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Charles Chesnutt's Fayetteville
Item 8 of 14
This is a contributing entry for Charles Chesnutt's Fayetteville and only appears as part of that tour.Learn More.
Andrew Jackson Chesnutt, the father of author Charles Chesnutt, returned to Fayetteville from Ohio in 1866 and set up "business in a grocery store in Gillespie Street between the Market House and Russell Street" (Helen Chesnutt 4). As of the publication of an 1885 Sanborn Fire Insurance map, most of Gillespie Street between Franklin and Russell Streets was either vacant or occupied by livery stables, so it stands to reason that the grocery store existed between the Market House and Franklin Street.

Market Square and Gillespie Street in March 1885

Map of the center of downtown Fayetteville, NC

The grocery store would have been located in this general area, though an exact location isn't known.

According to Sylvia Render, Charles helped in the grocery store each day after school while absorbing the conversations of the customers (18).

In 1871 Charles' mother died after a long decline in health. Within a year the store failed because of Andrew Chesnutt's "too generous credit practices (Render 18). 

Chesnutt, Helen M. Charles W. Chesnutt: Pioneer of the Color Line. University of North Carolina Press, 1952.

Render, Sylvia. Charles W. Chesnutt. Twayne Publishers, 1980.

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