Linkous Store was an Area Landmark

From The News Messenger Bicentennial Edition, July 1, 1976, page 12-H

By Nita Wise

The Linkous Store, well-known landmark to older residents in the Blacksburg area, was located on the original road between Blacksburg and Radford. It fronted on present day Price’s Fork Road, near the intersection of Merrimac Road.

Early in its existence it served as tavern and inn. Early records place its location on the old Michael Price farm, about a thousand feet north of the old St. Peter’s Evangelical Lutheran Church site. The store is no longer standing.

The two story frame structure was approximately 60 feet long an d 25 feet wide. A wing ran across one end of the structure. Porches ran across the front on both floors. There were approximately thirteen rooms in the building.

Dean H.L. Price claimed that it was built by Israel Price at the close of the Mexican War, which places its construction about 1848-1849. Dr. Maury Burgess Linkous, one time owner of the store, thought it was about one hundred years old in the early 1930s. He confirmed that Israel Price did have a store in the building, but he did not know if he had constructed the building. Dr. Linkous died April 29, 1933.

The store has been referred to by different names and variations of names. It has been called Linkous or Linkous Store.

It was also given the names of Madam Morris, Mata Morris, Mattie Morris Store, Mrs. Alma Moore, sister of the late Mrs. Maury Burgess Linkous, stated she felt the name was Matamoras Store originally. She surmised the name derived from Matamoras, Mexico. This theory was reinforced by the Kipps sisters, Florence and Mae, long time residents of the area. They reported they stopped at the store on their way to Matamoras School and remembered watching a Mrs. Price weave on a large loom which stood in the building.

Children in the area attended a one room school, Matamoras No. 9, located in the grove behind the site of old St. Peter's Lutheran Church. The Kipps sisters have in their possession a picture of a class that attended Matamoras No. 9. Some of those in the photograph are very young Florence, and Robert Wall and Phoebe Wall (now Linkous) and Malissia Surface. Incidentally Malissia was the 86 year old subject depicted by Blacksburg artist Joni Pienkowski in a recent show in Roanoke.

History records that several area residents served with the First Grenadier Company of Virginia Volunteers in the Mexican War. The Company left Christiansburg on January 6, 1847.

Eventually arriving at the mouth of the Rio Grande, the men boarded a steamboat, moved up the river past Matamoras and landed at Comargo, April 1, 1847. The Company remained in Mexico until the middle of June, 1948. When the treaty of Guadeloupe Hidalgo was ratified by the two governments, it began its homeward journey. The men were mustered out of the service August 1, 1848 and began the trip home to the mountain. Many did not return.

Perhaps the Matamora used for a school and a store reminded the citizens of the sacrifice area residents had made for their country.

The Linkous Store was the first home of the Byrd Linkous family, Wiley Burgess Linkous, called Byrd by family and friends was the father of Dr. Maury Linkous. Dr. Linkous was a highly respected MD in the area. His office was located in the Linkous Store. Legend has it that he never lost a case of pneumonia- he would go to the patient and remain until the crisis had past and the patient was on the road to recovery.

Older residents of the Price’s Fork area remember Dr. Linkous as a tease who used a skeleton (supposedly from medical school days) in a closet in his office to frighten more than one unsuspecting patient.

Two brothers of Dr. Linkous, Francis Clayton and Huston Monroe, operated a general store in the same building. Many categories of merchandise was made available to customers. One elderly former patronizer described the store inventory as 'included everything from chewing gum to tomb stones.'

Mr. M.B. Linkous, only son of the late Dr. Maury Linkous and wife Mary, currently resides on Price’s Fork Road near the old site of Linkous Store. He is engaged in farming and real estate.

Last Updated: February 25, 1998