Saturday, November 03, 2018

Henderson's Store in Yanceyville, North Carolina

"Vermont Yankee Ruse"

Closing a deal requires salesmanship. When James A. Henderson, for many years a successful merchant in Yanceyville, decided to pull stakes and go into the tobacco business in Danville, he was anxious to sell his store and stock of goods to his splendid young clerks, Tom Florance and Walter Harrelson. Those boys, who afterwards attained success, hesitated and dillydallied, fearful of making the plunge. "Uncle Jimmie," to me, via the marriage altar, went over to Danville and made plans to expedite the sale. The next day, a Jew, in frock coat and beaver hat, appeared in Yanceyville, seated in a fine carriage, drawn by two handsome horses and chauffeured by a liveried Negro.

The entourage stopped in front of Henderson's store. The Jew alighted with great dignity and rare display of rich apparel. He entered the store, looked around and began to ask questions about the stock. Tom Florance and Walter Harrelson grew wild-eyed, called a caucus, went into a huddle and fifteen minutes later had bought the store, lock, stock and barrel.

The ruse worked and all hands profited. I have understood "Uncle Jimmie" paid the Jew $25, which included carriage hire. There was probably nothing of dishonorableness in the transaction, just sort of a "Vermont Yankee" ruse.

Source: Henderson, Tom. "Vermont Yankee Ruse," Plain Tales from the Country. Yanceyville, North Carolina, 1943; p. 14.

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