“Remembering Fairfield County’s rural stores.”
City Directories and History: Another of Fairfield County’s numerous rural stores that catered to a small geographic area and financially did well until the demise of cotton and the mass migration of African Americans to urban settings and job opportunities in the northeastern sections of the United States.
Someone needs to write a book on the history of Blair but where would they begin? The whole story of Blair would have to include but not limited to: The native Americans, the stories around the Broad River, the old timers lead by Frazier’s, Blair’s, Ragsdale’s, Owens’, & Henderson’s gathering along the shoals in the Lyles Ford area, seining & phone shocking for catfish in order to have their periodic community feast. The store owner’s of that time would contribute supplies & ingredients for community July 4th pig pickins. The history of the original settlement Lyles Ford, the railroad and some unknown people stealing fuzee flares from the little maintenance carts they parked beside the railroad for weekend entertainment, the hobo who killed Sheriff Dickey, the rock quarry and it’s original Swedish ownership. The local kids got a huge kick in hearing the Swedes speak. A hobby of fishing – swimming in the rock quarry for about a decade with my late cousin Michael Plampin, the boll weevil is what put Blair Frazier Company out of business in 1921, the Champion International’s wood yard (my granddad, J.K. Ragsdale managed & retired from) would bring pulpwood trucks into Blair from miles around, the R.M. Blair store and all of its multiple toilet paper holders in the bathroom to choose from & a sign to just ask if you needed more, Ragsdale’s store – Claude Jr., keeping a mattress in there so he could sleep waiting on the next customer. I remember walking into Ragsdales store many times just to get a cookie out of the bulk cookie bin & saying “just put it on Pop’s account”. And apparently there were two Henderson family stores that I know nothing about. Jack Robinson was the ferry keeper back in the day. SCE&G & their imminent domain over the river bottoms is large in my eyes. Then we have all the hunters that come in the fall, the Blair Community Library thanks to Frank & Lee Ona, the Blair School of Art, Sheriff Young – his dad Saul, had an ABC store in Blair in the 70’s or 80’s, and mention of the old wagon road are all parts of the community history needing to be explored. Oh, and a lot of the old structures in Blair, were built by a one armed man named Dick Wilkes back in the 20’s or 30’s.
Commentary and historic information contribution by Bryan Greer – 3.5.14
Mr. Dru Blair also commented: It was called “Blairs” until about the 1950’s, then shorted to “Blair,” as it remains today. The general store was … founded around 1870. The original store, a two story structure, burned around 1930, and the present one was rebuilt on the same site.
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