Looking Back: Five-man housing authority appointed

Published 10:45 am Friday, December 27, 2013

by Clyde Parker

DECEMBER 27, 1963

After nearly three months of deliberation, the Franklin City Council appointed five men to serve on the recently created Franklin Redevelopment and Housing Authority. J.R. Howerton, long-time resident of Franklin and comptroller at Union Bag-Camp Paper Corp. will serve a five-year term and act as chairman.

Other members appointed are G. E. Pillow, president of Bristow Insurance Corp., four years; Dr. A.B. Harrison, physician, three years; Woodrow Livesay, president of the Franklin Chamber of Commerce and operator of Thornton-Livesay Furniture Co., two years; and James Piette, assistant plant manager at Union Bag-Camp Paper Corp., one year.

Dr. Harrison is the first Negro ever appointed to a Franklin board or commission.

An organizational meeting of the authority is expected to be held sometime in January. The first order of business for the new authority, most likely, will be the hiring of a paid consultant to make a study of the redevelopment situation in Franklin.

Franklin voters approved the establishment of a redevelopment and housing authority in a referendum that was held on July 9. The vote was 575 “for” and 349 “against.” However, as the vote reflects, a good number of people in the community (including some City officials), for various reasons, have reservations about having a redevelopment and housing authority in Franklin.

The establishment of its own school system and implementation of a redevelopment and housing authority are the two primary reasons Franklin officials wanted to have independent city status.

In the year 1960, when Franklin was still a part of Southampton, a county-wide referendum was held in regard to a housing authority just for Franklin. It was overwhelmingly defeated. This action, along with the schools issue, prompted Franklin officials, in the year 1961, to proceed more diligently with their petition for independent city status.

The Authority will decide where redevelopment is necessary and what will be done. After the authority makes its recommendations, public hearings will be held to allow citizens to express their concerns and voice their opinions. And, finally, all expenditures and plans must be approved by the City Council.

Preliminarily, according to various comments heard here and there, it appears the current targeted residential areas for redevelopment are “Berkley” (between the backside of Franklin High School and the General Vaughan Armory) and a large area on South Street. In addition, approximately two acres in the downtown area, near Pretlow Peanut Co., are in question. This would be a fairly large “chunk” of downtown Franklin’s commercial area.

City Manager Harold Atkinson, who has been the driving force behind getting the “Authority,” described the appointments as “a good cross section of Franklin citizens.”


What could become the largest egg industry in Southampton County, perhaps in the state, is now in the construction process a few miles outside Boykins.

The chicken farm, which will be a 48 to 50 thousand-dollar project upon completion in the early part of January, is owned jointly by William (Bill) Cutchins and R. T. Lassiter, both of Boykins.

A 40 x 330 foot building will house some 10,000 dekab layers. The young pullets, which are supposed to arrive January 7, will be 20 weeks old. These exclusive birds will consume approximately two and one half tons of feed and one thousand gallons of water per day. In return, Cutchins estimates that the chickens will produce 8,000 eggs daily.

The eggs will be moved by refrigerated trucks from the farm to local markets or larger surplus markets in Richmond and Norfolk where they will be sold wholesale at an estimated 32 cents per dozen.

Lassiter and Cutchins have decided to officially call the business “The Sunnyside-up Egg Farm.”


Clements Gouldman of Franklin and W. C. Jones, a former Franklin resident, are organizers and leaders of a private group which recently purchased Valentine Pulp and Paper Co., based in Lockport, La.

Jones, with Union Bag-Camp Paper Corp. in the New York Sales Office until his recent resignation, will be president of the firm. Jones previously owned and operated the now dissolved Franklin Paper Sales Corp. in Franklin.

Gouldman, formerly General Sales Manager for Union Bag-Camp, will be executive vice president and general sales manager at Valentine.

Frank Edmonds, formerly with the Union Bag-Camp sales department and still living in Franklin, will be on the sales staff at Valentine.

At least for the time being, Gouldman plans to continue his residence on Meadow Lane in Franklin. Jones will move his family from New York to New Orleans.

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