It's hard to know exactly when the first general store opened at what's now the intersection NC Highway 13 and Wrench/Tew road in the Mingo community of Sampson County.  But we do know this; at some point in the late 1800s William Sampson Jackson, (born March 9, 1853) the eldest son of Henry T. and Nancy Strickland Jackson, lived at the intersection mentioned above in the home inherited from his father.  the home still stands today, in the same location.     

In the 1880 Federal Census, he lists his trade as "Merchant". The oral history holds that "Samp," as he was called, and his wife Emma Cooper Jackson, ran a general store out of the front of the home, farmed, and worked in the turpentine industry.  By 1900, Samp had moved from the Mingo area to the town of Dunn, where he built a home on the corner of what's now South Magnolia Avenue and US Hwy 421.  He concentrated heavily on the turpentine business but ultimately ended up working for the US Postal Service.  William Sampson Jackson passed away on March 23, 1937 and Emma followed in November of 1943.  They are buried in Greenwood Cemetery located in Dunn.  The William "Samp" Jackson family home remained within the Jackson family after Samp's move to Dunn and was more than likely leased to other folks through the early 1900s.  Samp's brother, Jessie Martin Jackson, possibly watched over things at the property or purchased it after Samp's move.  It's unclear if the general store continued to be operated by others that leased the property, but chances are good that it probably was. 

The William "Samp" Jackson property was ultimately purchased by Herman Jackson (the nephew of Samp Jackson), who was the youngest son of Jessie Martin and Julia Jackson.  Herman and his wife Nellie Honeycutt Jackson, along with their three daughters Margaret, Ruth, & Frances, moved into the home around 1930.  The girls had all been born in the same room of a beautiful home built by their Grandfather, Jessie Martin Jackson, just a half mile or so up the road from the henry T. Jackson homeplace.  The girls would all later refer to their birthplace as "The Old Place."  That home was moved from its original location and beautifully restored by Pete and Amelia Wrench in 1974.  

The family ran the store out of the front of the home and lived in the rooms at the back of the house, just as Samp Jackson and his family had done years earlier.  My grandmother, Ruth Jackson Altman, was around 6 years old when the family moved.  she and Margaret and frances helped their parents in the store and on the farm as young girls.  Of the many memories my grandmother has of this time, one of the clearest sheds light on how they kept up with the monies their customers were paying for the goods they purchased, "Papa didn't have a cash register.  We used a muffin pan for the change and a cigar box for the paper money.  We had do to all the figuring for change in our head."  
In the 1930s modern conveniences as we know them were nonexistent.  South River EMC, the local electric cooperative, would not be chartered until 1941.  Still, there were comforts that the family enjoyed at The Old Place that weren't available after they moved into the Samp Jackson home.  One such convenience was a carbide lighting system. Carbide is an acetylene gas and, in the 1920s and 30s, it was commonly piped through homes to lanterns mounted in individual rooms and on porches.  At night the lanterns could be lit to provide light throughout the home and dispel a little of the darkness.  The Old Place had such a system, but darkness seemed to pervade after sunset at the girls' new home.  This darkness excited fear in young girls like my grandmother, "I remember it was so dark.  There was a long porch we had to walk down from the front of the house to get to our bedrooms at night.  Every night I'd open the door, look around, and run fast as I could till I got there."  

At some point in the mid to late 1930s, Herman Jackson constructed a building across the road from the house to serve as the store.  The part of the home that had been used for that purpose was turned into living space and ultimately made room for the aged parents of Herman and Nellie.  Also during this time period, a Delco Farm Light Plant was installed to provide light to the home and store. This was a kerosene powered DC generator that charged a battery bank and allowed the home and store to benefit from the modern conveniences of electric light and the use of certain appliances.  

Like most country stores, Herman Jacskon's Store was a community gathering place.  Pictures hanging in the present day building show men, young and old, sitting around a wood heater on crates and nail kegs "chewing the fat." According to my grandmother, it wasn't uncommon for the place to be full of people enjoying each other's company after dark.  Herman sold gas and oil as well as groceries, candy, soft drinks, dry goods, and hardware.  A ledger from this time period shows that most of the business was done on credit and payment was made by cash, livestock, etc. 

In the late 1940s, Ruth met Lewis Altman.  Lewis was one of 7 children (5 boys and 2 girls) from the Long Branch Church area of Harnett County.  The Altman farm was located on the property occupied by the present day Hardee World Truck Stop.  Lewis and his brother Howard operated a store on US 301 for a time, and he lent Ruth and her father Herman a helping hand as well.  Lewis and Ruth were married in 1950 and they moved in with Ruth's parents soon thereafter. The home had what was called a "preachers porch" which was a porch with a room only accessible from a door off of the porch.  It was completely cut off from the interior of the home and was originally used for travelers like preachers, who moved from church to church on a circuit via horseback or wagon.  Lewis and Ruth made this their home until they built their own place on the opposite side of the store.  This room on the front of the house was advantageous because they were able to hear the horns from the tractor trailers that they fueled.  My grandmother remembers, "The trucks would pass the house at all hours of the night and blow their horns and they would go down to the The Old Place and turn around.  By the time they got back Lewis would be up and across the road at the store to fill them up."

