Edgehill is developing

Published 10:00 am Friday, January 9, 2015

By Clyde Parker

January 9, 1965

Southampton County’s newest residential development is evolving at a rapid pace. “Edgehill,” a home site development with over 100 wooded lots, is located just a few miles north of Franklin on Route 706 – also known as Black Creek Road.

The development will have new state-of-the-art infrastructure.

Construction of a lagoon-type sewage system, the first of its kind in this area, was started last week. Design and engineering for the new system was provided by Stuart C. Crawford and James E. Henry, both of Franklin.

Water for the sub-division is being furnished by Edgehill Water Company, a public utilities corporation chartered by the Virginia State Corporation Commission. John W. Register is president of the corporation.

Four houses now stand in the subdivision and are presently occupied. Two more houses are almost ready for occupancy.

Edgehill is owned by Cabell, Edwards and Moyler, Inc., a partnership of three Franklin men. They are Judge R. Baird Cabell, Attorney J. Edward Moyler Jr. and Dentist Dr. Robert T. Edwards. The idea for the 59-acre subdivision was conceived about five years ago.

The land was acquired over a two-year period from over 60, mostly absentee, owners.

The property has an interesting history that has been traced back for almost a century. According to the present owners, Thomas Holmes purchased the entire 59 acres in 1876. He was a former slave. He was also known as Thomas Johnson.

Incidentally, Holmes purchased the land from the Neely Brothers who were owners of the lumber mill that was predecessor to Camp Manufacturing Company. Camp Brothers: Paul D., James L., and Robert J. purchased the Neely Brothers Lumber Mill in 1887.

Holmes paid the Neelys 75 cents per acre for the land. A few years later, Holmes sold the timber for $60.00.

In 1904, Holmes had the property divided into seven parcels. A man by the name of Captain Wills handled the legal details. The seven parcels were willed to Holmes’ seven children. Incidentally, Captain Wills was great-grandfather to Dr. W. I. Knight and grandfather of Mrs. A.G. Howell, both now living in Franklin.

In 1960, when the present owners first became interested in the property, all of Holmes’ seven children, except one, were dead. The heirs of the seven children were scattered from Harlem to Los Angeles. Altogether, there were over 60 owners involved, three of which are Franklin residents. Garfield Ford of Ryland Street is the surviving husband of one of the seven owners. Robert Ford and Ethel Ford Pollard are grandchildren of Thomas Holmes.

It took over five years for the new present-day owners to finalize all the details and acquire clear title to the property.



At the December Board of Directors of the Franklin Chamber of Commerce, Ashby Rawls, Franklin real estate and insurance executive, was confirmed as the new President of the organization. He succeeds Woodrow Livesay.

Serving with Rawls as directors for the year 1965 are: Woodrow Livesay, Thronton-Livesay Furniture Company; Harold Atkinson, City of Franklin; Asa Johnson, Union Bag-Camp Paper Corporation; Clifford Cutchins, Virginia National Bank; Bill Goodwin, Steinhardt-Goodwin Equipment Company; R.A. Pretlow, Pretlow and Company; C.F. Smithwick, Roses Stores Inc.; Edward Gilliam, Retired; Roger Drake, Franklin Equipment Company and Franklin Auto Supply Company, Inc.; Herbert Cobb, Herbert Cobb Realty; and Jim Piette, Union Bag-Camp Paper Corporation.

The group recognized and honored Miss J. Lois Milner, Executive Secretary, for her 10 years of service with the Chamber. She is retiring at the end of the year. Miss Milner was the first executive secretary for the Chamber, in 1954, having been hired by Sol Rawls, Jr. following her retirement from Camp Manufacturing Company. At Camp, she was secretary to President James L. Camp, Jr.



Citizens of a major portion of the Franklin Magisterial District of Southampton County have officially filed a petition with the Southampton County Circuit Court asking that they be annexed by the City of Franklin. The Franklin District of Southampton County is defined as that area outside the City limits of Franklin yet is adjacent to it.

In response to the “why” question, Harvey Lankford of Hunterdale said “51% of the qualified voters in the District want their children to attend City of Franklin schools.”

If the annexation suit is successful, the City of Franklin land area would grow from about eight square miles to more than eighty square miles.

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 magnolia101@charter.net