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MURRAY COUNTRY FAMILIES

John and Frankie Woods


Frankie Groves first saw John Woods when she came from Ramhurst to Chatsworth to cash her father's pension check given him for service in the Confederate Army. However, the Civil War had been over for a very long time and it was then the late 1930s.

Whether this was the first time Frankie saw John at work in Clarence Greeson's store is uncertain. This definitely was the time that would change both their lives. She, according to her father, William Cast Groves, was too young to start dating. But the pension check he received every month had to be cashed so Frankie and John saw each other in the store every time she cashed her father's check. The couple had their first date when Frankie turned 16.

Early in 1942 Frankie's father died. He had been the last surviving Murray County veteran of the Civil War. Frankie moved to Chatsworth. Since she was no longer needed to help care for her elderly father, she got a job in Dalton, working the third shift. At that time she was 17 years old.

It wasn't long till John asked her out and they discovered that they really liked being together. But the Japanese had attacked Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, and John went into the Army in 1942, shortly after Frankie had moved to Chatsworth.

The corresponded regularly but that was not an acceptable substitute for actually being together. John was stationed in Texas and they agreed that Frankie would go there too. In May of 1943, they were married.

When John was reassigned to Camp Cook, California, she joined him there. She took a job working in a restaurant from 6 a.m. to 2 p.m. When John was reassigned to Colorado Springs, Frankie moved again. Unable to find a job there, she became the housekeeper for their landlord.

The nation was fighting major wars with the Germans and the Japanese. It was inevitable that sooner or later virtually every soldier would ship overseas. When John got his overseas orders, Frankie came home to Murray County to live with her niece, Sally Wilbanks. She returned to her previous job in Dalton while she waited for John to return from the war.

Christmas Day 1945 was one of couple's happiest days–that was the day John was discharged from the Army. He returned to Chatsworth and resumed his old job working in Clarence Greeson's Grocery store. Frankie remembers that his pay was then $25 per week. That was considered well-paid in those days.

In 1952 Arnold Hufstetler asked John and Frankie to work together in a new store that he was opening at Central, a brand-new commercial location on Highway 225 North. Arnold had another store to run so he needed a couple of dependable people to run his new store.

Frankie told friends that the store, officially named The Central Food Market, was "the prettiest thing I had every seen." She and John quickly made the business a success.

Frankie's homemade chicken salad and ham salad were big hits with customers, many of whom came in regularly just for these items. The store did well and John and Frankie ran it for Arnold for eight years (1952-1960). When Arnold got sick, he sold the store to the Woods in February 1960. In September 1960 they paid their final payment and owned the store outright.

In 1964 John and Frankie decided that they wanted to try a very different business venture. They sold their mini-supermarket at Central to Jacky Ledford.

With Barron Brooks and Tucker Brown as business partners, the Woods owned one-quarter interest in the new Adco Motel in Chatsworth. John and Frankie actually operated the business. Eventually the Woods sold their interest in the Adco to Brooks and Brown.

John went to work in another grocery store, this one operated by Clyde Greeson on North 4th Avenue in Chatsworth.

Frankie enrolled in beautician school and opened her own shop, Powder Puff, in Chatsworth. The chemicals very quickly affected her health and caused major skin problems, forcing her to close the shop.

Frankie's father, William Cast Groves, while serving in the Confederate Army, he had been briefly taken prisoner by Union soldiers in Spring Place, and seriously wounded in that encounter. After the war, he was awarded a pension for his Confederate Army service.

About 1900 he was Sheriff of Murray County.

Groves had four wives, all of whom he outlived. **Groves death burial info

Groves's parents were Nelson and Francis (Frankie) Groves. That Frankie taught school at Lower Oak Grove School, Ramhurst. Frankie Woods always seemed proud that she was named for her grandmother Frankie Groves.

John Woods was the second son of William R. Woods (1879-1943) and Ethel (Warmack) Woods (1889-1961). His siblings were Edward (born about 1910); Willette, (born about 1920); Paul Crayton (born about 1924); Evelyn, (born about 1925); and Margaret (born after 1930).

 



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