Charley's decaying old store building was dark and desolate last night down the
hill from the Village of Hur. Years have past since the emporium was open with
Uncle Charley Starcher holding court 'round the wood burner, Jake, Orde, Virgil,
and Giff, and a bunch of men from down on Rowel's getting in their last dibs.
Uncle Bill Slider would have already gone home, falling out with Uncle Charley for
the tenth time this month, vowing to never stand in his presence again
By Bob Weaver
Uncle Charley was one of Hur's favorite characters. One could never
forget his Walter Brennan gimp as he
ambled across the bottom from his clapboard house to his store on
Slider Fork below Hur, his ancient mutt dog a
few steps behind. In his later years he used a crutch for extra
Charley was nearly always adjusting his
hearing aid, squelching it down from a high pitched racket or spitting
tobacco juice against the red hot wood stove
in the center of the tiny store. You could hear the sizzle out on the
Charley's wife Lottie cookin' in her kitchen,
the walls covered with newspapers
Charley's hardscrabble farm near the Village of Hur
Jack-of-all-trades Charley on his mowing machine
The Starcher General Store was a fixture in the narrow hollow, up from
the right fork of Barnes Run and down the hill from Hur. He opened it
He was a jack of all trades, most notably the
operation of the blacksmith shop in the Village of
Hur during the first 50 years of the century. He farmed and cut hair,
and Lord knows what else.
His wife, Lottie,
was of equal interest, spending most of her lifetime "lining out
Charley." His son, Eddie took over the store for a
while after Charley died in 1967, often complaining about the layers
of hardened tobacco juice on the floor behind
Uncle Bill Slider would walk up to the store most days of
the week to argue with Charley, and
sometimes they would fall out for a few days.
The entertainment of
the day would be enjoyed by bench sitters and
loafers who would prop themselves up beside the creek bank or around the pot-bellied stove in winter.
the notorious creek dwellers would take
advantage of Charley's good nature or handicaps. One fella came in
to inquire about some shoes and Charley
pulled the boxes out on the counter.
Then he got busy with another
customer, to come back later and inquire if he
found anything he liked. He told Charley that nothing suited him and
left. Several days later Charley was taking
inventory of his shoe stock and opened a box to find a pair of
well-worn, muddy shoes - the new pair obviously worn
out by the customer from Rowels.
Uncle Charley used what is often
referred to as a "bye-word," and about every
third sentence would start with the statement: "Bye gracious alive."
One time a Barnes Run man who had a bad
reputation, got into a squabble with Uncle Charley. His anger was so
severe that he went up against the hillside and
dug a grave, telling him that if he ever caught him out alone, he
would put Charley in it.
Another time Charley's
daughter shot the electric line in two with a .22 rifle while trying
to kill a fox. The electric went out in the store and
Charley called for help, declaring that robbers had come to get his
Charley had some reasons to be wary of thieves. About once a month someone would break through the rear window of the store, and take a few items.
I installed a burglar alarm on the back window, which sounded a bell over Charley and Lottie's bed across the creek. Sometimes Charley had trouble hearing the bell, and he asked me to install a light bulb over his bed as part of the alarm system.
It worked pretty well.
Charley would tear out into his front yard, shooting his shotgun, scaring the thieves back up the holler.
"Bye gracious alive" there are a hundred
stories to tell about Uncle Charley.
Charley's blacksmith shop, which was located up the hill in the Village of Hur, has been moved to the Calhoun Park, now a part of Heritage Village.