Southampton Historical Society celebrates 50 years

Published 8:22 pm Friday, November 21, 2014

Built in 1814, the Rochelle-Prince House was home to James Rochelle, the clerk of courts during the trial of Nat Turner.

Built in 1814, the Rochelle-Prince House was home to James Rochelle, the clerk of courts during the trial of Nat Turner.

By Clyde Parker / Contributing Writer


The Southampton Historical Society is now celebrating 50 years of existence. The Society’s origins are traced to the year 1964. It all started with a letter written by the late John C. Parker, dated March 17, 1964.

John Parker

John Parker

The letter was sent to a bunch of people in Southampton County and Franklin asking if they would join him in exploring the possibility of forming “something like a historical society.”

Further, the letter stated that if the recipients were interested, Parker would select a day, hour and place for an exploratory meeting. He asked the group, in the meantime, to compile a list of people that they thought would be interested.

Parker, a Franklin resident, was long-time legal counsel for Union Bag-Camp Paper Corporation and its predecessors Camp Manufacturing Company and Chesapeake-Camp Corporation.

Later in the year, on Nov.19, an initial meeting was held. Forty-nine people attended the meeting, which was held at the Walter Cecil Rawls Library in Courtland. Naturally, the assembled group chose John C. Parker to preside. Parker then appointed John D. Abbitt Jr., a Franklin banker, to serve as acting secretary.

Parker opened the discussion by mentioning a few persons, places, things and events that were significant in the history of Southampton County. He then outlined some of his thoughts about how a historical society should be organized.

“The general purposes should be to search out, arrange and display facts and items of local historical interest,” Parker said.

Many and various opinions and ideas came forth from the attendees to the extent that the meeting became a bit disorganized. All of a sudden Ashby Rawls of Franklin jumped up, got the attention of the chair and made a motion.

“I move that an organization be formed under the name of the Southampton County Historical Society, and that a committee be appointed to prepare a charter and constitution and by-laws.”

The motion was seconded and approved by the attendees. Then, Chairman Parker proceeded to appoint an organizational committee: E. Beale Carter, Frank Story Cutchin and John C. Parker.

Chairman Parker asked this same committee to serve as a nominating committee for officers of the organization.

The first official and organized meeting of the Southampton County Historical Society was held at the Walter Cecil Rawls Library in Courtland, on Feb. 4, 1965. John C. Parker, chairman of the Organizational Committee, presided. He asked John Abbitt to continue as temporary secretary.

Those in attendance voiced approval that John C. Parker and John D. Abbitt Jr. should hold their respective positions until nomination and election of officers took place.

In accordance with their assigned duties, the Organizational Committee presented a proposed charter and by-laws for the organization. Frank Story Cutchin moved and W.A. Turner seconded that the charter and by-laws be adopted as presented. The motion to adopt was unanimously carried.

Next, in accordance with their assigned duties, the Organizational Committee, acting as the official Nominating Committee, presented the following slate of officers for the newly formed organization:

• President, Charles Fox Urquhart Jr.

• First Vice President, Dr. E.M. Babb

• Second Vice President, Hatcher Story

• Secretary, John C. Parker

• Treasurer, Herbert G. Cobb Jr.

• Historian, Mrs. Charles Baker Harding

Nominations from the floor were invited. None were made. On motion by Mr. Abbitt, and seconded, the nomination process was closed and the slate of officers presented by the Organizational Committee was unanimously approved and elected.

Then, the Organizational Committee Chairman John C. Parker recognized and presented Mr. Urquhart as the Society’s first president.

Charles Fox Urquhart Jr.

Charles Fox Urquhart Jr.

“I hope the Society will make such progress that the selection and installation of its first president would in itself become a historical event, proudly remembered by all present,” Parker said. Then Mr. Urquhart took the chair and Mr. Parker stepped down and assumed his duties as secretary.

The president stated that the Organizational Committee should now be discharged, if there were no objections. There being none, Mr. Urquhart declared the committee dissolved with thanks of the Society for a job very well done.

