Looking Back: Drake, Livesay given awards by Chamber

Published 9:05 am Friday, November 14, 2014

by Clyde Parker

NOVEMBER 14, 1964

The eleventh annual Franklin Chamber of Commerce business meeting was attended by 43 members Monday night at the Franklin Baptist Church fellowship hall. Two special awards were presented.

A.W. Livesay, Chamber President, was given an award of appreciation. A plaque inscribed with “for aggressive leadership and faithful service as president of the Chamber of Commerce” was presented to him.

Roger Drake, President of Franklin Equipment Company, was given a special business merit award “in recognition of the outstanding contribution made by his Company to the economic growth of the City of Franklin.”

Drake is first to receive this award. It was presented by Ashby Rawls, Franklin real estate and insurance executive.

Franklin Equipment Company, founded in 1962 and headed by Drake, manufactures the “Franklin Logger” which is designed to transport logs out of woodlands. The official establishment of the Company was preceded by four years of research and development. Prototypes, through an arrangement with Union Bag-Camp Paper Corporation, were tried and tested in the woods by experienced logging experts. Ben Babb of Courtland played a big role as a consultant and partner with Drake in the company’s formative years.

The popular new vehicle has met with immediate success.

The Franklin Logger was developed with new concepts in logging tractor design. First of all, it uses oversized rubber tires, which produces better mobility and a certain level of flotation. There is far less down-time for repair and maintenance. Traditional “track driven” logging equipment tends to be the cause of breakdowns and lost time and miring in certain types of terrain.

Another feature of the Franklin Logger is the fact that the tractor steers from an articulated center-section. This combined with over-sized rubber tires make the Franklin Logger much more maneuverable in the woods than rigid track driven tractors. It is a more efficient machine.

Expansion of the Company’s market area has been rapid. From an area within just a few miles from Franklin to a more regional area that includes Virginia and North Carolina, and now well into the southeastern United States, the young Company’s growth and industry acceptance has been remarkable.

This has been accomplished through an affiliation with Tidewater Equipment Company, a heavy equipment distributor based in Brunswick, Georgia, which is now an authorized dealer for the “Franklin logger”. This gives Franklin Equipment Company, through Tidewater Equipment Company, dealer locations in North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia and Florida.


The undefeated Southampton High School Indians climaxed a championship season with a cherished 47 to 12 over the Franklin High School Broncos here Friday night. It was the most lopsided score in the ten year rivalry of the two schools. In 1961, Franklin bombarded the Indians 46 to 15 for the largest margin until this year.Getting back to Friday’s game, Southampton received the opening kickoff and marched 75 yards for a touchdown. Quarterback Jimmy Westbrook took the ball in from the one yard line.

On the next series, the Indians stormed downfield for 74 yards with halfback Larry Harrell rambling 46 yards on a screen pass, untouched, for the score. Harrell had seven blockers in front of him.

Midway in the second quarter, Westbrook scooted around left end. He ran into defenders in the Bronco secondary so he pitched out to Harrell who was running wide. Again, Harrell trotted over the goal line untouched.

Westbrook found end Walker Gillette in the end zone for another score with 32 seconds remaining in the first half. The Indians led 27 to 0 at halftime. Following a pass interception in the third quarter, Westbrook scored again from three yards out.

At the beginning of the final quarter, Franklin began to come to life. Fullback Billy Atkinson ripped off a pair of 12 yard runs and all of a sudden Franklin was in Southampton territory for the first time. However, they gave up the ball to Southampton following a penalty. Then, Southampton scored again when Scott Hill fired a 31 yard pass to William Gillette. Franklin countered with a passing barrage. Quarterback Cliff Cutchins rifled a 37 yarder to Billy Atkinson who bolted for the Bronco’s first score. Southampton scored again when Harrell swept the left end for his third touchdown. Cutchins connected on passes to Atkinson, Burgess and Rabil in the last few seconds of the game.

In the end, Frankie Rabil pulled in a ten yard score. He leaped high in the air between two Indian defenders to get the football and dash for the Broncos’ second touchdown.

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