Looking back: Five out of nine candidates elected to City Council

Published 9:41 am Friday, June 15, 2012

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

June 15, 1962

City Council election results

The highly contested Franklin City Council election was held on Tuesday, and the results have been officially tabulated.

All five of the at-large seats were open. Nine candidates were running. Long-time veterans of the Council, Dr. Darden Jones, Floyd Briggs and Carl Steinhardt were re-elected and will serve four-year terms. They led the ticket. Also elected were newcomers Dr. John Murray and Robert Pretlow Jr. They will serve two-year terms.

Longtime Council member John C. Parker did not seek re-election, citing other pressing matters in his life.

Back in February, incumbent Dellie Cotton was appointed by Council to fill the seat vacated by Dr. Burton J. Ray who resigned due to illness. Cotton failed in his bid for an elected term.

Roger Drake, who was running with the support and endorsement of Jones, Briggs, Steinhardt and Cotton, was not elected. Warren Councill and Maxie Day were defeated.

During the first City Council meeting in July, the five elected councilmen will decide, by vote, which one will serve as mayor.

Mrs. J.C. Eley wins new car

Mrs. J.C. “Jonnie” Eley of Franklin won the new 1962 Buick Special in the recently completed Tidewater News subscription campaign. She did it as the top seller of new subscriptions to the newspaper. Some of her subscribers are from as far away as Texas, Iowa and Pennsylvania.

On Saturday, Mrs. Eley, receptionist at St. Regis Paper Co., drove her 1951 car to The Tidewater News office on Main Street, where the winners were announced.

Lonnie Doughty of Doughty Buick, Pontiac and Oldsmobile was on hand to deliver the car on behalf of The Tidewater News Publisher Hanes Byerly.

“I was shaking in my boots,” Mrs. Eley said. “I didn’t think I would be the winner.”

Mrs. J. J. Bradsaw of Ivor, a young mother of two, won the $600 second prize. “I’m going to use it to pay some bills,” she smiled.

Tidewater News correspondent Mrs. T.B. Bell of Courtland won the $250 third prize. And, Mrs. J. Richard Lawrence of Franklin was the $150 fourth-place winner.

(Note: Mrs. Eley, a resident of the Village at Woods Edge in her later years, died June 30, 2011, at 101 years of age. At one time, back in the 1950s, prior to her employment at St. Regis, she and her husband owned and operated Eley’s Grocery, which later became Gee’s Grocery. The store was located on Second Avenue in Franklin. Today, the building is owned by Mary Frances Abbitt and is called The Abbitt Building.)

Merchants and Farmers

Bank may merge

Merchants and Farmers Bank of Franklin has joined with five other Virginia banks in a proposal to form a holding company with total assets of $416 million. The holding company, to be known as United Virginia Bankshares, Inc., would have the right to lend up to $3.5 million.

Merchants and Farmers, with assets of $5.8 million, is the smallest of the six banks. Others are State Planters Bank of Commerce and Trust of Richmond, with $265 million in assets; First and Citizens Bank of Alexandria, $69.5 million; First National Trust and Savings Bank of Lynchburg, $38.7 million; Citizens Marine Jefferson Bank of Newport News, $20.89 million; and Vienna Trust Co. of Vienna, $16.8 million.

Should the holding company be approved by the Federal Reserve Board of Governors, Merchants and Farmers would continue to keep its own name, officers and directors as would the other five banks.

John Abbitt, Jr. is President of Merchants and Farmers Bank and Carl Steinhardt is Chairman of its Board of Directors. Serving as directors in addition to Abbitt and Steinhardt are former governor Colgate Darden, Jr., Tall Jones and Vaughan Beale.