I’ve been able to find very little information about Matthews. It was well established by the late 19th century and was incorporated in 1904, though the area was likely inhabited much earlier. Hubert Bowman notes: My uncle…purchased the bank building and lived in it for awhile. I have spent many nights in that building with my cousin Jeff Jones. They are now in the sod business.
This general store is built in the same style as the one pictured in the next post, located on the other end of Oak Street. Jenny Pennington, at the suggestion of Lynn Walden Williams shared a history of Matthews first posted on the Remembering Wrens Facebook Page and which was very enlightening. It’s a compilation of memories of the town from some of the oldest members of the community including Jenny’s parents Herbert and Sara Pennington, Bessie Neal Jones, Dorothy Barrow Atwell and H.C. Stewart, Jr. The history notes that the store was built by Levin A. Ganus who partnered with William A. Tarver as Ganus & Tarver, Dealers in General Merchandise. The partnership only lasted a year, but the Ganus family operated the store and post office for many years.
According to Hubert Bowman, there is a different history [it is possible that I have misidentified the stores]: The Jones store was my Great grandfather’s. I was born there in 1960 and lived in my Grandfathers house next door. My Grandfather Hubert Jones ran the store and was a very famous butcher. He aged beef and people would drive for miles to get his beef. The store sold tractor parts, pharmacy items and food. I lived with my mom and Grandparents until I was 2 when my father returned from Japan. The Jones General store was the hub of the community and voting booths were used there during elections. Saw Lester Maddox governor of Georgia give a speech on the front porch of the store. After Granddaddy died my aunt who was the postmaster moved the post office into it from across town. Lots of memories in that store. Every summer when school was out I would go to stay with my Grandparents for three months. I sat around the benches around the potbelly stove and listened to all the farmers talk.
Thanks to Keith McLendon for first identifying it as the post office, noting it was open until about 15-10 years ago.
Like its twin down the street, it’s possible that this may have also served as feed & seed/warehouse, but it’s certainly a good example of the common style of late 19th/early 20th century rural general stores.
The Augusta, Gibson & Sandersville Railroad ran track through Matthews in the mid-1880s and built a depot around that time. There’s a similar depot in Mitchell, on the same line. Hubert Bowman notes: The train station was used during WW I I to bring German prisoners of war to work on the farms. When it ended my uncle purchased it and used it for seed storage on his farm. He was the County Farm extension agent and farm over 2000 acres at one time.He also had a huge hog production facility.