Supervisor Simmons welcomed to Southampton board

Published 9:43 am Friday, January 27, 2012

by Clyde Parker

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.

Jan. 26, 1962


The Southampton County Board of Supervisors met last Tuesday.

The first order of business was to recognize and welcome new supervisor J. P. Simmons of Sebrell, who was appointed to fill the Jerusulem District seat formerly held by L.A. Clements of Courtland, who resigned to accept appointment as County Commissioner of Revenue. Clements replaces Franklin Edwards, who accepted the revenue position for the new City of Franklin

In other action, John M. Camp of Franklin and Will H. Story of Capron were re-elected chairman and vice chairman, respectively. Other supervisors are Allen Partridge of Drewryville, C.B. Rock, Jr. of Boykins, Fred Worrell of Newsoms and N.S. Boykin of Ivor.

Franklin/Southampton negotiations in regard to Franklin’s city status are impacting budgetary matters in both jurisdictions. The uncertainty is beginning to have a day-to-day effect on county affairs. Several items came up at the Board of Supervisors meeting, which had to be postponed due to lingering questions concerning school debt and Southampton school property in Franklin.


William M. Camp has been elected president of the Franklin Chamber of Commerce for 1962. Divisional vice presidents will be William L. Ellis Jr., Retail; J. Floyd Briggs, Civic; John Scott, Agricultural; and Robert C. Ray, Industrial.

John D. Abbitt was elected treasurer and Miss J. Lois Milner will continue as executive secretary.

“I am very interested in slum clearance,” Camp said. “And I believe we must bring more diversified industry into our area.”

Camp is a member of the executive committee of the Tidewater Virginia Development Council in Norfolk. He also serves on the Boards of Union Bag-Camp Paper Corp., Atlantic Rural Exposition in Richmond, and Vaughan and Co. Bankers in Franklin. He is a member of the Board of Visitors for the University of Virginia.

Camp owns and operates Holliknoll Farm in Franklin.

The number one civic project for the chamber in 1962 is to continue working toward the development of a YMCA Community Center for Franklin.

Promotion of an industrial development corporation tops the list in the industrial division. Cooperation with the Tidewater Virginia Development Council will continue.

In the Agricultural Division, development of a farmers’ market at which products grown in the area could be sold direct to consumers is the prime goal. Also, the chamber will promote increased hog production in the area.


G. Carl Steinhardt has been elected chairman of the board of Merchants and Farmers Bank in Franklin. He succeeds Colgate W. Darden Jr., who will remain a member of the bank’s board of directors.

Steinhardt’s father, the late George H. Steinhardt, was a member of the institution’s board of directors for many years. For decades, the Steinhardt family has operated G.H. Steinhardt and Co. hardware store on Main Street in Franklin.

J. Vaughan Beale was elected vice chairman, succeeding Steinhardt. Members of the board of directors are Abbitt, Steinhardt, Beale, Darden and W. Tall Jones. Jones owns and operates Jones Drug Co. in Franklin.

John D. Abbitt Jr. and J. Vaughan Beale were re-elected president and vice president, respectively.

Re-elected were Bobby B. Worrell as cashier, W. Tall Jones as secretary, and Mrs. A.L. Rose and Mrs. M.D. Sanford as assistant cashiers.

Abbitt termed the past year a highly successful one. He noted that the bank’s resources have increased to a new high at $5.9 million.

Merchants and Farmers Bank opened in Franklin on Sept. 6, 1902. It was founded by J. Denson Pretlow, Robert A. Pretlow, John A. Pretlow and Matthew H. Moore. J. Edgar Weede, then 16, was the bank’s first depositor.


Union Bag-Camp Paper Corp. has offered another 110 acres in the Bowers Hill area of Norfolk County as a proposed site for the new Virginia Wesleyan College. The company previously had offered about 100 acres.

The property is outside the area of Norfolk County proposed for annexation by the City of Portsmouth.

The Compaz Land Co. recently offered 200 adjoining acres. Camp’s new offer increases the total area for the proposed site to more than 400 acres.

The wooded area is the largest of the properties being considered by a Methodist committee, which will select the site for the new college.

Funds for the $1.7 million school were raised during the recent $7 million Virginia Methodist Higher Education Fund drive, which saw a number of Southampton and Isle of Wight Methodist churches help the Portsmouth District soar over its goal.

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