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Looking Back: Story & Worrell to head supervisors

Published 9:43am Friday, October 18, 2013

EDITOR’S NOTE: Looking Back features past articles from The Tidewater News with commentary by local historian Clyde Parker.

October 18, 1963

STORY & WORRELL TO HEAD SUPERVISORS

Will Story, a long-time member of the Southampton County Board of Supervisors representing the Capron District, on Monday, was elected to fill the unexpired chairmanship term of the late John Camp. Previously, Story was vice chairman. Fred Worrell, Newsoms District Representative, was elected to fill the vice chairmanship position.

Voting, by the supervisors, was done as the first order of business at the first Board meeting that took place following Camp’s death. Members of the Board of Supervisors choose their leaders from among their own ranks.

Two things are involved here. First, a new chairman and vice chairman needed to be elected. Second, a special election must be held to replace Camp as the elected Board representative for Southampton County’s Franklin District. This will take place on Election Day, November 7.

THREE-WAY RACE FOR SUPERVISOR

Three hats are in the ring. The upcoming race for the seat on the Southampton County Board of Supervisors representing Southampton County’s Franklin District is on. Two hats were expected and they are there. In addition, one unexpected dark horse showed up at the last minute, so, as of now, three Franklin District men are seeking the seat left vacant by Camp’s death.

The candidates are: Winston M. Browne, 57, of Smith Ferry Road, a supervisor with Union Bag-Camp Paper Corp.; J. Paul Councill, Jr., 41, of Hunterdale, owner of Councill Plant Farm; and Dr. Norvel W. Nuckols, 48, of Cypress Manor, a Franklin optometrist.

All three contenders filed their petitions and declarations of candidacy with Southampton Clerk of Court Burton McLemore on Tuesday, a day before the deadline. Their names will be on the ballot for the November general election.

HISTORIC FREIGHT STATION AND DEPOT TO BE DESTROYED

The historic Norfolk, Franklin and Danville Railway (NF&D) depot and freight station, located at the intersections of Mechanic and Jackson Streets and Bowers Road in Franklin, will be torn down and replaced by a modern structure. The depot was built in 1886 and has been in continuous use since then.

As far back as 1888 two east-bound and two west-bound passenger trains stopped daily at the Franklin depot. In 1899, the railroad, then known as the Atlantic & Danville, leased their railway to the Southern Railroad. In 1949 the Atlantic & Danville took the railroad back and resumed freight operations but eliminated passenger service.

Last year, the Norfolk and Western Railroad, based in Roanoke, purchased the line, designated it as a subsidiary, and renamed it the Norfolk, Franklin & Danville Railway.

The planned new depot structure will be a modified version of a pre-fabricated “Kingsbury” home. It will serve as a combination freight station and office building.

The old structure is in relatively good condition, is restorable, but is considered too antiquated by today’s standards. The historic significance of the depot with its Victorian architecture is not a consideration. Sadly, even though there are many people who are concerned, Franklin will lose still another of its irreplaceable historical assets.

FRANKLIN – A MAJOR RAIL TRANSPORTATION CENTER

The Franklin area is fortunate to have three railroads passing through or emanating from its environs.

The Franklin and Carolina Railroad is owned by Union Bag-Camp Paper Corp. and is used as a means to transport timber to the Franklin Mill from its various sources in southern Virginia and northeastern North Carolina. The rail-line extends from the mill in Isle of Wight County into North Carolina all the way down to Lewiston. A branch of the rail-line swings through Nansemond County to Whaleyville which is a staging area for timber harvesting in the Dismal Swamp.

The other two railroads – the NF&D and the Seaboard Airline Railway – cross the Blackwater River at Franklin and are inter-connected by rail spurs – one on each side of the river, facilitating transfer of freight from and to industrial facilities not adjacent to the intended carrier.

The primary NF&D customer is Union Bag-Camp Paper Corp. which receives chemicals, pulpwood and coal via the NF&D. And, paper products are moved out from the paper mill and finished lumber is shipped from the lumber division. The Seaboard is also a major carrier for Union Bag-Camp.

Other customers for both railroads are St. Regis Paper Co. which receives bag paper stock, and ships out various finished paper bag products; Southern States which receives agricultural lime and feed, and ships soybeans; and Pretlow Peanut Co. which ships raw peanuts.

In addition, Franklin is the nearest railroad service area for many relatively large shippers located in the Murfreesboro, NC area.

CLYDE PARKER is a retired human resources manager for the former Franklin Equipment Co. and a member of the Southampton County Historical Society. His email address is cpjeep99@yahoo.com

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