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  • Dale C. Maley

Store had most unique name

The No Name Store existed on the east end of Locust Street from 1902 until 1915.

The story of this store began with the birth of Newsom Lucian Barham in Greenville, Tennessee, in 1836. He was the son of Harbard Barham (1794-1871) and Martha P. Thomasson (1797-1864). In 1840, Harbard and Martha Barham had another son named Joseph W. Barham.

Another family involved in this story was the Rockett family. William Calvin Rockett was born in 1846 in Burke County, North Carolina.

In 1853, when Newsom Barham was 18, he moved to Fairbury. In 1860, Newsom married Eliza Ellen Simmons in Fairbury. Newsom was 24, and Eliza was 20 when they married. Newsom and Eliza Barham had eight children.

The Civil War began on April 12, 1861, when Confederate troops fired on FortSumter in South Carolina. According to's U.S. Civil War Soldier Records and Profiles database on, Newsom enlisted in Company G of the 1st Cavalry for the Confederate States as a Private. The database does not identify which state the unit was from and does not state the period of service.

In July of 1863, Newsom Barham registered for the Civil War draft, and he registered in Dale, Illinois. Dale is a small town in Illinois, only a few miles from the Kentucky state border. No evidence was found that Newsom served in the Union Army.

According to a 1901 pension application, it is likely that William Rockett served in the Union Army during the Civil War. In 1865, Joseph W. Barham married Amanda J. Brown in Tennessee. Joseph was 25, and Amanda was 24 when they married. In 1867, Joseph and Amanda Barham had a daughter named Alice F. Barham in Tennessee.

In 1869, William Rockett married Elisa Lemons in Tennessee. William was 22, and Elisa was 23 when they married. William and Elisa Rockett had five children. In 1869, William and Elisa Rockett had a son named Oscar Napoleon Rockett in Tennessee.

In 1872, Newsom and Eliza Barham had a daughter named Clara Lafina Barham in Indian GroveTownship. Clara Barham grew up in the Fairbury area.

In the 1880 Census, Oscar Napoleon Rockett lived with his parents in Greene County, Tennessee. At the time of that census, Oscar was 11 years old. In 1890, Oscar N. Rockett married Alice Barham in Tennessee. Oscar was 21, and Alice was 23 when they married. Oscar and Alice Rockett had two boys. One boy was named Herman Rockett (1891-1961), and the other was called Carl L. Rockett (1895-1946).

In the 1900 Census, Oscar and Alice Rockett lived in Greene County, Tennessee. Their sons living at home included Herman, age eight, and son Carl, age three. Oscar listed his occupation as a jeweler. Sometime between the 1900 Census and 1902, the Oscar and Alice Rockett family likely moved from Tennessee to Fairbury.

The first mention of the No Name Store in the Blade newspaper occurred in the November 21, 1902, edition. Twenty-four businesses got together and took out an ad in the Blade noting they would be closed in observance of Thanksgiving. The No Name Store was one of these 24 businesses that sponsored the notice in the Blade.

Unfortunately, Alice Rockett died in 1904 in North Carolina at the age of 36. Her surviving husband, Oscar Napoleon Rockett, had to care for their son Herman, age 12, and son Carl, age seven. O. N. Rockett placed an ad in the Blade on October 13, 1905. The ad had a price list for the services offered at the No Name Store, ranging from 25 cents to clean a 36-hour clock to $1.00 for cleaning a fine watch. The ad stated the No Name Store was located at the east end of Fairbury. This building was between Third and Fifth Streets on the north side of Locust Street.

In 1905, Oscar N. Rockett married Clara Lafina Barham in Fairbury. Oscar was a 36-year-old widower with two sons between the ages of eight and thirteen. Clara was 34 years of age when she married Oscar. Clara Barham was the first cousin of Alice Barham, the first wife of Oscar Rockett. The father of Clara Barham, Newsom Barham, was a brother to the father of Alice Barham, Joseph Barham.

In August and November of 1906, O. N. Rockett ran ads similar to the 1905 ad. In 1906, the State of Illinois inspected every business in the state, including Fairbury businesses. This audit found that the No Name Store had two employees over 16 years of age. The report noted the No Name Store was in the branch of industry known as "Notions."

The marriage of Oscar N. Rockett and Clara Barham did not work out. They had no children, and in 1908, Oscar married Lovancy Barnard in Buncombe County, North Carolina. Oscar was 39, and Lovancy was 31 when they married.

Also, in 1908, the Blade noted the three south rooms over the No Name Store were available for rent. Thomas A. Beach, the prominent Fairbury banker, owned the store.

In the 1910 Census, Oscar N. Rockett lived with his wife Lovancy in Reems, North Carolina. Carl Rockett, the son of Oscar and Alice Rockett, lived with them and was 15 years old. Oscar reported that he was a jeweler with his shop in Reems, North Carolina. In this same Census, Clara Barham reported that she had moved back home to live with her parents and reverted to her maiden name. She listed no occupation in the census.

In 1911, the Blade reported that John Sorg purchased the two-story brick building containing the No Name Store from Thomas A. Beach. The No Name Store remained in business after jeweler Oscar N. Rockett had moved to North Carolina.

In 1913, Oscar and Lovancy Rockett had a son named Clyde Rockett. Oscar was 44 years old when his son Clyde was born. In 1915, Oscar and Lovancy Rockett had a daughter. Unfortunately, the daughter died just one month after her birth.

The last mention of the No Name Store in the Blade occurred on June 8, 1917. Someone lost a gold umbrella at the train depot and asked to leave it at the No Name Store if the umbrella was found. Using the Blade articles, the No Name Store was in business from 1902 until 1915.

In March of 1919, Eliza Simmons, wife of Newsom Barham, died in Fairbury at 79. Nine days later, Newsom Barham passed away at 83 in Fairbury. Eliza and Newsom Barham were buried together in GracelandCemetery.

In the 1920 Census, Oscar and Lovancy Rockett lived in Asheville. Oscar was a carder in a woolen mill, and his son Carl was a laborer in the trucking industry. In the 1930 Census, Oscar was a spinner at a woolen mill. In the 1940 Census, Oscar was the proprietor of a watch shop in Asheville.

In 1941, Lovancy Rockett died in Asheville at the age of 64. Oscar was 72 years of age when his third wife died. Sometime between 1941 and 1944, Oscar married for a fourth time. If the marriage had occurred in 1942, Oscar would have been 73 when he married. The bride was a 42-year-old widow named Kate Garland.

Oscar Napoleon Rockett died in 1947 in Asheville at the age of 78. Clara Lafina Barham, the second wife of Oscar, died in 1956 in Fairbury at the age of 84. Kate Garland, the fourth wife of Oscar N. Rockett, died in 1975 at 76.

The history around the No Name Store in Fairbury is fascinating. This store existed for about 13 years, from 1902 until 1915. Although maps exist showing all the buildings along Locust Street in 1906, the exact location of the No Name Store still needs to be determined.

(Dale Maley's history article is sponsored each week on Fairbury News by Antiques & Uniques in downtown Fairbury and Dr. Charlene and Doug Aaron)

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