Committee hammers out details of making Franklin a city

Published 9:27 am Wednesday, December 7, 2011

EDITOR’S NOTE: Looking Back features past articles from The Tidewater News with commentary by local history buff Clyde Parker. The series commemorates the 50th anniversary of Franklin becoming an independent city.

Dec. 2, 1961


The Franklin City negotiating committee, made up of representatives from the County Board of Supervisors, the County School Board and the Franklin Town Council, is hammering out details in regard to Franklin’s change to city status.

Very little information is being made public other than the fact that, primarily, discussions are ongoing concerning school debt and disposition of school property.

Franklin Town Attorney J.E. Moyler Jr., Attorney J.E. Moyler of Franklin and Richmond Attorney Walter E. Rogers are working on the City Charter, which is the document that will spell out details regarding governance; policies and procedures; city boards, departments and committees; city officers; and a host of other city matters. The proposed charter will be submitted to the Franklin City Council for review and approval. Then, in January, the document will be forwarded to the Virginia General Assembly for approval.

Certification of the town becoming a city is forthcoming. The population issue has been resolved because Franklin’s population has been certified at 7,364 — more than the minimum is 5,000 required to become a second class city.

At this point, it looks like Judge John Hutton’s declaration of city status will be made before the end of the year.


The housing shortage in Franklin should be eased somewhat in the near future. On Monday, acting on a recommendation from the County Planning Commission, the Board of Supervisors approved Hunter Scott’s request that 19 lots in Hunterdale be rezoned from agricultural to urban residential. The lots are located behind a row of homes facing the northeast side of the Hunterdale-Sedley Road.

Hunter Scott, the founder of Hunterdale, heads W.H. Scott, Inc. — a company that constructs buildings and highways.


Will Story of Capron, vice chairman of the Southampton County Board of Supervisors, has been elected president of the League of Virginia Counties. As president, he plans to spend a lot of time in Richmond during the General Assembly session, which begins in January.

“Urban counties are concerned about annexation of county territory by neighboring cities,” he said. “Cities just keep whittling away at the counties and there is very little, under present law, that can be done about it. This issue is of great concern to most counties and will be at the head of a long list of matters we will address with our legislators.”


Virginia’s controversial Sunday “blue laws,” which prohibit the sale of certain types of merchandise on Sundays, will not be enforced in Franklin until they are clarified. Under present law, in some areas, it is illegal to sell cigarettes on Sunday yet beer is legal. In other areas, it is the opposite.

Statewide, certain foods can be bought on Sunday. Prepared foods are OK, but uncooked food items are not OK.

“Everybody seems to have a different interpretation of the laws,��� said Police Chief Willie Burrow. “We are going to wait for a clarification of the laws before enforcing them.”


Two prominent families have been recognized for having the most members of a family working at Union Bag Camp. Five members each from the Cobb and Rainey families work at the mill.

Otis Rainey is assistant superintendent of the power plant. Ryland and John Rainey both are foremen in the pulp mill; Rebecca Rainey Cobb works in the technical department; and Junius Rainey works in the pulp mill.

J.G. and Tony Cobb work in the power plant. Melton and Shelton Cobb work in the paper mill, and Jerline Cobb is a secretary in the Woodlands Division.


On Monday last, an overflow crowd of some 900 jammed the Franklin High School auditorium for Dad’s Night.

“This was the biggest Franklin PTA crowd in memory,” said Franklin High Principal F.H. Christopher. Usual attendance averages 100.

PTA President Bob Phillips welcomed the crowd, and spoke of the challenges and opportunities before the Franklin community in operating its school system when it becomes a city.

After entertainment by the high school swing band, parents visited with teachers in the various classrooms at the elementary and high schools.

CLYDE PARKER is the retired human resource manager from the former Franklin Equipment Co. and a member of Southampton Historical Society. He can be reached at 757-647-8212 or