The president asked for suggestions as to the Society’s work.

“So far,” he said, “the following is a list of things to be done.”

n Make a list of all buildings in the County that were constructed prior to 1850.

n Obtain manuscripts, papers, diaries, letters, ledgers, minute books of other documents concerning the County’s past, and keep such things where they will be safe and made available, under proper supervision, to researchers and historians. Members were urged to seek out such items and have their friends do so, and give or lend them to the Society.

n Arrange for the restoration of old and worn records at the Clerk of Court Office, especially the minute books and other books of the early County Courts.

Miss Lula Prince made the first historical document gift to he Society. She handed the president a carefully preserved political campaign flyer of 1885, which advocated the election of “The American Ticket.” She stated that the document was given to her years ago by her cousin Allen Darden.

Miss Bessie Thomas Shands was introduced by the president. She made a nice talk to the group. Miss Shands spoke on her family history. She, in particular, talked about family member General George H. Thomas, a native of Southampton County, who went with the north during the War Between the States — also known as the Civil War.

The Executive Committee met for the first time on April 1, 1965. Members of that committee are: Charles Urquhart, John Parker, Hatcher Story, Herbert Cobb, Mrs. Charles Baker Harding, Dr. E.M. Babb, W.A. Turner and Miss Elizabeth Johnson.

The treasurer reported 58 paid members at $6 each.

Mr. Urquhart is heading up a special committee to seek headquarters for the organization.

There will be two regular meetings of the Society per year: April and October; however, it was agreed that two additional meetings per year will be held so that there will be at least one meeting in each quarter. And, it was agreed that at least one meeting per year will be held jointly with the Southampton Archeological Society.

At the second meeting of the Society, on April 29, 1965, the Society was presented with two books: “The History of Ivor and its Environs” and “Southampton Ridleys and their Kin.”

The treasurer reported that the membership now stood at 77.

Miss Winnie Frances Eubank, Program Committee chairman, introduced the speaker for the evening: Virginius C. Hall Jr., of Richmond, who is curator of rare books for the Virginia Historical Society. He spoke on “historical collections”and how to make and manage them. He strongly worded some advice for the Society.

“Do not attempt to do history for areas outside your locality,” he said.

During a meeting of the Society on Jan. 20, 1966, attended by 60 people, a report was given showing that the IRS has declared the Society tax-exempt effective Sept. 30, 1965. According to the report, dues and donations were tax-deductible.

In a surprise move, Winnie Frances Eubank resigned as chairman of the Program Committee, but wanted to remain on the Committee.

The Rebecca Vaughan house after being relocated near the Museum of Southampton History.

The Rebecca Vaughan house after being relocated near the Museum of Southampton History.

The president announced that Miss Lucille Gillette is a member of the Mayflower Society, her descent having been established from the Brewster family of early Massachusetts history.

The president introduced Mrs. L.J. Livingston of Chester — a member of our Society who has been doing extensive research in the Clerk’s Office in Courtland. She is president of the Virginia Genealogical Society. Mrs. Livingston stated that the records and documents in the Southampton County Clerk’s Office are among the best in the United States.

At the Society meeting on April 28, 1966, the president announced the death of charter member Franklin Edwards of Franklin. Membership is now at 103.

The president spoke on the records of the Committee of Safety of Southampton County, at the County Clerk’s Office, during two years (1775 and 1776) of the American Revolution. He said the records are extremely rare and are in excellent condition.

The president reported that Society member Paul Ryland Camp of Franklin had died.

At a meeting on Sept. 28, 1967, John C. Parker presented three rolls of documents to the Society:

• Fifteen old maps showing parts of what is now Southampton County from1585 to 1896.

• Records of Southampton County postmasters during the years 1842-1927.

• Confederate maps (1864) showing several counties south of the James River.

The following members were appointed to a nominating committee for officers to be elected at the next meeting: Dr. J.P. Broaddus, chairman, and Mrs. L.H. Babb, Beale Carter, Carl Steinhardt and Mrs. William T. Woodley.

