Looking back: Four homes open

Published 9:11 am Friday, May 2, 2014

by Clyde Parker

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

May 2, 1964

Four homes in the Franklin – Courtland area were open for Historic Garden Week last Saturday. The home and gardens of “Holly Run Farm” in Isle of Wight County, owned by Mr. and Mrs. William M. Camp, Jr.; the Franklin residence of Dr. and Mrs. J. W. Lambdin; the home of Mr. and Mrs. Wilbur J. Manry in Courtland; and, in Franklin, the Clay Street home and gardens of Mr. and Mrs. Sol W. Rawls, Sr. all made up the local tour.

The tour was sponsored by Franklin Garden Club in cooperation with the Garden Club of Virginia. Mrs. Wyatt Shorter was Chairman of the event and Mrs. Frank Daughtrey handled publicity.


“The possibility of a Franklin-SOUTHAMPTON Chamber of Commerce should be considered; now, it is just a Franklin organization,” said Paul Councill who represents the Franklin District of Southampton County on the Southampton County Board of Supervisors.

Councill, at the Board meeting on Tuesday, brought up the matter during a discussion on industrial development. Councill reported that the Franklin Chamber of Commerce recently hired a full-time male secretary. “Much of his work will be in the area of industrial development,” Councill said.

Also, he noted, Franklin Industrial Development Group, an offshoot of the Franklin Chamber, has been formed and is working for more industry.

“The City and the County should work together; any development that the Franklin Chamber attracts to our area is likely to be in the COUNTY,” he pointed out.

It is evident that Paul Councill believes the best instrument toward good City / County relations and industrial development initiatives is through a Chamber of Commerce that would encompass both jurisdictions and pursue common goals.

Officially, so far, the Franklin Chamber of Commerce remains silent on the issue; but, it is believed that among its leaders there is strong support for inclusion of Southampton in their organization.


The old Massenburg Mill area, better known as Shady Brook, is taking on a new look, and will serve new purposes when work is completed. On U. S. Route 58, halfway between Courtland and Franklin, the site is being developed into a roadside park and rest area. It will be available for picnics. And fishing will be allowed.

The development of this area into a park has been an idea highly promoted by the Hunterdale Ruritan Club and John Scott, a Club member who is also a member of the Southampton County Rural Development Committee.

E. A. Davis of Franklin, County Agricultural Agent, was put in charge of contacting the owners of the land in and around the proposed park to get their permission to develop the area. Pretlow Darden of Norfolk, one of the landowners, and John Faircloth of Ivor, representing the T. L. Bain estate, another landowner, were contacted. They both said “yes.” From then on, Scott and an energetic committee from Hunterdale Ruritan Club went to work. The evidence of their work is obvious.

About four acres have been cleared of undergrowth and other debris. Concrete tables and charcoal grills have been put in place.

On Thursday, Dr. Albert Beecher, a landscape specialist with VPI, visited the area with the Ruritan committee: John Scott along with Herman Smith (who was representing Hunter Scott), Randolph Denson, Bud Harris and Bob Phillips. The group toured the site and decided on locations for a shed and toilets. They also designated areas for a playground and swimming.

If Shady Brook proves successful, Southampton officials have said that other such projects will be pursued in other areas of the County


The City of Franklin School Board was authorized Monday night to purchase a 38-acre tract of land for the new Franklin High School. The land, which will cost about $55,000, is being purchased from Mr. and Mrs. Harvey Cutchins. The property is just off the new Crescent Drive not far from Old Sedley Road and is between the Gillette property and Sol Rawls’ Hillview Farm. Incidentally, a residential farmhouse that stood on the property until recently was, in the late 1890’s and early 1900’s, used as a consolidated graded school for approximately 50 students.

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