Maud Roux - Bonne Terre's Sr. Business Woman


By Martha DeClue

Published by the LEAD BELT NEWS, Flat River, St. Francois Co. MO, Wed. May 26, 1965.

The oldest business in the Bonne Terre community still in operation under the same name and management is the Roux Grocery established by James and Maud Roux in East Bonne Terre on Nov. 22, 1918.

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The store itself is of even more ancient vintage, having been built in the late 1880's for F. K. Silsby. Builders on the job were Benjamin and John Guyton, great-grandfather and grandfather of Maud Roux. Some of the early proprietors of the business were Henry Roux and A. C. Knispell. The building is a combined store and residence, known and frequented by six generations of Guytons and five Roux generations.

Years ago when few people owned automobiles and when there were no supermarkets, the store did a flourishing business supplying the community's grocery needs, house furnishings and feed supplies. It is now in the neighborhood store category and carries a limited amount of stock. The present day setting exudes the old-fashioned charm of a neat little country store. Furnishings include several delightfully old pieces, one of which is an antique clock on the wall. The front windows are full of geraniums with fantastically large and profuse blooms.

James Roux died in 1957 and since then his wife, Maud, has been sole proprietor of the business. She is a vital woman with a good sense of humor, outgoing personality -- and a fabulous memory. Tending the store is only one of the many activities of the 65 year old Mrs. Roux. She is a collector of relics, amateur historian, needlework specialist, flower grower and home-maker -- the kind of homemaker who does her own wallpapering, painting and property repairs. She is a faithful member of Centenary Methodist Church and the women's Altruistic Class, Bonne Terre. To be found in her interesting home are such things as heirloom furniture and dishes, all the modern conveniences, a player piano, and a vast collection of souvenirs including her grandfather's mustache cup. Mrs. Roux is fond of animals and her present pets are two cats and a dog. At this time of year she is particularly occupied with planting and beautification of the spacious, tree shaded grounds of her property. Despite her busy life, she always takes time to visit with her friends.

If information is needed about an individual or event in these parts, Mrs. Roux either remembers it or can find it in one of her volumes of clippings. Along with newspaper items, the books hold much information which Mrs. Roux has collected from authentic sources. There is, for instance, a transcript copy from the recorder's office which tells of the founding of the Methodist Church in East Bonne Terre in May, 1881. The names of the first trustees of that church will be familiar to old-timers -- W. H. Andrews, George W. Mahn, John W. Guyton and J. D. Merritt.

Maud Roux has an interesting background, complete with documents and pictures. Her great-grandfather, Benjamin Guyton, came from Ireland to Boston, Mass., and was later married in Kentucky to Phoebe Ann Gardner. They came by way of the Mississippi River to St. Charles, Mo., which was then the state capitol. Benjamin and his eldest son, John W. Guyton, served in the Union Army during the Civil War and around 1865 moved to the Lead Belt. They became some of the first settlers of Elvintown, later known as East Bonne Terre.

Brothers and sisters of John W. Guyton were George, Henry, Fanny and Ida. George was one of the community's first undertakers in the days before bodies were embalmed. His place of business, where he also made coffins and wagons, was located on what is now Hazel St., near the trade school. Family history has it that George fashioned his own coffin of walnut. Henry was also a wagon maker and undertaker, eventually settling in Potosi. Fanny married George Crump, justice of the peace, and after his death became the wife of Everett Gardner. Ida married Henry Babb, paperhanger and painter; they were the parents of Edna Babb who later married druggist Herman Lauth.

Maud's grandfather, John Guyton and his Irish-born father were carpenters by trade and helped to construct some of the first buildings in the community. Jobs on which they worked included the Roux store, the first church in East Bonne Terre and a number of the company homes owned by the St. Joseph Lead Company.

John W. Guyton married Mary Jane (or Mary J.) Boerar (later known as Burr), a girl from Essex, England, whose parents migrated to this country in 1857 and settled in Missouri's Belleview Valley. Their daughter, Matilda Guyton, was 29 when she married 35 year old George Berry. Surviving children of this union are Maud Roux of East Bonne Terre, Curtis and Alvin Berry of Kansas City. George Berry helped to sink some of the early shafts for the lead company and his wife, Matilda, played an important role in the founding of the East Bonne Terre church by helping with the solicitation of funds.

Maud received her first seven years of schooling in East Bonne Terre and attended eighth grade classes in Bonne Terre. There were no school busses in those days and very few sidewalks. In severe winter weather the East Bonne Terre pupils walked through deep snow in the tracks their fathers had made earlier in the morning on their way to work in the Bonne Terre mines. At the age of 18, Maud married James Roux. Their only child, a daughter named Clementine, is now Mrs. Art Foster of Grandview, Mo. The Fosters have four children and two grandchildren.

The generations yet to follow will have access to a wealth of family and area history since the storekeeper, Maud Roux, has been a faithful recorder. There is unusual continuity in this particular family story -- in which a woman who has great-grandchildren pursues a full and energetic life, living and working in a place built by her great-grandfather.

Published by the LEAD BELT NEWS, Flat River, St. Francois Co. MO, Wed. May 26, 1965.