James W. Moody Jr., of Richmond, executive director of the Virginia Historic Landmarks Commission, was introduced. The Commission is now engaged in listing and cataloging all places in Virginia that might qualify as historic landmarks.

The following Southampton County places have been on the list for some time now: Bailey House, Beechwood, Clements, Bowers House, Ricks House, Dr. E.F. Reese House, Southampton County Courthouse.

The following places were recently added: Barn Tavern, General George H. Thomas House, Old South Quay, Oak Grove, Warrique, Vick House at Berlin, Sycamore Hill, Franklin.

The Commission is accepting recommendations for other Southampton properties for possible inclusion on the Virginia historic landmarks registry.

During a Society meeting on July 30, 1969, some very exciting news was revealed by Secretary Parker. There was a possibility of a gift to the Society of a house and lot to be used for the Society headquarters. Parker was instructed to advise the owner that the Society would be delighted to accept the gift.

The following resolution was put before the meeting:

• RESOLVED that any three, four or five of the following, to be selected by the President, Charles F. Urquhart Jr., and if willing to serve, are nominated as trustees of the Society: B.A. Williams Jr., Charles Baker Harding, Joseph Raiford, E. Beale Carter Sr., E. Beale Carter Jr., Hatcher P. Story, Gilbert W. Francis. Mr. Urquhart was asked to contact the Circuit Court of Southampton to have trustees officially appointed.

The seventh meeting of the Society was held at the Walter Cecil Rawls Library and Museum on Oct. 2, 1969. Thirty-five people attended.

The deaths of two charter members were announced: Alma Raiford of Unity and Carl Steinhardt of Franklin.

The Nominating Committee, reported by E. Beale Carter in the absence of Chairman Dr. J. P. Broaddus, presented the following slate of officers:

• President, Gilbert W. Francis

• First Vice President, Dr. E.M. Babb

• Second Vice President, Hatcher P. Story

• Secretary, John C. Parker

• Treasurer, John W. Rollison Jr.

• Historian, Mrs. Charles Baker Harding

There were no nominations from the floor. The above were elected to their respective offices for a term to end at the first meeting in 1971.

Immediately following the election, outgoing president Charles F. Urquhart passed the gavel to the new President Gilbert W. Francis.

President Francis invited ideas for work of the Society. He outlined three projects that he has in mind: (1) Repair of records in the Clerk’s Office. (2) Establishment of non-residence memberships in the Society. (3) Earning money for the Society through the sponsorship of books of historical interest.

Daniel T. Balfour made the two following motions, which were seconded and unanimously carried:

• First: That a committee be established to investigate and determine a recommended list of buildings of any type, which may have enough historical significance to the County for the Society to encourage their preservation, such as the home of General George H. Thomas, buildings connected with Nat Turner, the Gables home in Courtland and the Hicks home.

• Second: That a committee be established to collect items of historical interest, which could be presented or loaned to the Walter C. Rawls Library and Museum.

Mr. Balfour then moved the adoption of the following resolution:

• “Be it resolved by the Southampton County Historical Society: We believe that the planned motion picture film on the Nat Turner insurrection should be filmed in Southampton County and such film should depict as nearly as possible the accurate historical account.”

John C. Parker moved an amendment to the resolution, which was accepted by Mr. Balfour and seconded, as follows: “Be it resolved by the Southampton Historical Society that we believe that if a motion picture film on the Nat Turner insurrection is to be made it should be filmed in Southampton County and should depict as nearly as possible the accurate historical account.”

Discussion on the motion followed. Much of the discussion revealed contradictory and strongly held views as to the desirability of such a film and a general fear that it would not be historically accurate. Following a long period of questions and comments, the resolution as amended was put to a vote. Of the 17 votes cast, 12 were “for” and five were “against.”

The historian reported that there are now a total of 36 items for a museum that did not yet exist.

