In the previous post I wrote about our visit to the town of Newell. I’ve been trying to find more information about the town, but facts seem to be hard to come by. As early as 1853 the community is listed as a post office in Fanning’s Illustrated Gazetter of the United States. However, the town doesn’t show up on any of my old maps, and is not listed in the GNIS database. I found references to a Dr. Newton J. Newell from Anderson, and the local fiery, controversial constable’s name was Newell, but I haven’t been able to tie them to the history of the town. The earliest news reference I could find for the town was an 1866 notice in the Anderson Intelligencer saying that a lost purse had been found in the town.
News items from Newell crop up regularly in the Anderson paper, often posted by one “Needle” from Newell. In addition to the regular community news about who was visiting whom, there was often acerbic commentary and a few bad puns.
Newell did a flourishing banking business last week. In fact, several new banks were established. It was potato digging week. – Anderson Intelligencer, November 22, 1893
The Wigington name pops up more frequently. Mr. Elihu Wigington’s name appears in an 1869 edition of the paper as the executor of a Wigington estate.
Obviously this wasn’t the Elihu Wigington that we met. Turns out it was his great grandfather, who was born in 1818. The first Elihu Wigington seems to be the one who established the Wigington Variety Store. The store seems to be a fixture for about as long as Newell has been around. Here’s a photo of the store in it’s heyday…
In the late 1890’s the store printed various broadsides to advertise its wares.
Both of these images had been posted on a website for a 2008 reunion of the Wiggington/Wigington family.
I would really like to know more information about the store and the post office. I haven’t been able to find anything (yet) about when the post office or store closed. If I do discover something, I’ll post an update here.
UPDATE: The Carolana website does list the Newell Post Office for Anderson County. It shows the post office in service from January 22, 1850 until September 30, 1901. This helped me narrow my archival newspaper search. The Anderson Intelligencer reported on August 28 of 1901 that new Rural Free Delivery (RFD) routes were being established and that some smaller outlying post offices would be closed. In addition to Newell, 38 other post offices were closed and consolidated throughout Anderson and Pickens counties.