Looking back: Southampton supervisors deny raises

Published 9:49 am Friday, May 16, 2014

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

May 16, 1964

The liveliest discussion at Monday’s meeting of the Southampton County Board of Supervisors was prompted by a request from D. T. Rogers and Ann Freeman of the VPI Agricultural Extension Headquarters. They asked the Board for a $10.00 per month raise for extension workers (county agent, home demonstration agent, etc.) in Southampton County.

The request was denied by a 4-2 vote. Opposing Supervisors were C. B. Rock of Boykins, Allen Partridge of Drewryville, J. P. Simmons of Sebrell, and N. S. Boykin of Ivor. Voting in favor of the increases were Supervisor Paul Councill of Hunterdale and Vice Chairman Fred Worrell of Newsoms. Chairman Will Story of Capron presided.

A lot of the discussion had to do with the efficiency and cost effectiveness of the County Agent’s office. Rogers said “Just a few more than 2,500 soil samples were made last year and they cost something”. “Most peanut farmers “, he said “now desire to have their soil tested; but most of them can’t get it done when it needs to be done ”.

Partridge led the assault by pointing out that in Northampton County, NC the County Agent has taken many thousands of soil samples. “They take in multiple thousands more than Southampton County, Va. The people in Northampton County think so much of their County Agent, and the efficiency and productivity of his staff, they have bought him a pickup truck just to carry soil samples to Raleigh,” Partridge said.

“Northampton County, NC is drying 90 percent of their peanuts” Partridge said. “But such isn’t so in Southampton County.” “Southampton County is ahead of Northampton County on livestock but behind on row crops”, he added. Partridge doesn’t feel the taxpayers are getting what they pay for from the extension service. “If a farmer wanted complete recommendations on peanuts he’d been having to go to North Carolina to get them.”

Rogers said “70 percent of peanuts are being dried here this year; and”, he noted, ‘‘this is the largest peanut-growing county in the world.”


When the YMCA was formed here in November 1955, the eventual construction of a building was discussed. YMCA backers decided to go slowly on the plans. During the interim, the Armory, the Hill Street swimming pool and other City physical facilities have been used.

Now, seems to be the time to embark on a plan to raise money and build a facility. Physical facilities currently in use will continue to be used until such time that a gym, swimming pool, etc. can be built.

Robert C. Ray, President of the Franklin YMCA said “Very few places go into a program this ambitious.” “This is one reason we have gone into it slowly. We waited and wanted to be sure this program would be used before we spent money for a building.” “Now, we have convinced ourselves that the YMCA is here to stay. Acceptance by the people has been very good.”

The “Y” was originally formed here in 1955 by a group of Franklin residents who thought it would answer the community’s recreation problem.

On May 1, 1956, Martin Pearson was hired as YMCA Secretary. He still holds that position. Pearson previously served as Secretary of the YMCA in Galax.

Robert Ray was elected president, and he still holds that position. Paul Councill was chosen vice president and he remains in that position. The local “Y” now has three full-time employees – Pearson, Mike Uzzell and Mrs. Joyce P. Whitley, office secretary.

Most of the Board members have been with the group since or almost since its formation here.

They are: Ray, Councill, Reverend Robert Davis, Robert Edwards, DDS; George Hedgepeth, H. S. James, Jr., Edward Moyler, Jr., Mrs. G. H. Parker, Jr., Mrs. H. A. Purnell and J. E. Ray III. Ray is also chairman of the special gifts committee.

Recently, Joe King, Jr. accepted the general chairmanship for the building fund drive, scheduled for January and February.

Members of a special steering committee made up of civic club representatives have been appointed. They are: William Branch, Kiwanis; Dellie Cotton, Lions; Albert Faison, Jaycees; Alma Henry, Woman’s Club; Mildred Keeter, Business and Professional Women; Rev. Tom Mabe, Franklin Ministerial Association; Hap Purnell, Rotary; and Edward Spivey, Hunterdale Ruritan.

Construction details for the $300,000 building have been completed and a committee is presently considering several possibilities for a location.

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