The Committee members went into discussion regarding the writing of a Southampton County History Book. The Secretary was asked to write to the history departments of the following schools to see if there is a candidate for a post-graduate degree in history who would take up such a work as his thesis: University of Virginia, University of North Carolina, Duke University, William and Mary, University of Richmond and Washington and Lee.

The Society has accumulated a fair amount of historical materials with no suitable place to display them to the public. After discussion, the Committee asked the Society historian to contact the staff of the Walter C. Rawls Library and Museum to see if space could be made available to the Society.

At another meeting in early May, there was back-and-forth discussion about renaming the Society. “Southampton and Franklin Historical Society” was briefly considered, but no formal action took place. Apparently, very few people thought it to be a good idea.

On June 24, 1971, a membership meeting was held during which Joshua Pretlow, a prominent Suffolk attorney with roots in Southampton County, introduced the Honorable Colgate Whitehead Darden, a Southampton county native, who gave a talk on his memories of Southampton.

Edgar B. Jackson of Franklin contacted the Society and said he would write a book on the history of Southampton County for a fee of $5,000 plus $2,500 for expenses. He estimates it would take two years to finish the book at which time the book will belong to the Society.

The Society President reported that Lewis F. Powell Jr., a member of the Society with roots reaching deep into Southampton history, has been nominated by President Nixon to the United States Supreme Court.

Over the next few years of the early 1970s, many efforts were made to expand the Society in many ways. Membership continued to grow. Acquisitions of historical nature continued to take place. A physical home for the Society was actively being sought.

On Oct. 23, 1973, a very significant announcement was made by Society President Gilbert Francis. He reported that Miss Ann Louisa Prince (“Miss Lulie”), who died on April 11, 1973, left her residence in Courtland, earlier known as the Rochelle House, to the Southampton County Historical Society.

A membership meeting was held on Feb. 20, 1974, with a “whopping” 225 people in attendance. Guy Fridell of Norfolk, noted Virginian-Pilot newspaper columnist, was the guest speaker.

C.B. Rowe reported that books and other material found in a trunk in an attic in Birmingham, Ala., belonging to Franklin Vick of Berlin, Southampton County, have been transferred on loan to the Society. Raby Cornwell of Berlin facilitated this situation.

Edgar Jackson reported that the formal research on the Southampton County History Book was completed. “However,” he said, “I am still finding information and can not give a definite date for completion of the manuscript.”

A few days later, unexpectedly, Frank Story Cutchin reported that Edgar Jackson has given up his contract to write the Southampton County history book. Mr. Jackson agreed to cooperate with any new writer in use of the research that he (Mr. Jackson) collected. That research, and various notes, has been turned over to the Book Committee and by that Committee deposited in the Clerk’s Office in Courtland.

The Book Committee then secured the services of Dr. Thomas C. Parramore, Professor of History at Meredith College in Raleigh, North Carolina, for completion of the Southampton County History Book. He can start the book on Jan. 1, 1976 and complete it by Jan. 1, 1977.

During an Executive Committee meeting on Jan. 11, 1979, there was considerable discussion in regard to General George H. Thomas. Some people would like to see the Society establish a suitable memorial to the Civil War General. Colgate Whitehead Darden Jr. is especially interested in this.

“Thomas was a prominent man from Southampton who chose the Federal Side during the war as a matter of conscience.”

In November of 1979, Dr. Garnett Lee White succeeded Gilbert Francis as president of the Historical Society. Daniel Balfour and William Cole were elected vice presidents.

Gilbert Francis, outgoing president, was commended for his tireless and dedicated service over the past nine years.

During the spring of 1978, efforts were stepped-up to repair and restore the Rochelle-Prince House. The Franklin Garden Club agreed to care for its lawn and gardens.

At the Executive Committee meeting held on May 14, 1981, Gilbert Francis presided in the absence of President Garnett White who resigned the presidency of the Society. John Rollison was appointed by the Executive Board to finish White’s term.

