NEW STORY. The African-American Farmer - "One Small Story" by David R. Campbell. It's difficult to imagine that less than ninety years ago that eighty percent of Americans lived and worked on farms and in rural communities and that yet today less than four percent of our population call America's farms their home. read more...
Originally located on the edge of long ago plantations, this ancient frontier store complex has been recovered and moved to the former "Globe Tavern and Inn Stagecoach Stop" in Fort Gaines, Georgia. Endorsed by Museum curators as, "one of a kind in America." ... Imagine if you will that you have traveled back in time to the "1840s" and have entered a frontier country store (see close-up photos here) with it's petticoat counters, wooden cash registers, antique post office, grist mill, tobacco twister, velvet bean sheller and over 4,000 artifacts (many of which are the only surviving artifacts in the U.S. today, three dimensional documents of frontier life, all worn by human hands, all authentic and original. That's what you will experience when you visit Suttons Corners Frontier Country Store Museum. See more photos here.
From the 1840’s through the post-civil War South, the country store was an intimate and functional part of the social and economic lives of its customers. It was the hub of the local universe — market place, banking and credit source, recreation center, public forum, and news exchange. Literally, everything from swaddling clothes to coffins, from plow shares to Christmas candy, from patent medicines to corsets was included in its inventory. The storekeeper was all things to his community, and if his credit practices sometimes smacked of usury, who would have advanced credit on shaky liens or promissory notes secured by unplanted crops of cotton and tobacco? Through three generations, the Suttons did just that, commencing their fortunes selling off the back of a mule wagon. This historical museum is far more than a nostalgic look at an almost vanished institution. It reveals the economic importance of the frontier country store to the southern economy, balancing its romance and color with the grim realties of surviving in the frontier days.
Our visit with you at the museum was a very entertaining and educational experience. You spun the story about that time in history and had us spell bound. It was like being in your store in the 1850's buying merchandise needed for our daily needs and gathering the news.
It was a wonderful learning experience as well as entertaining. We hope that what we learned from you can be applied to our museum.
Nancy Wetherby, Curator, Louisville, KY
May 1, 2006
Commencing in the pioneering days of the 1840's until it abruptly closed in 1927, with the accidental death of the last Sutton, through three generations the Suttons literally never changed a thing, there was no modernization; and for a simple reason, "It worked." — as historians say, "A true portrait of frontier life - an unforgettable American moment."