History of Leeds Mercantile
Contributor: Gina369 Created: 1 year ago Updated: 1 year ago
30 N. Main Street
Leeds, UT 84746
William Barbee operated a little store called the Barbee Mercantile at the place where Emil Graff later built the Leeds Mercantile.
Emil J. Graff owned different businesses and a large amount of land between Hurricane and Cove Fort. He started the Leeds Mercantile.
Walter & Jesse Eagar came to Leeds in the fall of 1928 to become managers of Leeds Mercantile. They struggled to make a living through the Great Depression and finally gave in up in 1932.
In 1932, Charles & Kate Allen decided to trade their home to E. J. Graff for the Leeds Mercantile. They had living quarters in the back of the store and raised two children there: Alene and Stewart. Kate was the main person running the store until she had a heart attack in 1960 and her health began to fail. Then Alma Weeks ran the store for her. Kate died in September of 1961 and Alma continued running the store.
William & Ethel Lackner bought the store from Charles Allen in April of 1964.
Roger & Marsha Ruesch bought the store from the Lackners on March 8, 1971.
Bob & Pat Williams took over the store on November 1, 1973.
Sometime later, Rex Marx bought the store from the Williams. They only had the store for about a year.
Veannetta Laub rented the store from Rex Marx. But she couldn't make ends meet, so she also became the Leeds postmistress. The two things turned out to be to much for her, so she gave up the post office. Veannetta moved her little store to the new Carl Howard Shopping Center. Not long after that, she went out of business entirely.
The building is currently used for the Bric-A-Brac Shoppe, a consignment shop for antiques and collectables.
Memories of my Grandparents
Contributor: Gina369 Created: 1 year ago Updated: 1 year ago
Memories of my grandparents, Charles Erastus Allen and Kate Alene Spendlove Allen
By William Dee Cuff
Charles Erastus Allen was born on 29 April 1893 in Orderville, Kane, Utah.The following information is taken from Utah Department of Administrative Services, Division of Archives and Records Service, about the settling of Orderville:
“Orderville, settled in March 1875, was the most successful and longest-lived united order community established during the united order movement promoted by Brigham Young in the 1870s. As part of this experiment in communal living, Young organized orders in many Southern Utah communities including Kanab and Mt. Carmel in Kane County. When these orders floundered for lack of unity, members who were anxious to continue the experiment selected a new site and established a new community especially dedicated to the establishment of a united order. Members of Orderville's order not only owned all things in common, but for several years ate in a common dining hall where food was served from a common kitchen. Orderville's united order initially prospered, but challenges arose during the decade of the 1880s and the order was discontinued in 1890. Orderville became an incorporated town in 1935.”
Grandpa Allen was born three years after the United Order was discontinued to Erastus Snow Peter Allen and Mary Amanda Sapp. He lived there until the winter of 1923-24. I know this because my mother told me that she was born in Orderville but moved to Hurricane when she was just a few months old. I assume they moved sometime during the winter of 23/24 because my mother told me that she was less than a year old and that it was during a rather nasty winter storm. In the midst of falling snow, my grandparents loaded up a wagon, bundled up their tiny daughter, and traveled from Orderville over the mountain to Hurricane to make their home.
Kate Alene Spendlove (Grandma Allen) was born on 4 November 1900 in Virgin, Washington, Utah, the daughter of Lorenzo James Spendlove and Ellen Elizabeth Isom. My mother (their daughter) took her given name from the middle name of Grandma Allen.
They were married in the St. George Temple on 28 March 1922. He was 29 years old, and she was 21. I am not sure how or when they met. It was probably sometime after he returned from fighting in World War I as she was eight years his junior.
I have two pictures of Grandpa Allen dressed in his Army uniform. He was drafted into the Army in 1917. His draft registration card provides some interesting points:
He was employed in Glendale, Utah, (a short distance from Orderville) by a man by the name of John H. Watson as a sheepherder. It also noted that “his father [is] able to care for family.”
