C. Tucker (Main Street)


127 East Main Street
Kingstree, SC


Charles “Charlie” Tucker (1886-1958) was born in Russia to Jacob and Raella Tucker. In 1890, the Tuckers immigrated to the United States, settling in Baltimore, Maryland. By 1914, Charles had moved to Kingstree, South Carolina, where he opened a dry goods and clothing store, C. Tucker, on East Main Street. He quickly became one of the most respected merchants in South Carolina’s Pee Dee region, opening other dry goods and clothing stores on Academy Street and in Lake City. In addition to his own mercantile activity, Charles brought Jews from Baltimore to South Carolina, helping them get their start as merchants by allowing them to work in his stores and learn the business. These fledgling Jewish Merchants often relied on the Baltimore Bargain House, a mail-order wholesale business that became a hub for Southern Jewish Merchants and extended credit to purchase inventory.

Around the time of Charles’s death in 1958, he passed the business on to his son-in-law, Thomas A. Blakely Jr. (1925-2013), who in turned passed it to his son, Thomas (“Tab”) Blakely III in 1996.5 According to an article in the Florence Morning News, over the course of three generations, C. Tucker’s went from selling “bolts of cloth and linen” to carrying name brands and extended sizes in everything from street clothes to workwear. The East Main Street store burned in 2011.1


1 Bailey Webb, “C. Tucker’s in Kingstree Holds it Own with Area’s Shopping Centers,” Florence Morning News, November 17, 1996, E1.

Main Image: Exterior of C. Tucker on East Main Street. Image from https://npgallery.nps.gov/GetAsset/7d74b318-51ca-4a2f-8c2f-dced083b70ad.


Above Image: Interior of C. Tucker, 1914. Charles Tucker stands behind the “39 cents” sign. Reprinted from The News, September 16, 1976.


Above Image: Reprinted from The County Record, April 22, 1915.


Above Image: Thomas A. Blakely Jr. (1925-2013). Image from https://williamsburgfuneralhome.com/obits/tab/index.html.


Above Image: Thomas “Tab” Blakely III at C. Tucker’s Department Store, 1996. Reprinted from the Florence Morning News, November 17, 1996​

The Jewish Merchant Project is supported by the generosity of the Henry & Sylvia Yaschik Foundation and the Stanley B. Farbstein Endowment at the Coastal Community Foundation.

JHSSC Office
Sylvia Vlosky Yaschik Jewish Studies Center
96 Wentworth Street
Charleston, SC 29424
Phone: 843 953 3918