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Ashepoo P.O.: 1938

Ashepoo P.O.: 1938

December 1938. "General store and post office, sawmill town. Ashepoo, South Carolina." Medium format negative by Marion Post Wolcott. View full size.


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More info on the Brants...


Out of nosiness, I dug a bit deeper on Benjamin to see where he was before (and after), and to see what family he may have had.

He was born in Ulmers, in Allendale County. Up until he appears in Ashepoo in the 1920 census, he stayed put in the Sycamore/Ulmers/Bardwell area.

He appears in 1917 in the WWI draft records as working for the "Berry Fortune Construction Company" as a bookkeeper.

I couldn't find him in 1920, but he appears running the general store in Ashepoo in 1930 and 1940, and Ashepoo was listed as his usual residence when he passed away in 1946.

Cause of death was stomach cancer that had spread to his liver.

In both 1930 and 1940 he was listed as a merchant, and his wife was postmistress for Ashepoo, a position she held until 1960.

There are no children listed in 1930, and in 1940 they have a 9 year old adopted daughter named Emma Jean Maddux listed as living with them.

The Brants of Ashepoo

It is entirely possible that the prop. of the General Store was also the railroad agent. I thought the name sounded familiar, and sure enough, there was a J. J. Brant, born 10 years before the photo of the store was taken, who was first trick Clerk-Operator at Yemassee (a few miles south of Ashepoo) when I hired out in 1973. I would not be at all surprised to find that J. J. was B. J.'s son, since nepotism was (and still is) a fully-acceptable and often-practiced tradition in railroading.

Ashepoo Depoo

It is/was on the Atlantic Coast Line RR main line (now CSX) between Charleston and Savannah.

The dark sedan

Waiting outside the store is a 1933 Chevrolet Master 4 door sedan, the same model our family had in those years and drove west to Los Angeles to relocate from Independence Missouri in May, 1937. Many years later in 1963 my brother and I bought 1933 Chevrolet 2 door coach from a neighbor for $100 and kept it over 30 years.

Ashepoo, South Carolina

There is no longer a post office in Ashepoo, as the postal district was folded into nearby Green Pond in the 1960's according to the postal records.

I went back and looked at an assortment of USGS maps, and Ashepoo seems to have *never* been a large place. Most of the houses that comprised the village seem to have succumbed to time and nature.

This is Ashepoo as it sits in modern times. You can still see where the roads once lay, and while the view is far too distant to make any details out, the lone surviving building looks kind of familiar.

Ashepoo store

Owned by Benjamin Josephus Brant, died in 1946. See his gravestone on

Another sawmill town

Until I was about 11 years old I lived a few miles from Williams, SC in the early to mid fifties. There was a large sawmill there, on the east side of Williams, and right across the road was a row of small houses owned by the mill company and occupied by the mill workers and their families. I went to school with their children. The mill once had a large fire that melted the tin roofs. My father and I walked through the place after the fire and I picked up a glob of melted tin. I kept it for many years.

A common sight throughout the south was large piles of sawdust left from temporary mobile sawmill operations. After a period of time the sawdust would settle and develop internal air pockets, causing it to collapse if climbed on. I know of at least one child that died that way.


How on earth will I know which tobacco and soda pop to ask for. Is this so far off the track that even the Coca Cola people couldn't find it?

Fresh Chicken anyone?

Also the chicken by the front door seems happy. Until lunch that is!


Even the moss looks beleaguered.

Living up over the store

It used to be (and perhaps still is)that business owners and their families in small towns would reside upstairs over their stores and this seems to be one of those instances. I love the comforting presence of the two kitties making themselves at home and the screened-in sun room which lends a touch of hominess to the place. As late as 1965 there was a very similar establishment just up the street from a second floor apt. which I was temporarily renting in a very small village in Ohio (New Knoxville). The downside for the owner was that any time of the day or night, people who were in need of any given thing or service would pound on the door until somebody answered. The upside was that your commute to work each day took no time at all. Life was simple then.

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