Borroum's Drug Store
The history of the store begins as the war ends. Dr. Andrew Jackson (Jack) Borroum had just been released from a northern prison camp and Mustered out of the army at Atlanta, Georgia. He had worked for both the northern armies when he was captured and for the southern armies when he was free. With no particular idea in mind except to go home, he started toward Oxford, Mississippi on horseback. On his way he stopped in Corinth, Mississippi to look around and met a Dr. Young whom he had known before. Dr. Young convinced him to stay and practice with him. That he did, opening his office almost immediately. Corinth was still under military rule at this time.

Dr. Borroum began to dispense medicines, having to make most of them and soon decided to open a drug store that was to be both wholesale and retail. As Corinth did not have one at that time. So begins the history of Borroum’s Drug Store that was destined to be Mississippi’s oldest in continuous operation. It was first located on #4 Front Street, now called Cruise Street and just this side of where the Corinth Water and Gas Company was originally located. Later it was moved to its present location 604 Waldron Street when the courthouse was built. The present building was built around 1843 and was originally a tannery with a livery stable next door. The walls are made of hand-made brick, which you can see when you come in the store, and are four brick thick.

From that time on it was in the center of things. In someways it was like a general store in that it carried a variety of merchandise such as perfumes, incense, drugs, herbs, tobacco, coffee, etc. as they became available. Often times as his books show, he was paid in vegetables, eggs and chickens. His records do not show an account closed except upon the death of a customer. One way or another, as he accepted any kind of payment, they are all marked paid.

Dr. Borroum also put out a paper called, naturally, “Dr. A. J. Borrum’s Courier”. It was quiet interesting, giving the reader information on various remedies both new and old. It would give information on the newest medicines and the arrival of fresh herbs and new merchandise. There would be poems, short stories, anecdotes, jokes and tall tales related to the time of year it was published and, of course, it advertised Borroum’s Drug Store.

Dr. Borroum continued his medical practice and the operating of the drug store for thirty-two years, his sons joining him as they finished their medical training. Upon his death, his oldest son, Dr. James Alexis Borroum (Lex), became the sole owner of the store. It continues as a wholesale - retail until the late twenties.

Dr. Lex differed from his father somewhat and had a great interest in politics. He also was a great animal lover and raised fine canaries in the back of the store building. His interest in politics made the store a great place to be on election night in Corinth. The scoreboard would be maintained on the windows until the last vote was in. The men would spin many a yarn and swap many dollars as friendly bets were won and lost. Many of Mississippi’s former governors started their campaign in Corinth by always coming by and seeing how ”the feeling was” as they talked to the customers and Dr. Borroum.

Some of our fondest memories are brought back when old customers return after may years to ”just look around and reminisce”. Corinth being a border town on the Mississippi - Tennessee line made it a hub for marriages for many years (at that time it was easier to get married in Mississippi than in other nearby states). It was quite customary for the justices of the peace to use the back of the drug store to marry people after courthouse hours. Not long ago one such couple came to the store ”to just look around” and explained that they were married here fifty years ago and were just on their second honeymoon. It was probably one of the ones I stole a peak at when I was just a kid standing on the crates behond the partition, sneaking a look as the couple said ”I do”.

Many things have taken place in this old drug store. I remember one time when Ed Allen was chief of police and the department had just gotten in some tear gas guns. In his displaying of the gun it accidently went off running all of the customers and the chief out of the store for many hours. Finally, with the help of McPeters Funeral Home the fumes were dispelled, though it was many days before your eyes did not smart.

After Dr. Lex’s death in 1932, Conrad, Dr. Borroum’s oldest son, his wife Cristle, and his mother Willou operated the drug store. About five years later Conrad went to work for TVA and the younger son, Col. James Lannes Borroum and his wife Loretta with his mother Willou took their turn in operating the store. He continued to run the business until his death in 1975. He moderized the drug store in the late thirties, adding a new soda fountain with booths and tables and yes, even a juke box. He also put in new fixtures and later added a more modern glass front.

