HUGO - No one is sure exactly how Hugo got its name, but if history books are correct it was probably resident Elias Liverman Hazelton who named the crossroads in honor of his favorite author, Victor Hugo, shortly after the Civil War.
Hazelton, known as the Squire of Hugo by his friends and neighbors, had joined the Confederate Army in 1863 and served in a regiment from Lenoir County. After the war, he returned to Hugo and went to work in a Kinston printing shop.
Today the center of Hugo is found at the intersection of Hugo and Grifton-Hugo roads. At the crossroads can be found a grocery store and gas station, the Hugo Volunteer Fire Company, the fellowship hall of the Gateway Free Will Baptist Church and plenty of farmland.
A few family dwellings and a couple of other small businesses are nearby. The Hugo Groc. and Grill, as the grocery store is called, is the No. 1 gathering place for Hugo and nearby residents.
It's here that the regulars stream in daily to have some good food, friendly conversation and catch up on all the local news and gossip.
Ronnie Edmundson, who operates the Hugo Groc. and Grill, estimates that about 500 people pass through the store each day, with about 90 percent of the customers living within a 15-mile radius.
There are very few stores like this anymore," Edmundson said. "Most stores now belong to chains. "There are a lot of good people around here. This is a close community.
Everybody knows everybody. Most of those who come in here just like to sit around and talk." The store's owner, Jesse Moore, built the building in 1980.
Originally from Kinston, he moved to Hugo in 1953 when he married a local girl.
'This community is growing," Moore said. "There are more people here now than there have ever been."
John Creech, a retired Greene County tobacco farmer, doesn't miss the chance to stop by the grocery store every day. "I like the fellowship here," he said. "This is where you find out all the news."
Behind the counter, Michael Tilghman can be found busy packing fresh meat. Fresh packed meat is the grocery's specialty.
"I have worked here off and on for several years and like it," he said. "I get to see all the people, and you can't beat them. This is just like the bar atmosphere without the alcohol."
Bob Shiles can be reached at (252) 527-3191, Ext. 237, or