Matthews Store in Randles

Somebody said there was an old general store in Randles where the owner just closed the door and walked away with all his stock on the shelves one day. I don’t know who told me about it, but it came from a couple of different folks.

When Ernie Chiles and I passed through the town on the way to the Painton airstrip, I noted a likely candidate and decided to check it out on another trip. (You can click on the photos to make them larger.) See the black cat crossing my path on the left?

Matthews Store

The sign on the north side of the building says Matthews Store. I don’t know if that’s Matthews with or without an apostrophe, but it probably doesn’t make much difference these days.

I had Mother and Wife Lila’s Uncle Ray with me on this adventure. Mother’s got a sharp eye for persimmons, so she made me pick up the ones that were on the ground and hustle them back to the car.

Lots of goods in the store

I couldn’t quite see through the windows, so I held my camera above my head to peer in through the broken front window. I can see lots of stuff on the shelves, but it looks more random than would support the “walked away” tale.A lot of the bottles and jars appear to have been opened and empty, like they were placed there by a collector. The center of the store was taken up with stuff that looked more like trash than treasures.

Still, it must have been quite a store in its day. It big inside and out. I imagine it was the center of  life in Randles.

Double doors to where?

I couldn’t tell if this was a separate storeroom or what the purpose the extension on the north side of the building would have served. I don’t think you’d have doors for customers this far away from the main entrance. My guess was they were used used for deliveries. It doesn’t have the feel of lodging for the store owner, either. It’s too long and narrow for that and probably wouldn’t have had double doors.

I guess when it’s time to add shoes to the Perkins Shoe Tree, I’ll have to ask around for more info.

[Editor’s note: I had originally said this store was in Perkins. Reader Madeline DeJournett, a REAL reporter, corrected me below in the comments. It’s actually in Randles. If you’ve been on the page before, you may have to press Ctrl-F5 to make her comment show up.]

42 Replies to “Matthews Store in Randles”

  1. Oh, oh, Ken, I’m so sorry to see that photo of the inside of the store. It has definitely been ransacked. I know it was inevitable that some unscrupulous fortune hunter would find it one day, but I just hate it! Some people have no respect!
    The store is in Randles, not Perkins. I’ve been wanting to do a story on it for years, but I didn’t want to violate the privacy of the two old sisters who owned it.
    If I had been a proper journalist, I would have pressed the matter and may have been able to get photographs when the store was still intact.
    I missed a story on a similar store in Oran, when I was teaching there. Louie Hershowich (sp) put plastic over everything and closed his store around 1965. It was intact until a fire destroyed it at a later date. I wasn’t a reporter then, but I should have made the effort to record it for posterity.
    Okay–you’ve asked for help, so I guess I have my job cut out for me, don’t I? I’ll see what I can find out Today’s my day off, so I’ll try to find someone to let me in. Unlike some folks, I feel that it’s disrespectful to break into property which isn’t mine….

  2. I’m not sure of this, but there may be a similiar story in Chaffee, Mo. Back in the fifties and mid- sixties the soda fountain hangout was “Slaughter’s, on Yokum ave. When the owners finally gave up they just shut the doors and retired to their living quarters on the second floor. The place also
    had a juke box and a dance floor. It was straight out of “Happy Days”. The last time I looked in(1990’s)everything appeared to still be in place.


    1. I was the Driver of that car that hit the mail boxes, My boyfriend had to go down early the next morning and put all the mailboxes back up except 1 the man had passed away. Great memories!!!!! Thanks Gary!!!

    1. Margi,

      The people she boarded with could very well have been my grandma and granddad. The keep teachers in their home.

  4. I would probably believe that the double doors were where they kept sacks of fed for cattle, horses or what ever. It was always kept away from the other food and goods. That was the case of the Kirkpatrick store in grassy Missouri where I spent part of my time. This was in the early forties.

