A Historical Column From The Fayette County Historical Commission and Fayette County Judge’s Office
The Stuermer Store, Ledbetter (Fayette County), Texas – Pt. 3
By David L. Collins Sr.
The old 1901 Stuermer Store general ledger and cash account ledger list the many African Americans from these communities who traded at the store 112 years ago. These ledgers can be seen in the magnificient museum that the Stuermers have created in their old store, which also includes a sampling of items that they sold, all of which helped to keep them in business for all of these years. These items include a variety of kitchen utensils, stoves and stove pipes, farm tools, a variety of work clothes, shoes, wash tubs, wagon wheels, canned goods, cotton seeds and vegetables seeds, to name a few.
A partial list of these land owners who migrated from Fayette County and still owned land in these Freedom Colonies are as follows:
1. Jones Colony – Jones, King, Felder, Mays and Seale.
2. Globe Hill Community – Thompson, Cheeks, Hodge, Ferguson, Enlow, Lewis, Ruffin, Hickey, Truitt, Felder, McDade, Anderson, Newton, Dockery, Wade, Jackson, Daniels, Shields, Larkin, King, Rivers and Bradshaw.
3. Pilgrim Community – Davis, Palmer, Cummings, Kelley, Ray, Thomas, Henley, Lewis, Chandler, McNeil, Patrick, Parker, Wilson, Baker and Walker.
4. Sweet Home – Stephey, Williams, Jones, Oliver, McNeil, McCoy, Sheppard, Rivers, Francis, Haywood, Wilson, Booker, Griffin, Williams and Daniels.
5. Antioch Community – Daniels, Griffin, Estes, Punchard, Huff, Oliver, Lewis, Blue, Jackson, Davis, Nunn, Higgins, Mayfield, Martin, McFarland, Bethany, Donovan, Wilson, Alcorn and Branch.
6. Post Oak Community – Brown, Griffin, Estes, Swain, McFarland, Scott, Patrick, Tarver, Kennedy, Guyton, Sheppard, Shipman, King, Hancock, Ray, Turner, Clemons, Simpson, Moore, Wise and Swain.
The oldest deaths recorded in these communities include:
•Abraham Jones – 1880, Jones Colony Cemetery.
•Kisiah Truitt – 1902, Globe Hill Cemetery.
•Julia Crenshaw – 1893, Post Oak Cemetery.
•Caroline Nash – Oct. 4, 1892, Sweet Home Cemetery.
•Bill Moody’s mother – 1880, Providence Cemetery.
•Willie Lee Brown – Nov. 15, 1879, Salem Cemetery.
•Nina Nunn – Jan., 15, 1883 and Lucy Gentry, March 24, 1883, Antioch Cemetery.
As I reviewed the ledgers, I noticed that all of my ancestors, including grandfathers, great-grandfathers, aunts and uncles, purchased their goods at Stuermer’s Store on a running credit account of monthly charges and monthly payments.
This brief history of the Stuermer Store is part of an ongoing search of my family history.
In 1996, I just happen to stop by the store. In doing so, I interviewed Mrs. Lillian Lenora Stuermer-Dyer in an effort to find out where my great-grandmother, Katie Rivers-Taylor ,was buried. Katie Rivers-Taylor was married to John Wesley Taylor, and this marriage resulted in four children. Just prior to 1900, they separated, and I was told by my aunt, Katie Taylor-Griffin, that Katie Rivers-Taylor was remarried to Henry Shields. From this marriage one child was born, Lena Shields-Byrd, who grew up in Ledbetter until her late teens, and then married and moved to Houston’s 4th Ward, and finally settled in Oakland, Calif., where she passed away in 1994.
In relating this story to Mrs. Stuermer-Dyer, she indicated that Henry Shields was a longtime employee of the Stuermer’s Cotton Gin operations and transported several bales of cotton each year by wagon train to La Grange for shipment to U.S. and overseas markets. She did not know where he lived when he retired; however, she did mention to me, with emphasis, that he spoke perfect German.
This short story is part of an ongong search for my ancestors, and my family would appreciate any information from those who may have additional knowledge or documents to share on my family.
The next segment will be on my great-uncle, William Roderick Little, a blacksmith, and probably the only blacksmith in the city of Ledbetter. He was married to Lovie A. Truitt of the Globe Hill Community.
Sources: Editing by Carolyn Heinsohn; Blume, Kermit, “Ledbetter, Texas,” Fayette County Texas Heritage, Vol. I, Curtis Media, 1996; census records for 1870, 1880, 1900, 1910, 1920, 1930 &1940 from Ancestry.com; deed records, county clerk’s offices, Fayette County & Lee County; Lee County cemetery records, Lee County Historical Society; personal interviews, research & family history; Stuermer Store & Museum, Ledbetter.