 Lewis and Ruth ran the store themselves after their marriage in 1950, allowing Herman the opportunity to retire to his farm.  In his later years, Herman was wheelchair bound after possibly suffering a stroke.  HERMAN JACKSON PASSED AWAY IN 1965 AND HIS WIFE NELLIE IN 1977.  

Our story begins with Henry Thomas Jackson; he was born in 1822 in Sampson County.  We don't know much about him prior to 1846, but we do know that he established the roots of our family at our current location.  It was in 1846 that he made land purchases from Archibald CoLquehon and Daniel McCoquadol totaling approximately 282 acres.  Looking at the tracts overlaid on a map from today, the approximate center point of his property would have been at the intersection of what is now US Hwy 13 and Wrench/Tew Road.  Henry was married to Nancy Jane Strickland and they show up in the 1850 Federal census in the northern district of Sampson County, Mingo Township, Hawley's Store Post Office district.

In 1863 Henry was conscripted into service by the Confederate Army and sent to Hendersonville, NC where he served with the NC 6th Calvary, Company E, which was attached to the 65th Regiment of the North Carolina State Troops. He was drafted at 41 years old and thankfully his military career was uneventful and short lived.

While he was away, Federal forces under the command of General William T. Sherman passed through the area on their way from Fayetteville.  They would ultimately meet Gen. Joseph E. Johnston at the Battle of Bentonville.  While foraging for supply, the army stopped and encamped at Henry's farm on March 16th or 17th, 1865. Testimony from his wife Nancy and one of his oldest sons, William Sampson Jackson, to an agent of the United States Southern Claims Commission gives us an idea of what they experienced:

Testimony from Nancy Jackson:
-"Generals (Oliver) Howard, (John) Logan and (? unreadable) were present...She (Nancy) went to general (?) and asked him to please stop the soldiers from taking all she had.  His response was if he stopped them, others would take. But he placed a guard in the dwelling to prevent the things being taken out of it." 
-"(Nancy) says they encamped all over the farm, in the yard and kitchen; it was said to be Gen. Sherman's Army.  They came on or about the 16th of March 1865 and stayed 4 days.  (She says) she heard some skirmishing the day before they came, about 3 & 1/2 miles off."

Testimony from William Sampson Jackson:
-"(William) says he supposes it (the goods) was taken in consequence of the failure of the government to furnish the necessary supplies, because they said they were obliged to take it."
​-"(William) says he supposes it was taken from necessity and the necessity justified the taking."

Henry listed the following items in his claim for reimbursement, which he valued at $614.50 ($8,600 today).  8 lbs. of bacon, 25 bushels of corn, 5 lbs. of dry fodder, 30 chickens, 8 head of cattle, 24 hogs, 16 sheep, 1 mare, 1 saddle.  

Nancy Strickland Jackson passed away in 1901 and Henry passed in 1912.  They are both buried in the Jackson Family cemetery off of Highway 13.  They had A very large family; 12 children consisting of 6 boys and 6 girls.  We'll narrow these down to two of the boys, William Sampson Jackson & Jessie Martin Jackson. ​​​​​​​​


By:  Aaron B. Jackson

​February 6, 2017

"If you would not be forgotten, as soon as you are dead and rotten; Either write things worthy of reading, or do things worthy of writing." — Benjamin Franklin

Most of this write-up about the early days of our Jackson family in the Mingo Community was put together from bits and pieces of information from several sources. is a wonderful tool for anyone interested in researching their family history. That is where I began, and was very surprised to find that most of the heavy lifting had already been done in part by cousin T. Wayne Wrench.  Most of the cousins heard many things from Aunt Margaret and Aunt Frances about the early history of our family and, thanks to Wayne, the voids and holes that exist in the oral history are being filled.  A special thanks is also due to cousin Kevin James Jackson, who's technical expertise has enabled us to literally "get a picture" of what things looked like in the area 75 years ago.  The source I relied upon the most for history about the store is my grandmother, Ruth Jackson Altman who, while in her 90s, can remember clearly when, "Papa moved us from The Old Place to Uncle Samp's house to run the store."

