South Carolina Picture Project
South Carolina Picture Project

Ralph’s Country Store — Hartsville, South Carolina

SC Picture Project  |  Darlington County  |  Ralph’s Country Store

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Ralph’s Country Store

A country store is more than a business where one can acquire goods. In many small communities, it is the local gathering spot, a place where people can come together and grab a soft drink, a pack of crackers, and catch up on the news. This store in the Kelleytown vicinity of Hartsville, built in 1935, served as such an establishment.

Ralph's Store Hartsville

Bill Segars of Hartsville, 2004 © Do Not Use Without Written Consent

According to contributor Bill Segars, who shared the images on this page, Ralph’s Country Store was operating during the 1950s when, as a young boy, he would ride his bike to the store from his house, which was less than a mile away.

Ralph Segars Country Store

Bill Segars of Hartsville, 2004 © Do Not Use Without Written Consent

Proprietor Ralph Segars – a distant cousin of Bill’s – held court in the store from his overstuffed chair, where he would make change for purchased items from a roll of cash in his pocket. According to Bill,

Conversation was always in the air, but the more people – mostly men – who were there, the livelier and more interesting the conversation was. Mr. Ralph was glad to see anyone stop by, but he made it real clear that if you were going to be there, you needed to add to the conversation. He didn’t like, as he called them, a ‘sponge’ – those men who just sat there and soaked up the news and never brought any. Just to be clear here, we are talking about news, not gossip. Everything that was told was told to be the truth, or so Mr. Ralph said, and I was too young to question him.

Country Store Hartsville

Bill Segars of Hartsville, 2004 © Do Not Use Without Written Consent

Bill continues,

All in all, good times were always had at Mr. Ralph’s. I don’t know of any problems that ever arose from conversation. It was just simple, good fun. The most time that I spent there was from the mid 1960s until 1973. My father and I would go by very often to catch up on conversation and get a drink and a pack of square nabs. This is when Cheese Nabs would come five-to-the-pack. My father and I would inevitably have the discussion as to which one of us would get that odd, fifth nab.

Sadly, Ralph’s Country Store came to a tragic end when Ralph Segars was shot and killed during a robbery in his store on November 23, 1973. Today the vacant building serves as a reminder of a simpler time when Facetime was found not on the internet but at the local mercantile.

More Pictures of Ralph’s Country Store

Below, historic photographs of the storied proprietor show Mr. Segars in his element. Both images were generously shared by Bill Segars.

Ralph Segars

Photo Provided by Bill Segars of Hartsville © Do Not Use Without Written Consent

Ralph Segars Hartsville

Photo Provided by Bill Segars of Hartsville © Do Not Use Without Written Consent

Ralph’s Country Store Info

Address: 2519 Kelleytown Road, Hartsville, SC 29550
GPS Coordinates: 34.353392,-80.138923

Ralph’s Country Store Map

Please Share Your Thoughts!

Did you enjoy this page? Do you have any information we should add? Send us your comments below — we can't wait to hear from you!

13 Comments about Ralph’s Country Store

Cynthia Mixon says:
December 23rd, 2018 at 9:36 pm

I, Cynthia Mixon, remember going to church with daddy and always stopping by Ralphs Store for candy. My Daddy, Ernest China Mixon, would always join in the conversation. My sister,Patricia Mixon, aka Trish Morris, and I recently stopped by the store to reminisce and take photos. Thank you for the memories!

Susan Huggins Evans says:
December 18th, 2018 at 1:11 pm

I lived in Kelleytown for years, I remember the store and Mr. Segars, I went there a lot. Lots of times he would give me a free drink and nab. I also picked dogs and raked the asphalt driveway at Mr. Segars that lives in the big white house across from Kelleytown Baptist Church. Mrs. Segars would always give me tea and a sandwich on the back porch before I left. This is where I made my money to go to the football games on the weekend. I used to get so sticky climbing that old fig tree. The good old times of my childhood!

SC Picture Project says:
December 16th, 2018 at 1:41 pm

We loved reading your comment and are thrilled to know that you found the article and that it made you smile. Thanks for sharing your memories with us!

Chastity Kelley says:
December 15th, 2018 at 10:25 am

This was my great pappy’s store; my grandma Helen Segars Kelley looked just like him. He was shot and killed in 1973 and I was born in 1975, so I never got to meet him but my daddy, Eddie Kelley, would tell me stories of him and riding the tobacco sticks like a horse. So many awesome memories. Thanks for the article, truly made me smile!

SC Picture Project says:
December 16th, 2018 at 1:43 pm

That is so neat that he used to stop so often, does he have any other stories he’d be interested in sharing? We are always open to hearing them! Our email is if you would like to get in touch, thank you!

Judy Kelley says:
December 15th, 2018 at 9:19 am

My husband said that he had a race car and would always stop at this store and purchase his gas for his car. He had so many fond memories of stopping there. Uncle Ralph was married to my grandmother’s sister.

SC Picture Project says:
October 22nd, 2018 at 12:16 pm

Absolutely! Please share any of our articles as often as you’d like, glad you’re enjoying them!

Stanley Seigler says:
October 22nd, 2018 at 9:37 am

Enjoyed, would like to share but will not w/o permission. Do I have permission?

Steven Horton says:
March 15th, 2016 at 6:49 pm

My great pappy

Robert Tomlinson says:
January 22nd, 2016 at 12:51 am

When my Dad was Principal of West Hartsville Elementary (1960-1984), I remember stopping by Mr. Ralph’s store for a coke and nabs. I vaguely remember about Mr. Ralph being murdered. It’s a shame either the Darlington County Historical Commission, Darlington County Tourism, or local historians haven’t restored his store into a country store museum dedicated to preserving Southern history and to become a tourist destination.

Jacquelynn Segars says:
November 30th, 2014 at 5:09 pm

Enjoyed the photo and story. Keep up the good work, Cuz ' Bill!

David King says:
November 30th, 2014 at 1:32 pm

I remember Mr Ralph's store. Always stopped by there when I was in Kelleytown. I don't remember him being killed in a robbery. Love the pictures.

Connie J Reynolds says:
November 28th, 2014 at 8:32 pm

Love to see old country stores…


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