History of Horton's BookStore

Mary Malinda

Mary Malinda

My name in Mary Malinda and I live in a bookstore. It is not your ordinary bookstore and I am not you usual bookstore resident. You see, Horton's Books & Gifts is the oldest bookstore in Georgia and — and well, I'm a ghost.

Bowden CollegeI had always been a reader and I loved books. My uncle was the founder of Bowdon College, where I attended and graduated as the first female (co-ed) in 1874 with a degree in teaching. I moved to Griffin, Georgia, where I taught school for several years before I met my wonderful husband, Newton Allen Horton. After we married, we lived in the even smaller town of Hiram, until I returned home to give birth to my daughter. Things did no go well and I did not survive. My poor daughter, Mary N., died a month later. We are both buried in the Methodist Protestant Cemetery located on the old Bowdon College campus.

Price List

Ad from the Carroll Free Press, April 1892

You may ask why I now live at the bookstore founded after my death — well, I always loved to read and to teach, so helping students find the books for class was just a natural. On a trip back to Carrollton, N. A. met the lovely Viney Lassetter whom he married soon afterwards. They had two sons, William born in 1892 and Hewling (Hap) born in 1894.

Although he was still an undertaker, N. A. decided to set up a small section of the furniture and undertaking store where he worked as a place to sell schools books to the students attending the recently organized Carrollton City Schools. In those days, the students had to pay tuition and also purchase their own books. By today's standards, the books did not cost very much, but at the time the books were very dear, so only those families who could afford the tuition and books would send their children to school. Many students had to work on the family farm or in the family business, so attending school was not an option for them. When a child came into the store, I would try to help them read by whispering the correct words in his/her ear. Helping with arithmetic and algebra was a little more difficult, but I helped children think through problems to solve them. Books for each class were separated into stacks with a total price for the stack hand written on a note.