The store has moved with the times changing as the ”trends changed” until the arrival of the ”chain store era”. The family has decided the store should stay the same, offering the services it has for a hundred years such as charge accounts without service charges, free delivery, free gift wrapping. They also offer free blood pressure checks and senior citizens’ discounts (being the first in this area to do this). Another plus is their personal shopper service to their elderly customers, those too sick to get out or those who have some other type of emergency.

The store has a museum area where some of the original cobalt blue dispensing bottles with the gold leaf labels and the medicinal names written in Latin are displayed along with pharmaceutical scales with amethiyst balances, medicines and other antique paraphernalia, including a tiny mid-wife spoon for measuring portions of medicines. It also has a large Indian artifact collection on display that was personally collected by Col. Lannes Borroum and a civil war collection that both Col. Borroum and his brother Conrad assembled. In this collection hangs the sword and scabbard and powder horn of Jessie Kilgore Borroum, Dr. Jack Borroum’s brother who was killed in the Battle of Atlanta. Dr. Borroum brought it back with him when he was mustered out of the army in Atlanta.

The store today features a modern pharmacy operated by Camille Borroum Mitchell, Col. Borroum’s daughter and Corinth’s first woman pharmacist, a pioneer in a man’s field. she has practiced pharmacy for forty-six years. The old soda fountain is still very much in the center of things and is kept in perfect operation by the ingenuity of her youngest son, Alexis (Lex). It has everything from ”real” malted milks to their famous ice cream sodas. Of course there are the cherry phosphates and ”genuine” old fashioned cokes.

It also has a very large tobacconist shop operated by Bo, Camille’s oldest son and Dr. A. J. (Jack) Borroum’s great, great grandson. The tobacco mixes are special blends he has made and sport such names as Bo’s Trash, Borroum’s Blend and Kimmons Old Fashion. Most of his merchandise is imported having, for instance, beautiful hand-carved pipes from Denmark, others are from Turkey, England and France and, of course, the corn cob pipe from the USA. Along with tobacco, he has a wide selection of imported teas and coffees. Yes, the coffee is gound to your specification.

Alexis (Lex), the youngest great, great grandson of Dr. A. J. Borroum and his wife Debbie Seago Mitchell operate the candy shop which has the largest selections in this area, selling fine chocolates from the USA and others as far away as Finland, by the piece, by the pound or specially packed boxes done ”just your way”. Then there is the salt water taffy, the gourment jelly beans, the hand made ”kickin sticks”, the ”all day” suckers and hand-dipped pretzels. They also have hot roasted nuts of all kinds, plus sesame sticks and sunflower seeds.

The original wall cases have been put in place and are being restored by Alexis (Lex) along with several of the show cases. The old prescription counter was restored by Camille and two of her helpers, Louise Justice and Mickey Crumby. The cash register that sports the year 1926 has been reconditioned by Lex also.

All of the senior family members have died. Willou, Dr. Alexis Borroum’s wife lived to be 90 years old and was cashier for the soda fountain until just a few weeks before her death. Col. Borroum died in 1975. Conrad, the older son, died in1977 as did Col. Borroum’s wife Loretta who was the genius with the cosmetic department and public relations. Camille, Dr. A. J. Borroum’s great granddaughter, is operating the drug store with her two sons, Alexis (Lex) and Kimmons (Bo). An elder daughter, Beverly, worked with them earlier in the seventies until she decided to go to law school. Jennifer Lyn, the youngest daughter plans to feature a cosmetic speciality department.

For a little something to leave behind, Camille, who is not only a very good artist, you usually see some of her work on display at the store, is also very good with stained glass and is making stained and etched panels of the ancient apothecary symbols to display in the pharmacy. Lex is working with her in this venture.

The store has survived the time change. It is now 129 years old. There are four grandchildren, Alexis Borroum Mitchell II and Kirby Borroum Milligan, great, great, great grandsons and Leslie Anne Mitchell and Kimmons Johnson Mitchell, great, great, great granddaughters of Dr. A. J. Borroum. The drugstore is going into it’s sixth generation. They hope to see the year 2000.

Borroum’s Drug Store is listed in Historic Places to see in Mississippi and efforts are being made to put the pharmacy in the National Register of Historic Sites.


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