      1. I did some searches which turned up lots of obituaries for students who had graduated from Randles High School, but no stories about the school itself. I assumed that the students went to Delta High School in later years, but there was nothing on the Delta school site that gave the history of its consolidation.

        I’ll make another pass at it later. Sorry.

  5. I grew up just a short distance east of this store. I have some great memories of my childhood there, had some great friends. Will never forget playing in the little park next to the store. To bad we can’t go back……

  6. I am a little late in making a comment about the Randles/Mathews store. Actually the comment is in reference to Madeline DeJournett’s comment about Louie Herschwitz’s General Store. I was at the auction of the contents of that store in Oran which to the best of my memory had to be in the late 1970s. I bought an aurora model of a sports moment of Jim Brown running a football and a special hammer used for putting up fencing. I still have the fencing hammer but I am not sure why as I haven’t put up any fencing. I didn’t know that it had closed in 1969 which meant it stood closed with it’s contents for about 10 years before the auction. I am sorry to learn that the building later burned. I haven’t been in Oran since that auction as I moved from Cape in 1983.

  7. My great grandparents, Louis and Mary Myers lived in Randles. I was very young but remember going there before my Great Grandmother passed away. My mother, daughter of Josie Dees Myers,told me about the Matthews Store. It has always been of interest to learn more about it. When I saw this site, it just made my day!!!!!!

    1. My Grandparents, Louis &Mary Myers, lived in Randles for many years. My mother Mary, was their daughter. I went to Mathews store many times during our summer vacation visits. My Brother Tommy and cousins walked all over the town with fond memories of each visit.

  8. A couple of years ago my mom and I went to Randles to see if we could find my grandpa’s store. His name was John Henry Bonds, his wife was Rosey. We did see this store, but could not find theirs. Later, someone told me that his had burned down. They had a large family, and there may still be some that knew them. I do have a pic I can send you if you would like.

    1. I have been trying to find a John Henry Bond or Bonds for many, many years If you get this please contact me. Thank you.

    2. I went to randles grade school and to delta for high school education. I new the Bond boys and played basketball with two of them.

    3. HI. Do you have any pictures of the Bonds grocery store? My dad was telling me about this store and it was his grandparents store as well.

  9. Two sisters didn’t own this store my Great Grandfather Matthews owned this store, but the only surviving daughter of the five children is the executer of the property! I spent most of my childhood summers down at my Great Grandparents farm there in Randles. Had a lot of good memories there and the store’s been closed for as long as can remember and I’m 41 years old! I don’t remember it ever being open in my lifetime.

    1. Years later but maybe you could tell me the years the store may have operated. I have Matthews ancestors in Kirksville that I am trying to connect to a paternal family line there. Close proximity. Just a random chance to break my longtime brick wall.

  10. I just saw this and wanted to let you know that Matthews Store, in Randles, Mo. is my grandfather’s store. I love these pictures but I sure wish you could have seen it back in the day! It was like the Walmart of Randles! Many good memories from there. I used to help my granddad in the store. It was like being in Mayberry. He was the only owner. I will have to guess when it closed. It was still open when I was in high school. My aunt and uncle ran it then. My granddad had passed away. I will guess in the late ’70’s. If you ever want to hear some good stories, let me know!

  11. My Grandparents, Louis &Mary Myers, lived in Randles for many years. My mother Mary, was their daughter. I went to Mathews store many times during our summer vacation visits. My Brother Tommy and cousins walked all over the town with fond memories of each visit.

  12. My maiden name was London moms maiden name was Burnett,we use to live that,I still have family down that the doors you minchen were for the crate,the buss would stop at that store.the store acroust the street was ones by a man named pip,his wife was my Sunday school teacher,thaer was a sow meal located by the tracks coming in from delta,my daddy worked their he said he use to which a team up n ride n to town on Saturday,for supplies,his sister s first teaching job was at the school,my moms dad bought,land on dranige dich #5 it was when they were draining off all the swamp area down there and he sold the trees to pay for the landmom had said that the trees were so thick a Calvin walk 10 feet away from you and disappear in the trees which could be true I’ve seen pictures of them pulling out stumps my uncle is a deacon in the church down there,an that the men help build the babatist church.

