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The Barlow Store

John Geiselman
From his book "Reflections"

I previously wrote about the Creamery, that was just north of the Rock Creek bridge. After the Creamery closed it was made into a store. This store was opened sometime during 1929. I know it was here during the summer of 1930, the year the Taneytown Road was built through Barlow from Round Top to the Maryland line.

The first storekeeper was Clarence Fair. Many of his friends called him "Jumbo". He was quite a stout man with a very nice personality. Jumbo had been in the store business for quite some time. He ran a store on the Boyd Farm in their summer house which was near the Mt. Joy Lutheran Church. At one time he had a store in the Hamer house which was west of the old Rock Chapel.

During the summer months he would hold a banana auction. They would also auction watermelons, cantaloupes, and other green groceries that were in season, from a large truck. They had a fiddler or a banjo player who would play, sing, and sometimes tap dance for the people during intermission. These were held in the 1930's. It was quite a gathering place especially for the men. There was a big bench where they would sit and talk with each other.

Mr. Codori then bought the store and Bill Mellott rented the store for several years. Another renter was Tom Reed. He rented the store from 1947 to 1950. Reed had twelve children and in 1948 he built a home just north of the store. He sold the home to Mr. and Mrs. Amos Stull in 1952. Mrs. Stull still occupies the home as of this writing.

John and Ruth Witherow bought the store in 1955. His store handled a large line of green groceries, canned goods, and sporting goods. They also issued hunting and fishing licenses. All in all it was an outstanding store. Mr. and Mrs. Witherow stood ready to help anyone with their needs at all times. They handled a full line of Texaco products and accessories. Two of the years that Witherow owned it, Leroy DeGroft rented and ran the store.

The Witherows sold the store to John and Romaine Kehr Maring in 1964. The Marings owned a farm on the west side of the Taneytown Road just across from the store. They ran the store until 1970. It was then known as "Maring's Grocery".

I knew the Marings from the time they were married in 1941 and came to live here at Barlow. They were good friends and neighbors. John Maring was a member of the Barlow Fire Company. Often, when he plowed his fields, I'd ask permission to search for arrowheads. I found many there and I also found a prize banner stone I have in the museum. The Marings had two children, Mary Ellen and Gary. The family were members of Mt. Joy Lutheran Church where Romaine still attends to this day.

The Marings sold the store to Mr. and Mrs. Homer Brown. They ran it from 1970 to 1974. When the flood of 1972 (Agnes) came the water surrounded the store. Later that same year, Mr. Brown was killed in an automobile accident. Mrs. Brown ran the store until 1974 and later it was torn down.

Another flood came after the store was gone in 1976. I remember this time very well. Some boys jumped in the creek and got caught in the current. They went under the bridge and continued on down the creek in the swift running water. The only reason they got out was because of a sharp turn in the creek down stream toward the Benner farm. The fast moving current washed them into the bank hard enough for them to take hold and get out... a happy ending indeed!

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