About a month ago I wrote about the little crossroad community of Hart, in northwestern McDonald County, and its namesake, Phillip Rinehart (1833-1891).
If you missed that column, Hart gets his name from the last four letters of Rinehart’s name. He was the first postmaster there.
Hart sits at the corner of State Highway 43 and B Highway. It’s not at all far from where I grew up in Beeman Hollow.
I had mentioned the old store building at Hart, which I believe is a residence now, but has been various businesses in the past. Not long after I wrote that column, a man called to tell me the name of that store, at one point in its history at least, was Needham Grocery.
It may have had other names as well. The store was still open for business at least as late as 1976 and perhaps into the 1980s.
This gentleman also told me that during Southwest Missouri’s strawberry boom there was a strawberry field just a bit to the northeast of Hart. During the harvest season the store there would send sandwiches and drinks down to to the pickers every day around lunchtime and, according to this fellow, the hungry and thirsty workers could pay in paper chits, which the store accepted.
In case you don’t know, strawberry chits, and also tokens, were issued as payment to the pickers, who could redeem them for cash at a local participating bank. It was the banks who issued the tokens and, presumably, chits to the growers, who then used them to pay the workers.