Two years after they moved to Hurricane, Stewart S. was born.
The Allen's moved from Hurricane to Leeds when they traded their home in Hurricane for the Leeds Mercantile store in Leeds. The store had living quarters in the back of the store.
I recall that there was an old lady named Libby (I can’t remember her last name) who lived in Leeds. She would often come to the store. She lived all by herself in an old-looking house and seemed rather odd and perhaps suffered from being mentally ill. My mother told me a story about an encounter she had with Libby when my mother was a young girl and was minding the store. My grandmother had told my mother that if Libby ever came into the store that my mother was to keep an eye on her for fear that she would take something without paying. So my mother did as she was told and was diligently following Libby around the store. All of a sudden Libby turned to my mother and said, “You’re not going to let me get away with anything, are you?” I can just picture that in my mind.
I remember another rather strange man by the name of Jose (pronounced with a long o and silent e—rhymes with ‘dose’). He was probably in his 50's or 60's and lived in what my cousin Alene called a ‘cow coop’. Jose, who I was told was living on a $50 Army pension, would come into the store and buy a can of spaghetti and meatballs, or some other canned meat product that could be eaten right out of the can. He would then sit down in the shade by the store and eat. There used to be a bunch of wild cats (domesticated cats but that ran wild) that lived under the house portion of the store. Jose was the only person who I ever saw who was able to pet those cats. That is because he would share with them some of his canned food.
It was also a special treat for us when we would travel from my hometown of Marysvale to Leeds to visit my Grandparents. The trip seemed a lot longer back then because there were no four-lane highways. When we would get to about ten miles from Leeds, my mother would get us singing a song that went like this: Ten more miles to Grandma’s house; ten more miles to go-o; ten more miles to Grandma’s house; ten more miles to go-o. Mom would know the precise moment to change the lyrics as we counted down the miles.
Back then the Interstate had not been built and the main thoroughfare came right through Leeds. I remember waking up often during the night to the sound of the diesel semis that would sound their horn and light up the sky with their headlights as they would round the bend and pass just yards from where we were sleeping.
While Grandma Allen was running the store, Grandpa Allen kept busy running his dairy farm. He had a very gentle roan horse called ‘Patches’. Shortly after Grandma died, he sold the milk cows and dairy farm to the government, who was buying up all the land on the other side of the hill that runs the length of Leeds in order to build the Interstate highway.
Grandma had in heart attack sometime in 1960, and her health deteriorated after that. I was only nine years old at the time and am not sure if I attended the funeral. She died on 20 August 1961 in St. George. She was only 61 years old.
After Grandma Allen’s heart attack, Alma Weeks started running the store, and continued to do so until sometime in 1964 when Grandpa Allen sold the store and house and built a new home across the street from the old school house towards the other end of town. It had a nice back yard with rows of grape vines, different fruit trees, and a very large pecan tree in the front. Whenever we came to visit, we would take home buckets filled with pecans.
Grandpa Allen married Irma Martonne Patch Martin (twice widowed) on 24 December 1962. When I attended Dixie Jr. College in 1969-70, they would invite me up to their house quite often for Sunday dinner. I remember that Irma had a bell collection that she had displayed throughout her house, especially in the kitchen. Grandpa Allen was very good to me. He would pull me aside and slip me a $20 bill.
When I got married in 1974, we were not expecting them to attend the wedding all the way up in Provo (we hadn't really been expecting many to attend) but we were pleasantly surprised to see the sealing room at the Temple full of friends and relatives, including Grandpa Allen and Irma.
Grandpa Allen died on 30 May 1980 in St. George. I was in the Army at the time and was unable to attend the funeral. Irma followed him two years later.
(If anybody reads this who knows more about their early lives, how they met, his military service, etc., please email me so that I can amplify this ‘sketch’. Or you can post your own comments or add another story)