During the Feb. 19, 1982 meeting of the Executive Committee, Mr. Rollison’s resignation as president was accepted with regret. It was agreed, unanimously, that the Executive Committee will recommend Mrs. Lynda Thorpe Updike to succeed Mr. Rollison as president of the Southampton County Historical Society.

A membership meeting was held on April 19, 1982 with John Rollison presiding. Forty-six people attended. Rollison welcomed the group.

He reported that the Executive Committee had served as a nominating committee for the purpose of nominating a successor for his unexpired term and that the nominee for president is Lynda Thorpe Updike.

President Rollison asked for nominations from the floor. There being none, a motion was made and seconded that Lynda Thorpe Updike be elected president by acclamation. The motion was approved.

President Updike then took the chair and continued with the meeting.

Late in the year, it was announced that Edgar B. Jackson was recently awarded the “Purple Heart” medal for wounds incurred in World War I. There was considerable newspaper and television coverage of the award ceremony. Mr. Jackson is ill and weak, but in high spirits. He is now in Kecoughtan Veterans Hospital in Hampton.

The Executive Committee met on May 14, 1985, with Camp Foundation representatives to talk about a book to be written about the Camp family. Later, President Updike was involved in various meeting and discussions in regard to some of the historical information.

The Society was notified that Parke Rouse will write the Camp book for $30,000 plus costs for research and indexing.

“Timber Tycoons,” which chronicles the Camp family of Franklin and Florida and their many enterprises, will be reviewed in the next issue of Virginia Magazine of History and Biography.

There are 85 boxes of the books — we need to find out where to put them. And, of course, they need to be sold. The Society will be taking orders for the books.

At an Executive Committee held on May 8, 1987, there was a lot of discussion concerning “Nat Turner” and the “1831 Southampton Insurrection.” The consensus of the committee is that this is definitely the “centerpiece” when it comes to Southampton County history. Of course, there is General Mahone and General Thomas, but they seem to come in second when it comes to recognizing Southampton County’s “claim to fame.”

Discussion followed in regard to the Nat Turner tapes that were produced by Kitty Futrell and Gilbert Francis. The video tapes are now on sale. We are trying to get Nat Turner’s sword and bible donated to the museum.

Over the next couple of years, a lot of work was being done to look for and establish a museum building to house the many artifacts that have been collected. Plus, there are a lot of items stuck down in old barns, stashed in attics, rusting in abandoned fields and on the edges of the woods throughout the county that could be rescued and displayed for the present population and for future generations. If it gets done, we will be the ones to do it.

In 1989, property was acquired for a museum. The property just off Linden Street included a large lot with an empty building, which was found suitable for renovation to suit Historical Society purposes.

William Simmons, chairman, and Dr. Darden Jones spent a lot of time in getting the building upgraded. This includes carpentry repair, paint, etc. Jones is going out and recruiting workers (some paid, many volunteer) to get some of the work done. “R.T. Lassiter is putting in a lot of time with the building committee,” Simmons said.

On Feb. 2, 1990, William Simmons reported on the Agricultural and Forestry Museum. “So far, we have raised another $12,300,” he said. “Other donations are expected soon.”

A little bit later in the year, William Simmons reported more donations totaling $8,960. He said Joe Stutts said we are in Union-Camp’s Budget for 1990.

Joe Stutts and Ann Stephens of Union-Camp toured the building recently and were very impressed.

“We want to fund a forest products history display,” Stutts said. “In fact, in the next few days, you will be hearing from us,” he said as he and Mrs. Stephens were leaving the building.

Dan Balfour agreed to author the Southampton-Franklin Pictorial History Book. This was a project between the Society and the Chamber.

In the late 1980s, a tree just off the Nottoway River and adjacent to the property of J. P. and Paul Simmons was identified as being the “champion” elm tree in the United States. Soon after that recognition, the tree died. It became known as “The Sebrell Elm Tree.” The Simmons family offered it to the Nature Conservancy, but they did not accept it. When the tree was offered to the Historical Society, it was accepted.

