She attacks challenges with a beautiful ferocity that is matched by no one. She is the matriarch, the figurehead, and the unflinching leader that is vital in every story. And in Lott’s story, she is Nellie Rowell.
A caretaker of Lott Furniture and local fixture for over 58 years, Nellie was well-known and well-loved in Laurel. She was all of the values that we hold tightly to and strive to uphold. She was humble, hard-working, unshakably steadfast, and the strongest of leaders.
In our retelling of our storied past, we told of her resilience and leadership:
In the late 40s, Nellie Rowell moved to Laurel from her hometown of Newton, Mississippi to seek any work she could find. In her early 20s, unexpectedly left by her husband, and a newly single mother of two children, Nellie came to Mr. Lott with just a high school diploma and a promise of devotion to her job. She worked steadfastly and unflinchingly for 58 years, becoming a figurehead, and a dog-eared page in the Lott Furniture story.
In 1983, Nellie’s longtime coworker and friend, Bernie Stockman passed away, leaving Nellie in need of help. Three of her children became regular employees during these years, filling roles she couldn’t by herself. Her sons Bobby and Rodney made deliveries and worked as outside salesmen, and Rodney’s wife Angie assisted her in the office. Reuben Lott and his wife Blondie both passed away in the late 80s, leaving a new family to be protectors of the Lott legacy.
A new story to tell.
Laurel is rich with hundreds of pages collected and shared by many mouths, that form this big story that’s worth telling. It’s old souls spinning yarns out on the porch to little ones, just hoping that their words never collect dust. It’s friends sharing fond memories of childhood and natives welcoming the newcomers who are writing their very first words on their pages.
As we near the turning point, the climax, of the story of our little town, we find that many of our most treasured pages are women.
In our new blog series entitled “Leading Ladies,” Laurel women who exude the qualities above will be highlighted and honored and get the opportunity to share their stories with us. Our town would not be what it is, and what it’s becoming, without these mighty women, our Leading Ladies.
The women in this series pull on our hearts and remind us of Nellie.
If she were still with us, we believe her vision for Laurel would line up with ours closely.
We are hopeful for a future filled with new beginnings and great success but still hold tight to what we have and honor these things wholeheartedly. We hope you will help us honor those women among us who are helping to make it happen, and that you will join us in writing new stories yet to be told.
Have someone in your life who represents the strength and vision of Nellie Rowell? Click here to nominate her now.
– Keri Rowell, Lott Furniture Co.
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Keri Rowell is part of Downtown Laurel’s most historic business, Lott Furniture Co. A Laurel native and Historic District resident, Keri enjoys exploring all of the beautiful spaces and places in her Home Town, discovering the hidden tales buried deep within its history, and sharing them with the world. When you visit Downtown Laurel, you might just spot her out exploring, dreaming up the next story to share with you.