Saturday, February 24, 2007

Alex's Cafe

Yanceyville Cafe

Located on the Square in Yanceyville beside the Bank of Yanceyville was a cafe. It was a small building, longer than it was wide. In the front was a typical cafe arrangement -- a counter with stools on one side, boothes on the other. Half way back was the kitchen with a window that opened to the counter area. It was cozy, smelled good, and was somewhat of a social center.

In the back was a pool room -- three old tables, an oil heater, and a mens' room. The benches were just split logs with bark still on the bottom.

Owners/operators of the café included Jacob Carlyle (Alex) Alexander (1904-1963), Joe Powell, a Mr. Crumpton, and Jack Arnold. There may have been other owners, the determination of which is one reason for this article (also the order of ownership).

Jacob Carlyle (Alex) Alexander (1904-1963)

J. C. Alexander, Well-Known Here, Dies at His Home

Jacob Carlyle "Alex" Alexander died this morning at 5:50 o'clock at his home, 225 Flora Ave. He apparently suffered a heart attack while preparing to go to work.

Mr. Alexander was a native of Toccoa, Ga., born Oct. 17, 1904. He was a son of the late David Hall Alexander and Cora Robertson Alexander. He lived in Danville for 37 years and for the past 23 years he was employed as a clerk by the Danville Post Office. He formerly operated Alex's Cafe in Yanceyville, N.C. for a number of years. On Oct. 18, 1926, he married Miss Maude Keener, who survives.

Mr. Alexander was a member of the Baptist faith. He was also a member of the Kiwanis Club of Yanceyville, Loyal Order of Moose, Caswell Brotherhood Lodge of Masons and the Danville Consistory Scottish Rite, Acca Temple.

In May 1962, Mr. Alexander was appointed national vice-president of the United Federation of Post Office Clerks, a post placing him in charge of employee relations between the federation and the department in the states of Virginia, West Virginia, North Carolina and South Carolina. At the time of his appointment, Mr. Alexander was the first Virginian ever to be named a member of the national executive committee.

Besides his wife he is survived by two sons, David Ronald Alexander of Atlanta, Ga., and Milton Carlyle Alexander, New York, and two sisters: Mrs. Charles Summers, Falls Church, and Mrs. B. S. Chatman of Chattanooga, Tenn.

Funeral services will be held Wednesday afternoon at 2 o'clock from the Wrenn-Yeatts Chapel and interment will be in Highland Burial Park. The body will rest at the funeral home prior to the services and the family will be at 225 Floral Ave.

The Bee (Danville, Virginia), Monday, 18 March 1963.

U.S. City Directories, 1821-1989
Name: Jacob C Alexander
Gender: Male
Residence Year: 1929
Street address: 167 Gray
Residence Place: Danville, Virginia, USA
Occupation: Employee
Spouse: Maude Alexander 
Publication Title: Danville, Virginia, City Directory, 1929

1930 United States Federal Census
Name: Jacob C Alexander
Gender: Male
Birth Year: abt 1905
Birthplace: Georgia
Race: White
Home in 1930: Danville, Danville (Independent City), Virginia
Marital Status: Married
Relation to Head of House: Head
Spouse's Name: Maude F Alexander
Father's Birthplace: South Carolina
Mother's Birthplace: South Carolina
Household Members: Name Age
Jacob C Alexander 25
Maude F Alexander 26
Carlyle M Alexander 0

1940 United States Federal Census
Name: Jacob C Alexander
Age: 35
Estimated Birth Year: abt 1905
Gender: Male
Race: White
Birthplace: Georgia
Marital Status: Married
Relation to Head of House: Head
Home in 1940: Danville, Danville City, Virginia
Street: J Vera Finia Avenue
House Number: 228
Farm: No
Inferred Residence in 1935: Rural, Caswell, North Carolina
Residence in 1935: Rural, Caswell, North Carolina
Resident on farm in 1935: Yes
Sheet Number: 62B
Number of Household in Order of Visitation: 98
Occupation: Maid Clerk
House Owned or Rented: Owned
Value of Home or Monthly Rental if Rented: 3000
Attended School or College: No
Highest Grade Completed: High School, 4th year
Hours Worked Week Prior to Census: 20
Class of Worker: Wage or salary worker in Government work
Weeks Worked in 1939: 48
Income: 1600
Income Other Sources: No
Household Members: Name Age
Jacob C Alexander  35
Maud K Alexander  36
Carly W Alexander  10
Ronald Alexander  5

Here are 1940 images of Alex's Cafe:

(Click Photograph for Larger Image)
(Click Photograph for Larger Image)

When Joe Powell owned the cafe his step-son Samuel Wilson Shaw worked there, apparently as a cook. Here is a photograph of Sam Shaw with his mother Bessie Shaw Powell outside the cafe:

(Click Photograph for Larger Image)

(Joe Powell in Apron)
The above photograph shows cafe owner Joe Powell standing in front of the cafe. The identity of the man in hat and suit is unknown.

Interior of Alex's Cafe around 1938 (based upon movie advertisement on wall).

Garnett Clements Cooper and Joseph Edward Powell behind counter; George Andrew Anderson with cane; other man and boy not identified. 

If 1938, Garnett Clements Cooper would be around 21, Joseph Edward Powell 35, and George Andrew Anderson 69!

Do you know more about this cafe? Do you have photographs to share? If so, please do so here or send your input to the CCHA.

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