The National Park Service, in partnership with the Virginia Department of Historic Resources, has awarded the Mathews County Historical Society a $100,000 grant that will allow the Thomas James Store to be elevated out of the reach of floodwaters and stormwater runoff.
Financing of this award came from the Emergency Supplemental Historical Preservation Fund, which the NPS administers. The Thomas James Store, which is on the National Register of Historic Places and the Virginia Landmarks Register, was built prior to 1820. It is one of the oldest and best preserved early nineteenth century mercantile establishments in the South.
Thomas James began purchasing an annual merchant’s license in 1808 and did so repeatedly over the years. At stores like James’s, people could buy everything from sugar and coffee to gunpowder, liquor, stamps, yard goods, and iron. Storekeepers extended credit to farmers, who borrowed against future crop earnings or posted their land as collateral. It was t...
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