Franklin Council negotiates with phone company

Published 9:22 am Wednesday, May 11, 2011

EDITOR’S NOTE: The following is a selection of news from and reflections on Western Tidewater’s past.

MAY 8, 1961


Franklin Town Council is continuing negotiations with Home Telephone and Telegraph Co. for a new town telephone franchise. The old franchise, dating back to 1931, is due to expire on June 22, 1961.

At a Town Council meeting on April 27, Councilman John C. Parker made a motion to authorize Town Attorney J. Edward Moyler Jr. to act for the Town in inserting a provision in the contract with the telephone company that it would hold the Town of Franklin free and harmless from liability on account of injury or damage to persons or property growing out of the acquisition, occupancy and use of such telephone and telegraph lines and services.


“We should be spending $5 million to $6 million a year on primary road construction in the Suffolk District, but $2 million is all we have.”

So said Douglas B. Fugate, assistant chief engineer of Virginia Highways, who cited as among “immediate needs” such projects as improvements on Route 13 on the Eastern Shore to handle the expected increase in traffic when the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel is completed, an expressway from Virginia Beach to Norfolk, four lanes on Route 58 from Franklin to Suffolk and four lanes on Route 58 from Franklin to Courtland.

Contracts will be let for the Franklin-Courtland project from the Franklin town limits to the Nottoway Swamp on May 24, he said. Cost of the first portion is estimated at $650,000.

During his talk to the Franklin Rotary Club Friday, Fugate, resident engineer at Franklin from 1936 to 1940, cited S. W. Rawls Sr. for his work on the Virginia Highway Commission and praised Franklin’s present resident engineer, Gene Wood, for “doing a good job.”

He paid tribute to Mr. Rawls for “wise counsel and a keen sense of humor” and said that he “always rejected the politically expedient and projects not in the best interest of the state”.


A reassessment of land and property for tax purposes, similar to the reassessment in Southampton a year ago, is under way in Isle of Wight County. As in Southampton, where reassessment was followed by a reduction in the tax rate from $3.50 to $3.15 a hundred, the Isle of Wight reassessment is not expected to raise the tax bite.

Isle of Wight supervisors say they plan to set the tax rate, according to the new values in time for 1962 taxes.

MAY 11, 1961


The northern route for Virginia’s disputed east-west Interstate 64 would be cheaper to build, cheaper to maintain and would attract more traffic than the southern route.

These are three of the reasons why Franklin’s longtime member of the State Highway Commission, Sol W. Rawls Sr., said he has consistently supported the northern route.

Virginia has been wrangling for nearly three years about whether to build the super highway from Virginia Beach to West Virginia on the northern route through Charlottesville or on the southern route through Lynchburg. A meeting of the State Highway Commission is set for May 24 in Richmond. Rawls said he is not optimistic about the chances for a final decision at that time.


A window display contest for Franklin merchants has been added to the list of events planned for next week’s observance of Chamber of Commerce Week in Virginia. Elle Bailey with Jones-Hayes Dept. Store will head the window display project. Mayors Elmo Rock of Boykins, Ben Williams of Courtland and Dr. Darden Jones of Franklin will serve as judges.

Other events, announced by Chairman Bill Ellis, include a trip to Richmond next Tuesday by a local delegation to present a Southampton County ham and a bag of jumbo peanuts to Governor Almond. Chamber President Robert C. Ray, president of Franklin Concrete Products Corp., will head the group.

A sales promotion, featuring special bargains at local stores, is planned for Friday and Saturday.


During a recent morning session, the Southampton County Board of Supervisors adopted a record $2.1 million budget for the fiscal year beginning July 1. Of the total budget, $1.6 million was ticketed for operation and construction of county schools.

Sam E. Pope of Drewryville, Southampton County’s veteran representative in the Virginia House of Delegates, attended the meeting to discuss his proposed state sales tax.

CLYDE PARKER the retired human resource manager from the former Franklin Equipment Co. and a member of Southampton Historical Society. His email address is