Interview with Paul Gwaltney

Interview with Paul Gwaltney

Lots of background noise as we were in a restaurant in Smithfield.

We are just looking at two of the old books he had from the store.  The first one was a purchase log in the 1890’s and the second one was in the 1940’s.

5:00  we start talking about the store.  It was built before the civil war.  Stanley Richardson lived

Granddaddy bought the store in 1929 from Dr Eley although the Jones were running the store but Mr Jones had died and she needed to get rid of the store.  The store has been in the Gwaltney family for 81 years. (comes from second tape)

He was working for Cofer Cheverlot  but needed some time before he could make up his mind about buying the store.

He mentioned the horse racing machine he had in the store.  Mr. Gwaltney made enough money to pay for the store from that machine.

His final payment was made with silver dollars in two ten pound bags.

He would have six or seven people working in the store on Saturday.

There was a basement in the building which the real use was not readily available.  Paul seems to think it might have been a speakeasy.

Theodore Allen tore the gas tank down and Little Bill Whitley ran into the side of the store after the Prom.

Mr. Gwaltney born in 1900 in Windsor.  The house next to the store was built and occupied in XXXXX  They were living over the store first  and then with the Johnsons right after they got married.

Spunk was born XXXX  Mr Gwaltney named him Spunk because he was so spunky.

Mr. Gwaltney was named 92 but not sure how he got that name.

When Mr. Gwaltney got shot they got less than 50 dollars.  He was shot three times and walked to the house and told his wife then back to the store and was sitting on the counter when Dr Eley and Dr. Thomas came in to come help him.  He had lots of money in the store but the robbers did not know about that.

He then broke his hip and leg at different times.  When he was shot he was 70 years old and still looking after 125 head of hogs.

In order to get his liquor license to sell beer he had to have four bar stools.  Close abound was the coal stove and several chairs where lots of politicing went on.

Room adjacent to the store was used for dances etc on Saturday night.  When Lone Star was in business one Saturday a month they would meet at Mr. Gwaltneys store and drink several cases of beer.

Spunk met Martha when he was stationed in Baltimore in the USCG in 1952.  Debbie, Paul and Kent are the three children and all are living as is Martha.  Spunk died in 2009.

What one particular thing sticks out in your mind what would it be.  I knew everyone in Chuckatuck and just being in the store seeing everyone was just great.  I am very fortunate to have grown up in the village.  He has a lot of memories of the store.

He remembers killing hogs and having a basket full of hogs heads right in the store.  He would kill the hogs, smoke it and sell mean all year long.

He also owned the Pippin place just off Milner Road.

Currently Paul just own’s the home place.  Eloise, sister of Mr. Gwaltney is still living.

Paul worked for Portsmouth Gas but is currently self employed owning several restaurants over the past years and a construction company since 1981.

After Mr. Gwaltney passed Spunk took over the store and Jo Anne, a very nice negro lady helped him as well as Pam.  It was a speciality store getting hams cooked, boned and sliced.

Early on they had a big cooler in the store where he could store a full cow.  Might have been an Ice Cooler but not sure.

55:00  Talks about Asa Johnson’s glass eye.

Talks about Mr. Kirk giving his employees a due bill so they could buy groceries.

Interview stops at 61:00

Second part of interview 100921-002

Grammer School was built on land that Mr. Crumpler owned and possibly built in 1897.  High School was built in 1927 (24)

Mr Lawrence was the first principal at Chuckatuck High School while Dr. Eley was on the school board.

5:00  Talks about the Tent Show and ghost from the grave yard.

Leroy Howell thinks that Sandy Bottom got its name from the way the road was so sandy that you would get stuck in the sand even when it was dry.