Everything Old Is New Again

I wasn’t alive when my great-grandfather, John Edward McKamey, owned and operated Mac’s Grocery Store in Lake City, Tennessee (now called Rocky Top). However, my mom remembers playing behind the counters with her dad (my grandfather), Owen McKamey.

This is the only picture I have of the store…until now (John Edward is on the left and Owen is on the right). The number of items to choose from dims in comparison to what we have now. But I bet back in the 1930s and 40s this was all you needed from your local grocer.

Inside of Mac's Grocery store - genealogy research

A few weeks ago when I was finishing up my family narrative, I wrote about meeting a new cousin. You can read that blog post here. In our conversation, I mentioned Mac’s Grocery Store and she knew exactly what I was talking about. She said the building is still standing and about to be turned into a mercantile store. Just a few days ago, she sent me pictures. Here is what the building looks like today.

Photo of building

It’s definitely in need of a lot of work, but it’s so wonderful that it’s still here! I bet if I talked with older residents of the area, they would remember Mac’s Grocery Store too.

John Edward’s obituaries all mention his affiliation with the store.1 I can imagine everyone in Lake City knew “Mac” as the grocer they depended on to provide what they needed.

John Edward McKamey obituary

I think I’ll keep tabs on the renovation process and see if the new owners would like a copy of the picture of my family in that building back in the day. It’ll be nice to see something old given a new life.

Genealogy tip: Making the effort to find living relatives can have wonderful consequences. Not only did I have a great conversation, but I found out a piece of my family’s history still stands and is about to be reinvented.

1 “Lake City Grocer Dies,” The Knoxville (Tennessee) News-Sentinel, 17 February 1949, p. 10, col. 3; digital copy, Newspapers.com (www.newspapers.com: accessed 22 Oct 2019).

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