Looking back: Rites held for Camp

Published 9:54 am Friday, October 4, 2013

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

October 4, 1963

Funeral services were held yesterday morning for John Madison Camp, 78, who died Sunday in a Richmond hospital following a brief illness.

He entered the hospital last week and was thought to be on his way to recovery when death came unexpectedly.

He was the second son of the late Paul Douglas Camp and Ella Cobb Camp.

One of Virginia’s leading industrialists, Camp, at the time of his death was a director of Union Bag-Camp Paper Corp.

Camp’s public service endeavors, most prominently and for many years, includes service on the Board of Supervisors for Southampton County. At the time of his death and for many years prior, he was actively involved as Chairman of that body.

Even though he was a Franklin resident, he continued to represent the Franklin District of Southampton County on the County Board; and, he could do this because he was reelected when the now City of Franklin was still a part of the Franklin District of Southampton County. In accordance with State law, Camp, as a City resident, could continue to serve on the County Board for as long as the people of Southampton County’s Franklin District continued to reelect him.

A 1905 graduate of VMI, he was president of the VMI Foundation and served on the VMI Board of Visitors. He obtained an M. A. degree from the University of Virginia.

In 1906, Camp began his work career with Camp Manufacturing Co. in Franklin. He was assigned to the sawmill.

In 1910, he moved into the managership of Judson Lumber Co. in Carrabelle, Florida. That company was one of the many endeavors of John’s Uncle Robert Judson Camp.

In 1911, John returned to Camp Manufacturing Co. and was named superintendent of the Company’s lumber mill at Wilmington, NC.

In 1914, he was sent to Wallace, N.C. to build and operate a lumber mill. While there, he was named assistant secretary of the Company.

In 1918, when Ryland Camp, John’s older brother, entered the armed services, John was moved to Franklin to take charge of logging operations. After the war, Ryland returned to Franklin and John returned to Wallace. In 1922, John built the Company’s mill at St. Stephens, S.C. In 1923, he moved back to Franklin but was still responsible for mill operations at Wallace and St. Stephens.

Eventually, John Camp became vice president and general manager of Camp Manufacturing Co. Concurrently, for many years, he was an officer and director of all the Company’s many subsidiaries.

He was Secretary-Treasurer of the former Chesapeake-Camp Corp. — the company that was in existence from 1936 to 1945 in collaboration with Chesapeake Corp. of Virginia at West Point to manufacture paper at the Franklin mill site.

At various times, Camp was involved with the Company’s subsidiary railroad companies. He was President of Carolina Western Railroad, Vice President of Roanoke Railway Co., and President of Franklin and Carolina Railroad. Those railroads were established in order to give the Company better access to its broad and far-reaching timber resources.

He was an organizer, major contributor to, and President of the Virginia Manufacturers Association.

Of vigorous physique and excellent health, he experienced in his life no significant sickness until his last. He was one of the many children of Paul D., James L. and Robert J. Camp, who were the founders of Camp Manufacturing Co.

Camp was a devoted member of the Baptist Church, first at Sycamore Baptist Church, in Southampton County, of which his father and mother were among its founders, and throughout his adult life at Franklin Baptist Church in Franklin. He had been a deacon at the latter for many years.

Survivors include his wife, the former Mary Elizabeth Webb of Fort Smith, Arkansas, and his children: Mrs. Charles Lee Smith, Jr. of Raleigh, N.C., John M. Camp, Jr. of Franklin, and Mrs. Lawrence McNeill Johnson of Aberdeen, N.C.

He is also survived by his brothers and sisters: Paul Ryland Camp of Franklin; Mrs. Webster Walker (May Camp) of Bridgeport, Conn.; Mrs. William Marion Ballard (Ella Camp) of Franklin; Mrs. Charles R. Younts (Willie Camp) of Atlanta, Ga.; Mrs. W. R. McDougall (Ruth Camp Campbell) of Franklin, Va. and San Antonio, Texas; Mrs. Robert Franklin Marks (Texie Camp) of Boykins; and Dr. Paul D. Camp, Jr. of Richmond.

Pall bearers were: John E. Ray III; Sol W. Rawls, Jr.; Robert C. Ray; Robert B. Allport; Clifford A. Cutchins III; Joe D. Neikirk; A. Clifford Miller; and Major General George R. E. Shell, of VMI.

CLYDE PARKER is a retired human resources manager for the former Franklin Equipment Co. and a member of the Southampton County Historical Society. His email address is cpjeep99@yahoo.com