Looking Back: Capron man fills new post supervising farms in Southampton

Published 9:27 am Friday, February 24, 2012

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.


Feb. 24, 1962


Eugene Mendall Grizzard of Capron has been appointed to the newly created position of director of farming operations at the 3,000-acre Southampton County Farm near Capron.

His duties will include supervision of the farm’s vocational agricultural program. A graduate of VPI, he holds a degree in agricultural education.

The Southampton County Farm property, owned and operated by the Commonwealth of Virginia, houses 506 young first-time offenders from around the state. The farm produces peanuts, cotton, vegetables and various grains.

From 1,000 to 1,500 hogs are slaughtered annually. A herd of 80 to 100 beef cattle is maintained. There are 40 dairy cows. And, there are enough chickens to produce better than 1,200 eggs daily.

Grizzard, 27, has operated his father’s farm and worked with the Soil Conservation Service in Courtland. He and his wife, Patricia, have two daughters.

“We feel very fortunate to obtain a man with his training,” said Farm Superintendent William McCraw.

Much of the food consumed by farm inmates comes from their own production including from the slaughter of livestock and poultry. Excess is sold.



James L. Camp Jr. of Franklin is the 1962 recipient of the Distinguished Service Award of the Virginia Chamber of Commerce.

Camp’s name has been added to the list of previous winners of one of the state’s highest honors. The list includes another Southampton County man, former Gov. Colgate Whitehead Darden Jr., as well as Sen. Harry F. Byrd, U.S. Rep. Howard W. Smith, John D. Rockefeller Jr., Admiral William F. “Bull” Halsey and Gen. George C. Marshall.

Nominated by John C. Parker of the Franklin Chamber of Commerce, Camp was cited for his contributions to the economic, educational and cultural progress of Virginia.

“Not only is Jim Camp a legendary citizen of Franklin, but he is also a notable citizen of the state and nation,” said Parker.

He played a leading role in efforts that are culminating now in the building of Southampton Memorial Hospital and was a key figure in the decision to begin a YMCA program in Franklin. He is president of the Camp Foundation, which has contributed to local projects and religious, educational and charitable causes throughout the state.

Born in Franklin in 1895, Camp first went to work at Camp Manufacturing Co. in 1919. Seven years later, after serving as salesman, sales director and vice president, he became president and served in that capacity until the 1956 merger of Camp Manufacturing and Union Bag and Paper Corp., creating Union Bag-Camp Paper Corp. After the merger, he served as vice chairman of the board, director and chairman of the executive committee.

Camp was the principal founder of Virginia Forests Inc., an organization dedicated to the preservation and development of the state’s forests. He serves on the board of directors of the Virginia Foundation for Independent Colleges, National Association of Manufacturers, National Lumber Manufacturers Association and the Southern Pine Association.

He has been closely associated with Virginia Museum of Fine Arts. Camp serves on the board of trustees of the University of Richmond, Crozier Theological Seminary in Pennsylvania, Virginia Graduate School of Business, National Fund for Medical Education and Virginia Baptist Orphanage.

A member of Franklin Baptist Church, Camp received his early schooling in Franklin and graduated Phi Kappa Sigma from Wake Forest College, where he played football. He did graduate work at Columbia University in New York, where he also took voice lessons and sang baritone at several concerts.

Camp is an avid automobile fan, having owned a Stutz Bearcat and other vintage cars. He enjoys riding horses, fox hunting and golf.

Camp is married to the former Mary Clay of Selma, Ala. They have a son, Dr. James L. Camp III of Charlottesville.

James L. Camp Jr. is one of seven children of the late Mr. and Mrs. James L. Camp. The eldest child, Robert, died as a young man. Camp’s other brothers are William and Hugh of Franklin and New York. His sisters are Rena (Mrs. Sol W. Rawls), Betsy (Mrs. Eldridge W. Smith), and Sally (Mrs. Burton J. Ray), all of Franklin.

CLYDE PARKER is a retired human resources manager for the former Franklin Equipment Co. and a member of Southampton Historical Society. He can be reached at 757-647-8212 or ParkerC@seva-redcross.org.