels, Gunhouse & Co., Fishel & Walker, A. H. Davega, S. B. Massey & Son, and several smaller firms.”
Reprinted from South Carolina in the 1880s: A Gazetteer by J.H. Moore, Sandlapper Publishing Company – 1989
“Samuel Morgan Jones, second son of John Harvey and Rachel Jarboe Jones was born March 25, 1855 in Davidsonville, Maryland, Anne Arundel County. In 1881 Strass Brothers, a wholesale dry goods concern in Baltimore, Maryland, sent Morgan Jones to Chester, South Carolina to manage a large department store they owned in Chester. Later he bought this business and had Mr. Meyer Wachtel as a partner, under the name of S.M. Jones Company. They also dealt extensively in the cotton business.
On January 3, 1889 he married Miss Dora Johnson Brown, daughter of Franklin Henry and Mary Johnson Brown of Tirzah, York County, South Carolina.
Mr. Jones served Chester as Mayor three terms from May 4, 1887 to May 3, 1893. Later when the town put in water works and electric lights, Mr. Jones, T.H. White and J.L. Glenn, Sr., were Commissioners of Public Works. At the time of his death Mr. Jones was a director of the Aragon-Baldwin Cotton Mills, and served in that capacity for several years.
He was deeply interested in the Chester Library and gave generously for its support. For a time he was a trustee of the Presbyterian College at Clinton, South Carolina but declined re-election when his term expired. He was a large and liberal contributor to his church, and was ordained an elder of the Church.
He was an Honorary Member of the Chester Rotary Club and served as Vice- President of the Chamber of Commerce.
He was always sympathetic with people less fortunate than he. For instance, on one occasion when he was walking to his business, with very deep snow on the ground, he met an old man on York Street going back to the Chester County Home where he resided. This old man had his feet wrapped with croker sacks to keep them war. Mr. Jones told him to go with him to the store (S.M. Jones and Company). There he fitted him out in new shoes and warm clothes.
He gave a lot on Reedy Street for a school building, which was named Dora Jones School in honor of his wife Mrs. Jones.
He died in his seventy-seventh year of age after having lived a full and useful life. ”
(Information in part from: Chester County Heritage Book, Vol. I, Edt. by Collins – Knox, Published by the Chester Co Hist. Society – Jostens Printing, 1982)
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