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BY MIKE AVITT
I believe this week’s photo was taken in the early 1950s and shows Clyde Brand wearing a Standard Oil cap. A Red Crown gasoline pump appears on the far right and the Prugh-Dunfee Funeral Home can be seen on the upper left. Thanks to Mari McGehee for this great picture.
This filling station was built in 1920 and opened in late November of that year, just a few weeks after the opening of Community Service Station on the south side of the Mount Ayr square. These were the first two filling stations in Ringgold County.
Alex Endsley was the first manager of this station and around 1931, V. L. Whitmore bought it. Whitmore had the firm for about 15 years before selling it to Hale Miller in November 1946. Jay Liles bought it in 1949 and sold the business to Clyde Brand on March 1, 1952. Clyde closed Brand’s Service Station on October 19, 1990. So, 70 years in the same building. I think only the Tingley Service Station has a longer record in the same filling station. Ellston, Redding, Tingley, and Kellerton all have filling stations still standing that were built in the 1920s.
The building that is the Prugh-Dunfee Funeral Home in the photo, started out as a residence. I. J. Dalbey bought this house from William Thomas Timby in 1918, but I don’t know when it was built or by whom. A. C. Dunfee bought this property in June 1952 and Prugh-Dunfee Funeral Home had their formal opening on October 25 and 26, 1952. By 1973, Prugh-Dunfee was gone and Jake Dailey moved his furniture store into the building and was open by September 1973.
I have some space left so I’ll tell you my latest endeavor. Tony Mercer secured the resources and had some of Ringgold County’s past newspapers digitized and placed on the internet. I have really struggled to navigate the site so I haven’t gotten too much information yet, but I did find a biography of Isaac Keller (Kellerton is named for him) and a little bit about Harry Bedwell. Bedwell was a railroad station agent, turned author, in Kellerton’s early history.
I almost never do research prior to 1879 because there are no photographs nor railroads in Ringgold County before this date. But I sometimes find early historical accounts in newspapers from 1890 to 1925. I will let you know what I find.