Town elections held

Published 10:04 am Friday, April 22, 2016

by Clyde Parker

April 22, 1916

Voting for town offices on Tuesday resulted in the election of Joe Bynum Gay for mayor by a handsome majority. Gay received 111 votes; his opponent, W. H Stroud, received 40.

Of the eight candidates for Town Council, the following six were elected and their votes were: George H. Parker 140, R. C. Campbell 129, Paul Scarborough 107, Dr. W.E. Snipes 100, W.O. Bristow 98, and P.R. (Ryland) Camp 92.

The two unsuccessful candidates, James Chesley Beale and W.D. Campbell, received 91 and 78 votes, respectively.

There was no opposition to L. A. Gay for recorder or to the town democratic committee, R.E.L. Watkins, W.H. Lankford and W.O. Bristow.

Mayor Paul D. Camp did not stand for re-nomination, nor did three of the present council, D.O. Norfleet, E.L. Beale and D.A. Holland. R.C. Campbell and W.O. Bristow are the only members of the present council who will serve on the new body.

Joe Bynum Gay, Mayor-elect, who, with the council, will assume office on Sep. 1, is one of our most successful merchants and most prominent citizens. He is an able, energetic and progressive man. He owns and operates Joe Bynum Gay Clothier at 106 N. Main St., right in the heart of Franklin’s business district.

(NOTE: In later years, the building out of which Mr. Gay’s business was operated was occupied by the FIRST location for Franklin’s Western Auto Associate Store, operated by Mr. and Mrs. H.M. Lewis and son Herbert.

Presently, the building is included in the space occupied by Mr. D’s restaurant.

Incidentally, for a period of time, Western Auto occupied space, up the street, in the former Steinhardt building.)

W.T. Pace Hardware is incorporated

The old and reliable hardware house of W. T. Pace, one of our largest and most valuable business institutions, has recently been incorporated and will continue business as W.T. Pace Inc. In connection with the change in this firm, it is interesting to note its steady progress since its establishment here 26 years ago, and the unusual measure of success which has rewarded its founder.

Mr. W.T. Pace is one of Franklin’s most worthy and honored citizens. He was born in Sussex County, Va. and was educated in the public schools of that county and in the Saddler-Bryant & Stratton Business College of Baltimore.

Mr. Pace came to Franklin and engaged as a bookkeeper for Cecil C. Vaughan, general merchant and banker, on Dec. 1, 1885. A little later, he joined up with Camp Manufacturing Co. as a bookkeeper. And, still later, he worked as a bookkeeper with Pretlow and Co.

On Jan. 1, 1890, the first exclusive hardware business was established in our town, then of about 800 inhabitants, by Messrs. J. E. Gilliam and W. T. Pace, styled Gilliam & Pace. It was located in the old Franklin Bank building on the corner of Main Street and First Avenue.

The style of the business was changed in February 1893 to W. T. Pace, Mr. Pace having bought the interest of Mr. Gilliam.

In 1902, the present handsome three-story store building was erected on the northeastern corner of Main Street and Second Avenue. A little later, a tin, sheet metal and plumbing shop was added in another new building, behind the main store, facing East Second Avenue.

The growth and scope of the business has been steady and permanent. Its trade area extends throughout adjoining counties of Virginia and eastern North Carolina.

In addition to his reputation as a successful business man, Mr. Pace has been identified with the best interests of our town and community for the past thirty years. He has, at all times, been not only alert to the interests of his many valued customers but has been untiring in his efforts to help build up and improve the religious, moral and material welfare of the community.

He served the town faithfully and most efficiently as Recorder and Treasurer for a period of 22 years, refusing to stand for re-election four years ago.

New members of the firm are his sons: W. T. Pace Jr. and J.J. Pace, who were born and reared in Franklin and educated in our local schools and at Randolph-Macon Academy, Bedford City, Va.

Mr. J.A. Weede, who came into the employ of the house about 18 years ago, a small boy in knee pants, has grown up to be a stalwart, competent and efficient part of the business, justly meriting recognition he has won in the present organization.

Mr. J.E. Gilliam, who returned to Franklin several years ago and again connected himself with the business is well known as a most excellent gentleman and an efficient mechanic. He will continue in charge of the tin, sheet metal, heating and plumbing branch of the business.

For this firm we bespeak continued success and growth; this is a business house of which our town is justly proud. Its prompt service and square dealing merit its continuance.

(NOTE: Coldwell Banker now occupies the former W. T. Pace building.

Following closure of the W. T. Pace business, Byerly Publications, publishers of The Tidewater News, acquired the former tin shop building on Second Avenue and converted it for its offices and production plant.

Now, the former tin shop building is occupied by the Western Tidewater Mental Health Center.)

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