After much prayer and soul-searching Bruce and Ruthie and Don and Laurie decided to purchase The Grocery Barn from their mother, Ruth Altman.  They made several improvements to the building.  The original structure built by Herman Jackson was still there, but it had been renovated and added on to over the years.  The new foursome of owners decided to add another addition to the building and a bright red tin roof and vinyl.  The two couples worked together running the store by sharing the responsibility of weekend work.  Laurie began to work at the store full time shortly after Ruth retired.  Soon Ruthie and Bruce would be working there full time as well.  

In the late 1990s Bruce Ruthie, Don and Laurie began to consider the possibility of expanding the business.  Surveys of regular customers were conducted and the main desire of thegroup was always the addition of a grill.  This was a leap for the new owners, who had no food service experience. But the main hurdle to making it happen was space; there just wasn't enough room in the current building to accommodate a grill.  Additionally, the floors and foundation of the original 1930s structure were in bad shape.  There seemed to be two choices before them:  stay the same, with the same building and continue offering the same product, Or build a new building, grow, and begin to offer new products in addition to the ones already offered.  The decision was made and ground was broken in 2000 for a new building.  Bruce and Ruthie joined Laurie at the store full time after their careers at Kelly Springfield and North Carolina Natural Gas (respectively) were completed.  Don continued with his full time job, and at his family hog farm, and contributed many, many hours to getting the business venture off of the ground as well.  
The old store building was torn down by Terry Bass of Spivey's Corner and many folks from the community came out to see the landmark taken down.  Bruce and his late brother Robert Lee Jackson salvaged some of tongue-in-grove pine from the original structure and used it to make picture frames which hang in the building today.  A ribbon cutting ceremony was held in 2001, and the rest is history.

GroceryBarn & Grill

The Future

We hope you've enjoyed reading about our family.  We understand that we would not be here and in business without the Grace and Providence of God, and your trust.  We sincerely appreciate your patronage, and we thank you for allowing us to be a part of your lives.

Bruce, Ruthie, Don, & Laurie Jackson

Lewis Altman and Ruth Jackson were married in 1950 and began running Herman Jackson's store around that same time.  Prior to their marriage, Lewis was in the store business with his brother Howard at Jackson's Corner (the intersection of mingo church rd and hwy 13) and also AT A LOCATION ON HIGHWAY 301 NEAR RIVER ROAD in cumberland county. It was there, at 16 years old, that Troy Milton Wrench began a working relationship with the Altman Family that continues to this day.  They fueled trucks at the Hwy 301 and Herman Jackson's Store locations, and had a pretty brisk business.  at one point both of these locations were open 24 hours.  When Interstate 95 was completed, things changed drastically in the way of traffic (semi-trucks and otherwise) and the location on 301 was sold. Lewis and Ruth changed their focus to the grocery store business soon thereafter.  Between 1959 and 1968, Lewis and Ruth operated Herman Jackson's Store, as well as full service grocery stores that included meat markets and gasoline, on Skibo Road in Fayetteville and Cumberland Mills Road near Hope Mills.  It was during the mid-1960s that many will remember the two monkeys, Dot and Suzy that were the main attractions at Herman Jackson's store for school-aged children.  Also during this time period, Lewis and Ruth began their family.  Ruthie Lou Altman was born in April of 1958 and Laurie Sue Altman in may of 1962.  Both remember well traveling from store to store and working behind the counters.  It was during this time that they learned the importance of a strong work ethic and the value of work in general.  With a husband and wife team, there weren't enough hands to keep Herman Jackson's store going.  During this period the store was leased to several individuals, including Mr. Bobby Lee who operated it for a time.  The building was also used as a fabric shop for a short period.  

In 1971, after selling the two grocery stores in Cumberland County, Lewis and Ruth re-opened a store called The Grocery Barn at Sills Crossroads (the intersection of Hwy 421 and Greenpath Road).  Here, while working at the counter, Ruthie met Bruce Jackson, the son of William Robert and Marie Jackson, who lived nearby. They would marry in 1976.

In May of 1984, Lewis and Ruth made the decision to re-open Herman Jackson's Store under a new name; The Grocery Barn.  They concentrated all of their efforts there and were blessed with a very successful business.  They stocked a little bit of everything; from groceries to light hardware.  The store continued to be a local gathering place, just as it had been in the previous two generations.  

Laurie Altman and Don Jackson married in November of 1992.  It was a beautiful ceremony that Lewis and Ruth enjoyed immensely and were very proud to be a part of.  Laurie and Don had just enough time to catch their breath when, very suddenly, on December 7 1992, Lewis Altman passed away.  It was a shock to the entire community and his wake and funeral service was attended by many friends who were customers of the Altmans.  Ruth Altman carried on at the store with lots of help from faithful friends Troy Milton Wrench and Sylvia Wrench Jackson, until August of 1995.  Ruth decided that it was too much for her to handle on her own; she was ready to retire.