Mr. Hubbard, a tree surgeon from Newport News, topped the tree at no cost to the Historical Society except he wanted a cross-section of the tree to go to the Virginia Living Museum in Newport News.

Clyde Parker and Allen Minetree, in conjunction with Ralph Tayloe at Union Camp and with the assistance of Al Rollison of Franklin Equipment Company, developed a plan to take the tree down after it was topped.

On Feb. 24, several pieces of heavy equipment were deployed to the scene. Bob West of Channel 3 and Les Smith of Channel 10, along with representatives from area newspapers, were there to cover the event.

Lynda Updike was there along with several other Society members.

The heavy equipment operators spent a good deal of time in getting into position. All of a sudden, the massive tree crashed to the ground. Bob West, Channel 3, was mad because he missed the actual falling of the tree.

Among many other things, the remains of the tree were used to carve a Nottoway Indian and an eagle. The carvings were put in the Agricultural and Forestry Museum.

Raymond Cobb carved 100 duck decoys from some of the wood. Milton and Kitty Futrell made many different kinds of things from the wood — such as key rings, book ends, etc. to be sold with proceeds going to the Museum.

At about the same time, Dan Balfour’s Southampton-Franklin Pictorial History, sponsored by the Chamber of Commerce and the Bank of Franklin, was almost ready for the publishers.

On Feb. 12, 1990, the Society announced that it had received a $10,000 in donations which were allocated to the Rochelle-Prince House.

With the Museum building about 95 percent complete, a grand opening is scheduled for the weekend of July 14, 1991. At that time, the Nottoway Indian and Wild Turkey, carved from wood from the Sebrell Elm Tree, will be unveiled.

William Howell, the new chairman of the Agricultural and Forestry Museum reported that they are busy working on a 30-foot by 100-foot shelter for peanut equipment.

During the mid-1990s, gifts continued to come in. The Society received $22,500 in December of 1992.

William Howell reported that they have acquired 250 rails from Appomattox Court House and have been promised two more trailer loads.

Mr. and Mrs. Hinton Vick donated a portable grist mill. Dr. Darden Jones has given a house from his farm to be used as a doctor and dentist office. They are looking for a country store.

At a meeting of the Society on March 6, 1996, President Lynda Updike reported that she has been appointed to a committee to save the railroad depot and freight station in Franklin.

Major Joseph Gillette’s sword has been donated to the Society.

The Va. Dept. of Historic Resources gave notice that the oldest concrete highway in the state is located in Courtland.

During a meeting of the Society on Feb. 26, 1997, William Howell reported that the Agricultural and Forestry Museum is being readied for opening this Sunday. The doctor’s office is in place. A forestry building will be built.

A building was constructed on the museum grounds which is a replica of Robert Francis Kello’s grandfather’s blacksmith shop. Since colonial times, large farms and plantations had their own blacksmith shops on the property.

On May 19, 1998, Carolyn Edwards and Doris Miller of the Jerusalem Chapter of the United Daughters of the Confederacy awarded Lynda Updike their highest award, the Jefferson Davis Historical Award.

Of note, was her leadership and dedication to honor James Rochelle, confederate naval officer, through the Rochelle Prince House. At her insistence, many confederate veterans’ graves have been located and documented.

In March of 2000, the Executive Committee authorized President Updike to contact Mark Wagner with the Department of Historic resources and ask to participate in erecting markers on Nat Turner’s insurrection route and help establish the cave site on the Giles Reese farm, now owned by Alvin Turner, a descendant of Nat Turner.

Later, during March of 2000, Updike announced acquisition of artifacts relating to Nat Turner.

His sword, a key to the jail that held him, a hasp to the door that held him and the rope that was used for his hanging. The items were placed with the Nat Turner exhibit at the Courthouse.

During a meeting on Dec. 7, 2000, after much discussion, it was decided that we acquire the Rebecca Vaughan House by deed of gift and move it to the Ag & Forestry Museum provided we acquire proper funding and that we can get the enthusiastic support of the Society to look after it after we get it to the museum.

