Store no more|Tingleville landmark torn down

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, December 1, 2009

A Warren County landmark passed into history Monday when Tingleville Store, the family-owned business that stood for six decades at Mississippi 27 and Gibson Road, was knocked down and hauled away in dump trucks.

“I’ve got mixed emotions,” said Lewis Tingle, 72, the son of H.W. Tingle, who built the store in May 1950. “I grew up there, but it had not been taken care of and just kept deteriorating. I’m glad to see it gone.”

H.W. Tingle’s granddaughter, Jenny Tingle Parker, who inherited the store and land from her father and Lewis’ brother, Donald, ordered the demolition after a lease-purchase deal collapsed.

Email newsletter signup

Sign up for The Vicksburg Post's free newsletters

Check which newsletters you would like to receive
  • Vicksburg News: Sent daily at 5 am
  • Vicksburg Sports: Sent daily at 10 am
  • Vicksburg Living: Sent on 15th of each month

“It makes me very sad,” Parker said. “I was glad my dad — and my grandfather — were not alive to see it in such bad shape.” Tenants had not kept up with repairs, she said. “They just let it fall apart.”

Country stores like Tingleville once dotted this county and others, said local historian Gordon Cotton. “Most were polling places, gathering places, because they occupied central locations in the county where people congregated. There was always a stove, and a few chairs for people to sit and talk. It was a much simpler time.”

Often, as with Tingleville Store, the store name became the community name, as in “they live out at Tingleville.”

Though she grew up in Meridian, Parker, 52, visited her grandparents in Vicksburg often as a girl. “We spent all our summers and vacations in Tingleville,” Parker said. “My grandparents lived in a brick house on Gibson Road, and we walked up to the store all the time.” Parker’s father moved back and took over the store from H.W. in the late 1970s, she said.

At one time H.W. Tingle owned five stores in the city and county, Lewis Tingle said — the one bearing his name and stores on Monroe Street, on Warriors Trail, in Waltersville and at Eagle Lake.

With 10 sons and three daughters, there was plenty of help. “All my brothers and sisters ran stores,” Lewis Tingle said. He worked at Tingleville from the time he was 12 until he went to college in 1956, he said.

“A truck full of cottonpickers would stop by occasionally,” said Virginia Townsend, H.W. Tingle’s youngest daughter, who was 10 when her family built the store. “My daddy would see them coming and say, ‘Man your stations!’ My station was behind the candy counter, my brother would get behind the Coke machine, my daddy would get behind the meat counter and my mama was the cashier.”

H.W. Tingle originally was a farmer who grew field peas and other produce in Bovina, Lewis Tingle said. He also delivered bread for Koestler’s Bakery.

The store and land for multiple family homes in the Mississippi 27 and Gibson Road area was his mother’s idea, he said. “It was her vision when she received her inheritance from her family in Louisiana.” His parents bought 20 acres in the area for the store and homes for a number of family members.

“The store has been changed twice because of the highway rights of way,” Lewis Tingle said. “They kept building on to the back and cutting the front off to make room for the highway.”

After H.W. and his son-in-law, Grady Kowen, built the Tingleville store, H.W. continued his delivery business for some 15 years. But he was primarily a butcher, Lewis said. “The largest thing in the store was the meat locker.”

Eventually, Lewis Tingle and his brothers and sisters went into other businesses, and the stores were either sold or leased. Jenny’s father, Donald, was the last to own one of the family stores — the one at Tingleville. H.W. Tingle died in June 1993.

Tingleville Store remained a polling place for voters until the 1990s, when voters were rerouted to the Clover Valley M.B. Church. On record books, however, the precinct retains the Tingleville name.

“The parking lot was always crowded on Friday and Saturday nights,” Lewis said, as people in the community came to buy gas as well as meat and groceries.

Monday afternoon, after a day of demolition, he and other family members watched as the final thick chunks of concrete that had been the store’s foundation were loaded.

“There are a lot of happy memories there,” he said.


Contact Pamela Hitchins at