1928 - Alderson High School - 1968


Mr. Townley: Businessman
Barry Worrell 08

When Ward Parker suggested Mr. Townley’s 1939 blue coupe as a poll question, I hadn’t thought of him in many years. As little tykes, we were run out of his store many times. In my memory he was a tall wiry gentleman, dressed in a suit. Just another one of Alderson’s businessmen.

The Townley family lived in Ronceverte, in a big house on Walnut Street closed to where 219 turns left to cross the Greenbrier River. That is a fact that I can verify for my aunt’s house was almost across the street and I could see the Townley home when I visited her. The Townley’s also had a store in Ronceverte and as the story goes, to give our Mr. Townley something to do, they set him up in business in Alderson. At least that’s what I was told. I always had the impression it also was to keep him away from the main Townley family. They must have subsidized him for I don’t ever remember many people going in there except us kids.

Mr. Townley’s store was narrow and long, and packed with cheap merchandise. We used to go in and ask for stupid items such as, “striped paint and left-handed monkey wrenches”. Then Mr. Townley would run us out of the store. This went on for a while, almost a routine until he changed up on us. When we would ask for these “items”, he started using the phrase, “No, but I have a car load coming in tomorrow”. For us as regulars, we stopped asking for theses items for it wasn’t fun any more. Mr. Townley had got the best of us on that joke.

The front of Mr. Townley’s store was blue. The same color as his 39 coupe. This was no coincident. He periodically hand-painted his store, and while he was at it; he painted his car at the same time. We used to laugh at the fact he would use house paint on a car. The paint must have been an inch thick after several paintings.

I don’t remember what happen to Mr. Townley. Did he die in Alderson? Did he go back to Ronceverte? When did this occur? What kind of person was he? Did he have friends? I don't know, and that’s the sad part.

Mr. Townley recollections:

Mr. Townley went to the Methodist Church and sang in the Choir.

One sister is remembered as being from Clifton Forge.

Another sister, would call him weekly. There was no phone in his store so she'd call Lobbans Store and they in turn would allow Mt T. to use theirs. His sister would harangue him and give him all sorts of advice and his only remarks would be "yes, sister, you're right".. for between 1/2 and one hour! When she hung up finally, he'd say, "woman don't know what she's talking about"!

He lived in Miss Minnie Harwood's Boarding House.

[Thanks to John & Pearl McCurdy, and Bill Simmons]

More Townley recollections:

Another bit of info on Mr. Townley. He called the car "little blue bird", but he pronounced it like "lil blu bud". If you bought a piece of his cheap merchandise and it broke in the store, he would refund or replace. But, if you were outside on the sidewalk, it was YOURS, tough luck. I remember my mother would not buy thread, yarn, handkerchiefs or anything like that from him, but she bought needles and buttons there sometimes. I think the prices were old like the merchandise. I remember some of the toys he had were stamped tin from Japan, and he sold me a rubber water gun for a nickel that disintegrated when I walked out of the store and squeezed it. My tough luck! So a few weeks later when we were in the store, I sneaked over and squeezed several of them on display, with the same results I had with the one he sold me. Served him right!

For A. H. S. Ever Always - In Every Way For A. H. S.