Looking back: B.A. Williams for judgeship gains momentum

Published 1:48 pm Friday, March 25, 2016

MARCH 25, 1966

Efforts by Franklin-Southampton lawyers to have Southampton County Judge Ben Williams Jr. appointed as Associate Judge of the Second Judicial Circuit gained momentum Monday. Both Southampton County Board of Supervisors and Franklin City Council passed resolutions endorsing Judge Williams for the new Circuit Judge post.

The 46-year-old Williams is a 1942 graduate of Washington and Lee Law School and has served as Southampton County Judge since 1952.

In presenting a resolution on Williams’ behalf to the County Board, Courtland Attorney Bert Pulley noted that the Southampton County Bar Association, which also includes Franklin attorneys, had unanimously endorsed Williams for the post.

Southampton County Commonwealth Attorney Vaughan Beale of Franklin told the Board that he is highly in favor of Judge Williams for the post.

And, Franklin Judge Baird Cabell, on behalf of the Southampton County Bar Association, presented the same resolution to Franklin City Council.

Pursuant to the recommendations, a delegation of 35 people (lawyers, governmental officials, and business and civic leaders) met with Governor Mills Godwin in Richmond and urged him to appoint Judge Williams to the Circuit Judgeship.

Among the group attending, and acting as spokesmen, were Judge Cabell of Franklin, Delegate Sam Pope of Drewryville, and Attorney Ed Moyler Sr. of Franklin. “Sam did a good job and really laid it on the line,” said one of the Franklin members of the delegation.

The Second Judicial District includes the Cities of Suffolk and Franklin, and the counties of Southampton, Isle of Wight and Nansemond.


The Franklin Lions Club, Tuesday, provided Southampton Memorial Hospital with an enucleation (eye removal) kit containing proper surgical instruments and also shipping equipment necessary for obtaining eyes from deceased persons for use in cornea transplants and other sight restoring operations.

Presenting the kit to Gerald DeHaven, Administrator of Southampton Memorial Hospital, were Baird Cabell, Franklin Lions Club President, and Dr. Ernest Gatten, Chairman of the Franklin Lions Sight Conservation Committee.

“In keeping with the Lions sight restoration program across the country the Franklin club has made this equipment available so that the best possible use can be made of eye donation in this area,” said Dr.Gatten. “An eye must be taken from a deceased person not later than four hours after death to be of real use as far as eye transplants are concerned. This enucleation equipment will ensure that no area eye donor’s contribution is wasted.”

Briefly, the Lion’s Old Dominion eye bank in Richmond works this way. A person signs up to be an eye donor. His eyes are surgically removed within four hours after death. Then, the eyes are packed in a special container and hurried, using the fastest manner possible, to the Old Dominion Eye Bank in Richmond.

At the point of destination, an eye surgeon is awaiting the shipment. He will use only the transparent tissue that covers the colored part of the eye – the cornea – to replace the scarred or otherwise damage tissue that has affected the sight of his patient.

“Dr. C. C. Swift, a surgeon at Southampton Memorial Hospital, has consented to cooperate in this program by performing the eye removals in this area,” said Dr. Gatten.

At this time, efforts are being put forth by the Southeastern Virginia District Lions Club organization to establish a Lions Club Eye Bank at Norfolk General Hospital in Norfolk.


Franklin City Manager Harold Atkinson unveiled the proposed northerly route for a Franklin by-pass to the City Council meeting on Monday night. However, Atkinson suggested that the council consider a southern route which he said his office favored after careful study of both routes.

The northern route would start just east of Franklin on U. S. Route 58, crossing U. S. Route 258 (Walters Road), going north of the Franklin Airport, then along Route 635 and Story Station Road to U. S. 58 half-way between Franklin and Courtland.

An earlier proposal for a northern by-pass would have started the road from U. S. Route 58 between Piney Grove Baptist Church and the Airport, crossing the Blackwater River, eventually connecting with Lee Street in Franklin. This idea was scrapped – it would not have been a true by-pass.

The preferred southern route would start just east of Holland and follow along the present Route 189 to Beale’s Corner where new construction would take it southerly, crossing the Blackwater River approximately two miles north of South Quay.

Then, the highway would continue, crossing a part of the Pretlow Farm, crossing over U. S. Route 258 south of Franklin, crossing over Hercules Road, continuing under Delaware Road and eventually connecting with U. S. Route 58 East of Franklin near Shady Brook Trail.

Either route, though, is in the future. In the meantime, to alleviate congestion in Franklin, east-bound U. S. Route 58 traffic, coming into Franklin on Clay Street, will be one-way starting from where Clay Street intersects with Lee Street and will continue on Clay Street to where it connects with Fourth Avenue. At that point, traffic will be two-way.

West-bound U. S. Route 58 traffic, coming into Franklin across the Blackwater River bridge and coming up Fourth Avenue, will take a right turn onto High Street which will be one-way to where it intersects with Lee Street. Lee Street will also be one-way to Clay Street. At that point, traffic will again be two-way.

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