John S. Tyson, Jr. -- General Merchandise


By R. Ward Harrison, Editor


October 28, 1949

The Herald herewith begins publication of a series of biographical sketches of Folkston’s business and professional men who are prominently identified with the city’s progress from the early days to the present time. Opening the series, we present the following about one of the city’s oldest, most successful business establishments.

A resident of Folkston since his early youth, John S. Tyson, Jr. has been engaged in the mercantile business here continuously for a period of thirty-three years. His modern, well stocked general merchandise store on West Main Street is very probably the city’s oldest retail establishment in continuous operation under the same management.

Moving to Folkston in 1912 from Jacksonville, Fla. with his parents, Mr. Tyson has been identified with the business, civic and church activities of the community all his adult life. He has been especially active in church work, serving as a Deacon in First Baptist Church of this city.

His father, John S. Tyson, Sr. is a member of an old McIntosh County family. He is now associated with his son in the store, having retired several years ago after more than forty years as a traveling salesman in this territory for C.M. Lewis and Co., now Chitty & Co., wholesale dealers of Jacksonville. His mother, Mrs. Catherine Sturtevant Tyson, died in 1927 and is buried in Evergreen Cemetery in Jacksonville. An only brother, Charles S.. died in early youth.

In 1925 Mr. Tyson was married to Miss Catherine J. Turner, a native of Screven County, Ga. They had two children, a daughter, Betty S., now Mrs. Robert Wilson of this city and a son, John S. Tyson III, an electrical engineering student at Georgia Tech in Atlanta.

Completing his school studies at the age of eighteen, Mr. Tyson established his mercantile business by opening his doors to the public on January l, 1916. Original location of the business was in the old B.G. McDonald store building, a frame structure then fronting on Main Street. Shortly thereafter the building was moved to its present location fronting the ACL park and in the rear of the McDonald House, being moved to clear the site for the McDonald building.

In this small frame structure Mr. Tyson operated a retail grocery store for a period of ten years, gradually increasing his stock in the scope of his business. By close application of fair and courteous dealing, his business venture proved successful from the beginning.

Keeping pace with the growth of the city and his business requirements, Mr. Tyson erected his present modern and commodious brick store building on West Main Street in 1926. He put in a complete line of general merchandise, dry goods, groceries, etc. and at the present time it is regarded as on of the most best stocked general stores in the city.

When he began business here in 1916, Mr. Tyson recalls that Folkston was then a small village of less than 500 population. Through the years he has kept pace with the forward progress of the community to which he has contributed as a progressive, public-spirited citizen and business man of the highest integrity.

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