That Old Cross-Roads Store

My Grandmother, Margaret (Millikan) McKinley wrote this poem July 26, 1934:

That Old Cross-Roads Store

It’s only that old cross-roads store,
The kind that isn’t seen much more.
A faded old sign swings over the door.
And many feet have trod its floor.

It makes no difference what you’ve come to buy,
You’ll find it there, tho’ the price be high.
And as you look around at the things that lie
About on the counter, you give a sigh.

It may be a bolt of print, some lace,
An old pan lid, or a flower vase
A dusty veil for an older face
Or a bit of candy in a worn show case.

It may be something in which to cook,
Or a more recent magazine or book,
It may be a lamp, or a fish hook.
Why there’s even a cat in a cozy nook!

The keeper is smiling, ever fair.
Seems like the whole country side drops in there.
When in want, to the old cross-roads store we tear,
And we know our need will be filled with care.

She indicated in her notebook that she wrote it “in honor of Uncle Lonny’s cross-roads store at Deming, Indiana.”


“Uncle Lonny” was actually her Great-Uncle Cornelius Arlonzo Boone. He was born November 9, 1858 in Indiana, one of the 3 sons of Paul Boone (1832-1917) and Nancy Estle (1835-1896). He married Sarah Ellen Glaze February 19, 1876 in Hamilton County, Indiana. They had 4 children, Bertha E. (1877-1970), Bessie M. (1882-1901), Edgar M. (1886-1960) and Blanche M. (1889-1968).

In 1880, per the US Census, Lon lived in Marion Twp., Boone County on the family farm. Lon shows up in the US Census in Jackson Twp, Hamilton county in 1900. His occupation was grocer. He lived in the Deming community, which is located about 7 miles North of Westfield. Grandma would have been living in Sheridan and to get to Deming she would have to go East about 7 miles.

Through the following census records, he is listed as a “retail merchant” in the “grocery” industry & a “merchant” with a “Country store.” Unfortunately, I do not know the exact location of his store.

I was recently in Indiana. I asked relatives if they remembered what Lon’s store looked like & where it was. They couldn’t remember much. My Great Aunt told me that the store and the family home were connected. I went exploring & followed the road to Deming. Actually, the community is only about the size of a neighborhood block. The church building is still standing, but it is a lodge meeting place now. A couple of houses had just been demolished, with the remnants still visible. There was one house at the cross-roads that could very well have been the store, but I don’t know for sure.

So I kind of wonder if “Uncle Lonnie’s” country store was a gathering place for the community—did men sit around and play checkers & swap stories; did children come in to get penny candy? Right now I guess I can only imagine what it was like. Grandma’s poem gives a little insight, though.

Lon died April 9, 1936 at the age of 77. He was buried in Spencer Cemetery in Hamilton County, IN.

© MJM 2017

Benjamin Stafford’s Bible

Benjamin Stafford, Morgan County, Indiana pioneer was my GGG Grandfather. As stated in a previous post, Benjamin was mentioned in two history books about Morgan County—The Counties of Morgan, Monroe & Brown, Indiana and The Pioneers of Morgan County, Memoirs of Noah J. Major.

Both books indicate that Mr. Stafford was a member of the Methodist Episcopal church. He reported that he had read his Bible through “nearly 50 times” from age 61 to 73. However, he did not learn to read until he was 40 years old.

I have a New Testament that is well worn with very little of the binding left. His name is in the front cover.

Perhaps this is the Bible that he read so many times. It obviously didn’t just sit on a shelf. The date under his name “February 2, 1872” could have been the date he received the Bible. He would have been 61 years old.

Two more pages from the Bible list the birth dates for Benjamin, his wife, Susan and their children.

Regardless of whether this is the Bible mentioned in the history books, it obviously belonged to Benjamin. To me it is another connection to this ancestor—to think that he held this book over 145 years ago. Pretty cool!

© MJM 2017