Mandarin Store and Post Office
APRIL 15 at 11 AM
Agnes Grace Jones, “Miss Aggie” as she was affectionately known, was the daughter of Edith and Walter Jones. She was a resident of Mandarin from 1898 until her death in 1992 at the age of 94. Miss Aggie was an independent, strong-willed, confident woman who possessed a deep sense of community and a charitable heart. Part entrepreneur, part community activist and part social worker, she had the business acumen to run a successful grocery, the organizational skills to become Mandarin’s Postmistress and a reputation for helping her fellow man in time of need. She was the last of her family to live in the Webb/Jones farmhouse which is located in the Walter Jones Historical Park.
“Miss Aggie” Day is celebrated and an award is given annually to a resident who has contributed to the Mandarin community in the areas of business, civic, educational or charitable accomplishment. The candidate’s contributions may be specific deeds or an accumulation of actions over a period of time. Recipients need not be “experts” in any particular area but might be known or recognized for their sense of community, their caring attitude or individual accomplishments.
2023 RECIPIENT: Susan Ford
Susan Ford and her husband Todd moved to Mandarin in the early 1980s and became Charter Members when the Mandarin Museum was started and located at the Mandarin Community Club. Susan also was one of the MMHS team that included her husband Todd, Jim Towart, Carl Davis, and others, who headed up the restoration and opening of the Store and Post Office, through a generous lease agreement ($1/year) with the Mandarin Community Club, which owns the building. They literally hammered nails, painted and whatever it took to get that historic building up and running again – and with a National Register of Historic Places designation in 2001!
Susan became friends with Jean Kennedy Morrow, who was considered Mandarin’s leading historian at the time. That relationship inspired her to learn everything she could about her new community’s history. She started buying books and locating photographs, documents and artwork related to Mandarin, and soon Susan and Todd’s home was filled with these items.
Finally in 2003, after the Mandarin Museum was built in Walter Jones Historical Park, the items were moved to the new museum’s archive room. Not only did she find objects for starting the collection at MMHS, but she acted as the archivist, diligently recording every single item onto index cards. Later the archive room was dedicated to Susan in appreciation for her diligence.
In recent years, while a MMHS Board member, Susan decided to approach Arcadia Press about publishing with them, and she began to gather photographs and write text for a book. It took a couple of years, but at the end of 2022, “Images of America: Mandarin” was published! This was a dream of Susan’s for such a long time, and she was finally able to make it a reality. What a gift to MMHS and the whole community.