Whats in Store
"What's In Store" There is nothing plain about Warren Plains NC when it comes to history. Warren Plains was a very active social hub in Warren County back in the day. The Warren Plains community embraced and supported the 1863 Warren Plains train depot which was part of the historic Raleigh and Gaston Railroad. In its heyday, Warren Plains consisted of three general merchandise stores, a post office and the residential houses of those responsible for the day to day management of this unique community. All three standalone general stores (owned by the Frazier, Hester and Davis families) as well as the post office were situated parallel to the old depot and track line. A true survivor in every sense of the word, the Hester store is the only one of the three original general merchandise stores that still exists in Warren Plains today.
The old Hester store was owed and operated by George Washington Hester and his wife Elizabeth A. Hester. George was born Aug 14th 1869 and died April 5th 1937. Elizabeth (Lizzie) whose maiden name was Ridout was born Feb 1st 1879 and died Sept 7th 1938. The Hesters were married February 26th 1899 in VanceCounty, North Carolina and lived in Warren County during the years 1910 through 1937. George and Elizabeth had four children; George Lee born 1900, William Edward born May 1st 1902, Lucy born Nov 6th 1905 and Mary Elizabeth born Nov. 1st 1913.
The Hesters were an integral part of the Warren Plains community responsible for promoting commerce in Warren County during the early 1900’s. After their death in the late 1930’s, their store was used as tenant housing, a practice popular with the other Warren Plains store owners as well. The upper level of the old Hester store was called home by Elton and Elizabeth Gupton and their seven children; Virginia, Edith, Evelyn, Francis, Margaret, Elton (Buck) and Louis (Walter) during World War II.
A particular story of interest that is unique to the old store is one told by Margaret Robertson the third youngest child of the Guptons. One summer day, young Margaret was playing on the balcony of the old Hester store with her little brothers when they heard the whistle of an approaching train. Margaret and her brothers stopped playing and watched curiously as the old train come to a steam billowing stop at the depot. Most trains during the war just passed through Warren Plains so any stop at the depot at that time was an event. Margaret watched as a lone figure dressed in a white navy uniform disembarked from the train and walked with purpose toward the old store. As the sailor got closer, Margaret and her brothers knew a homecoming was in order as she realized that the lone serviceman was her father Elton Earl Gupton back from a tour of duty, serving with The United States Navy. Margaret says that the memory of that day is so vivid its as if it took place yesterday, no doubt,no doubt.
She also remembers playing with an inquisitive little boy named Charles Jr. whose mother and father, Margaret Frazier Rose and Charles P. Rose Sr. lived in the upper level of the adjacent Frazier store, which is no longer standing. Margaret lost contact with Charles Jr. when her family moved from the Warren Plains area. That inquisitive little boy went on to make a name for himself as an American TV host and journalist by the name of Charlie Rose, the current co-host of "CBS This Morning" and "60 Minutes"! (2014)
Photographer's note - The Margaret Robertson in this story is my mother in law, the same lady that everyone has graciously been praying and showing concern for during her battle with cancer. She currently is doing well. Thank you for all your prayers.