Jack Pittman donated the house.

The Blount building, located on the property next to the Agricultural and Forestry Museum, was purchased and will be used as a museum.

On Oct. 4, 2006, John Quarstein, noted historian and producer of historical sketches for television, talked to the Board on what he thought should be done with the Rebecca Vaughan House. He asked about the Board’s plans. He recommended that the House be the focal point of a walking tour starting from the House to the Courthouse where Nat Turner was tried, and on to the place where the jail was, and, finally, to the location of the “hanging tree.”

“The Rebecca Vaughan House is important because of its connection with Nat Turner, slavery, and tragedy,” Quarstein said. “I suggest that the house be restored with one room decorated as it was at the time of the killings in 1831. The other downstairs rooms should tell about the cause of the Civil War.”

Quarstein also suggested a driving tour — picking out five sites of the killings. An itinerary and a map of the route Turner and his group took in the rampage and killings could be placed in a gift shop for purchase. He believes he can help with a grant and is willing to talk to the Board of Supervisors of Southampton County for help also.

On Nov. 29, 2006, Quarstein presented his recommendations for the Rebecca Vaughan House and the Museum of Southampton History. First, we should have a driving tour beginning in Courtland from the Museum of Southampton History with a brochure of the Nat Turner Route. Second, we should have a walking tour with a guide to all the places in Courtland involved in the story of the “Southampton Insurrection” starting at the Museum of Southampton History where artifacts would be on exhibit and Nat Turner stories would be told. Also, an electronic map of the Nat Turner route could be installed.

“I will write a contract for the Society’s approval,” Quarstein said. “It will include a clause that would allow either side to end the contract if it is determined that the project is not going well.” Quarstein added, “The proposed contract will require that I write grant requests, issue bulletins, help raise money, design exhibits, hold workshops, and write long-range plans.

“We will know in March what we will get in grants.”

On Jan. 18, 2007, Lynda Updike announced recent grant receipts totaling $41,500.

John Quarstein announced that he is in the process of writing grant requests. “I will be contacting foundations and corporations not only in the immediate area but also those that are based in the greater Hampton Roads Area,” he said, in response to a question from a Board member.

During the period from late 2007 well into the year 2008, many discussions took place concerning the placement of the Rebecca Vaughan House.

Options: (1) Leave it where it is. (2) turn it around. (3) Move it back and approach it by a lane.

The strip of land beside the Museum of Southampton History was still up for sale. The land, covering seven acres on the east side of the museum, was available. Toward its purchase, several individuals and two regional foundations pledged their support.

Kitty and Milton Futrell donated a small, period, dairy building. It was important to place it in correct proximity to the Rebecca Vaughan House.

Over the ensuing years, there have been many and various advancements in the life of the Southampton County Historical Society.

Many additions have been made to the Agricultural and Forestry Museum. It has been recognized as one of the best museums of its kind in the country. The Museum of Southampton History is evolving and will be a focal point when the building is upgraded and the Rebecca Vaughan House restoration has been completed.

The Rochelle-Prince House is still an important part of Southampton County Historical Society’s properties. It, of course, requires on-going upkeep and maintenance.

The Agricultural and Forestry Museum is a treasure. Look at what is there. It is amazing. So many people have been reminded of their past. Many people have been inspired to dig into their roots.

There are so many of us who have benefited and learned about who we were and who we are.

So, here we are. We are celebrating a major milestone in the history of the Southampton County Historical Society. Needless to say, our success is attributed to the efforts of many individuals and organizations. An enormous amount of “blood, sweat and tears” have been put forth.

To give proper individual credit would be a risky thing to attempt. No question, someone would be slighted. But you know who you are. And you can’t help but think about those who are not here. They need to be remembered. Obviously, there are many who have died. Hopefully, they are here in spirit. If any one of us remembers someone who is not here, then in a sense they are here.