    1. was his name pip or did they call him pop? My great grandfather owned the store right across the street from Matthew’s. His name was John Bonds but the family called him Pop. Wondering if that is the same person you are referring to. Trying to get all the info I can about them.

  13. I remember both stores (Mathews an Bond).I grew up in the Randles area as a child.My parents had an open account with Mr. Bond and I went to school with some of the Bond boys through the eight grand. I have been in the Mathews store many times. Question for someone,due you know when the High School Closed?

  14. As a child I visited the Matthews Store many times. I remember it as a long attractive country store. I played in the small park next to the store. At that time there were three country stores in Randles and the Matthews store was the middle one. All of the stores were located on the highway and faced west toward the railroad. The store south of Matthews was “Jackson’s Grocery” and was owned by my grandparents, James and Freeda Jackson. They also owned a house on Bolinger Street. They had four children, Hester, Faye, Elouise, and Jimmy. I stayed with them in summers and Christmas times and loved to be around there. James also had farmland nearby and he was a teacher and principal at Perkins and Bell City. My mother Freeda Hester Jackson taught two years at the old Perkins stone school house. My father and my uncles sometimes played basketball in the old Randles school although it was vacant then. The Jacksons sold out around 1962 and moved to Keytesville to farm and teach. Although young I remember the Burnett and the Kajikawa families. James also delivered ice before there were refrigerators. My aunt and uncle, Joe and Elouise Jackson Jones, lived near Randles.

  15. Ken,

    My Aunt Jane can probably tell about the school at Randles. You spoke with her once. She is now 91 years old and lives in St. Louis. You can contact me if you are interested in speaking with her.
    My number is 573-332-0663

  16. Want to do a human interest story? If so I have a topic that may or may not be of interest to you. It has nothing to do with the country stores in Randles but is about some residents there.

  17. My mother, Helen Stroup Huey is almost 93. She graduated from Randles and remembers the Matthews store plus the Bonds . . . adding she remembers it as more of a restaurant. Her brother, Howard Stroup graduated in 1940. Her mother and father, Nora and Cecil Stroup lived in Randles until around 1944. He worked for the railroad. Mom said her family also boarded teachers during the 30’s and 40’s. She sure has enjoyed reading all the comments. She says it is nice to remember particular things but at her age no one is around to remember but she also added “that could be a good thing”! Awww to be 93 with a sense of humor!!

  18. I used to work on my sister’s and brother-in-laws farm between Randles and Perkins. Schotts Farm. I used to go in Matthews store a lot. My sister “traded” there as they used to call it! I would get a cold soda out of the soda machine that sat on the extremely worn and solid hardwood floor and it was filled with ice cold water. You would pay your money and slide your soda down the rails to get it out. The coldest soda I ever had. They were very friendly people and the prices were very cheap!! I always liked going into the store. I still go down there to visit relatives and go down memory lane. The store has been town down now, as of a year or two ago.

  19. Cathy Pace Matthews:

    Nice to hear from you. I personally do not have many stories about Randles residents since I was just a child. I was trying to see if Mr. Steinhoff was interested in doing a story, not about my grandparents, but about the Japanese families who lived in the area. Some of them traded with my grandparents at Jacksons Grocery. Just thought it might be interesting to learn about those Japanese families. Must have been hard on them to live in that area after WWII. I do remember quite well the Kajikawa family who were good friends with my grandparents. Dick and Kami Kajikawa are buried in a Dexter cemetery. I loved the old Matthews store as well as my grandparents old store.

  20. Cindy,

    That was before my time but I can check with my Aunt or Uncle. The Matthews store was my grand dad’s store. I work in there with him when I was just a kid. Best times of my life.

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