JOSEPH MITCHELL PILCHER FAMILY
( from Pilcher Geneva County Heritage Book as contributed by Ed Godbold)
Prior to 1904 the Joseph Mitchell Pilcher family moved from Dothan to
Slocomb. Joe had previously been the Sheriff of Henry County and
a farmer. He had also been in the lumber business with his father,
Richard Pilcher, one of the founders of the City of Dothan. According to
a warranty deed dated April 29, 1905, Joe purchased land in Slocomb from
J.E.J. Holland for $500.00. The deed is worded as follows:
“One lot of land situated in the town of Slocomb Alabama and most
as follows: Beginning on the South side of White Street at the N.E.
corner of the lot of
Jack Weatherington and running East on said street one hundred and
twenty one feet more
or less to the lot of G. E. Hawkins, thence South seventy feet, thence
East two hundred
and fifteen feet to the S.E. corner of the G. E. Hawkins lot, thence
South three hundred
and thirty feet to the S.W. corner of the Job Snead lot, thence East
along said lot one
hundred and fifty feet to Morris Street, thence South on said street
forty feet thence West
to the N.W. corner of the Slocomb lot, one hundred and seventy six
feet more or less,
thence South on the Western boundary of the Slocomb lot to the N.E.
corner of the
McKenzie lot, one hundred and forty five feet, more or less, thence
in a South Westerly
direction one hundred and five feet to the N.E. corner of the J. C.
Rigel lot, thence along
the Northern boundary of the said Rigel lot to the N.W. corner of said
lot, one hundred
and ninety one feet, more or less, thence North five hundred and ninety
four feet, more or
less, to the N.E. corner of the Jack Weatherington lot, the place of
beginning, less one,
one half acre lot belonging to Noble Ford situated on the Eastern side
of the above
described lot, said lot of the said Ford being bounded on the East
by the lots of the Town
of Slocomb and the Morris Fertilizer Co.” This lot was four and
one half acres.
Presumably this is the lot which Lucile Pilcher Hayes describes. “Behind
our house was a huge back yard. It had a two story barn, a two story smoke
house, a big building with a grist mill where they ground corn into meal
and a big electric cane mill attached to the grist mill. Before they
built the new house and all of those buildings, there was a turpentine
Joe Pilcher did very well in Slocomb becoming the owner of a mercantile
store and other enterprises. The Pilcher Mercantile Store in Slocomb
covered almost a city block in length.It had a dry goods department, a
hardware department, grocery department, wagon and buggy department, seed
and feed department and a balcony where caskets were displayed.Behind the
store was a stable and across the street from it was a gin, both owned
by Joe Pilcher.
Joe was also involved in politics serving on the Slocomb City Council.
Edward Ralph Pilcher was born August 15, 1907 and Richard Eugene Pilcher
was born November 22, 1909. The 1910 Federal Census of Geneva County,
Alabama, Town of Slocomb shows Joseph M. Pilcher age 40, Merchant General
Store Owner. His wife Vesta was 32, and children were Kate, age 11, Lucile,
age 9, Joe, age 5, Ralph, age 3, and Eugene, age 5 months. Also living
in the household were Vesta’s mother, Vesta Q. Powers, age 76 and
Hattie Askins, age 18, domestic servant. Across the street lived
Vesta’s sister Anna Colesta (Lessie) Gwaltney and her family and on the
other end of the block was the mercantile store. On July 12, 1913, Mary
Evelyn Pilcher was born. About 1916 a new oil cook stove overheated,
caught the curtains on fire and their home burned to the ground.
The family moved to Florala, Alabama in 1917.