In the mid-1800s, the village of Edray stood at the crossroads of the Marlin’s Bottom – Huttonsville Turnpike and the road to Clover Lick.
There were four stores there.
The Barlow and Moore Store building is the only one that remains today.
George P. Moore, the great-grandson of Moses Moore, was the proprietor for 64 years. He was a man for all seasons.
He was appointed postmaster at Edray by President Franklin Pierce in 1858. He was a Methodist minister, bank president, superintendent of schools and was involved in bringing the Beverly to Marlinton Telephone Company to this area.
He smoked cigars and had the first typewriter in “this country.”
The large two-store building, with a loading dock that extends across the entire front, stands close to the edge of Quarry Road.
Three doors open into the store. There is also a hole in the wall so the cat can come and go.
The interior is that of a general store – floor to ceiling shelves with a sliding ladder, pigeon holes for every variety of nails, large bins, several stoves and a very large safe.
The Edray Post Office was located on the first floor.
When you stand in the store today, it is not hard to imagine that this was a wonderful and interesting place in its day.
Before the railroad came to Ronceverte, supplies were procured at the Millboro, Virginia, Depot. It was a five-day round trip by horse and dray.
The old store was the “Walmart” of its day.
They sold everything – fabric, caskets, clothing, “soogar,” farm implements, furniture, patent medicine and much, much more.
Most of the transactions appeared to be on credit.
A patron would send a note requesting one pound of coffee and the note would read, “Oblige Me.”
There are many ledgers with detailed accounts. The names of many of the patrons are still recognizable today.
Early in the Civil War, Confederate Camp Edray was located just up the road from the store. A ledger reveals that forage, beef and blacksmithing services were sold to the CSA – Confederate States of America.
J. E. Barlow and G. P. Moore incorporated in 1867, and business was brisk in the years after the Civil War.
There was a lot of excitement at the store in 1916. The big safe was dynamited in the early morning hours of August 4. The burglars made off with cash and stamps from the post office, as well as many valuable items belonging to Mr. Moore.
As George P. Moore aged, his nephew A. R. “AB” Gay became the store manager.
The store closed in 1938, a victim of the Great Depression.
In later years, the store became a “playhouse” for the children of Edray.
Billy and Benny Gay left their autographs on the wall by a front door.
In 1981, the store was featured on a float in the Pioneer Days Parade.
In 1986, Katy Gay presented a social studies project, “Shopping at an Old Country Store,” and won Honorable Mention at the state level.
As time went by, the store was so stuffed with junk that is was hard to walk around inside.
Yet, after 150 years, the store still stands by the old road that climbs Elk Mountain.
It has been lovingly restored by George P. Moore’s great-great-niece Nancy Gay Steele.