Looking Back: Vaughan endorsed for highway board

Published 5:52 pm Tuesday, September 17, 2019

By Clyde Parker

Sept. 19, 1919

general c c vaughan

General C.C. Vaughn was not only an officer in the Virginia Militia, he also was involved in creating and improving Virginia highways. One hundred years ago, Vaughan was endorsed by many organizations and individuals to serve on the new State Highway Commission. Submitted | Clyde Parker

General satisfaction is being expressed here at the great impetus being given the movement to place General C.C. Vaughan Jr., of Franklin, on the new State Highway Commission. At an enthusiastic meeting of the directors of the Tidewater Automobile Association in Norfolk Tuesday evening, General Vaughan was unanimously named as the choice of the association for the commission. This recognition of our townsman’s splendid and untiring efforts for the cause of better highways throughout Virginia is most timely and well-merited and it is expected that other organizations in the cities and towns of Tidewater Virginia, will give further valuable endorsement of General Vaughan to the Governor of Virginia.

The new State Highway Commission, provided for by a recent special session of the Virginia General Assembly, will be composed of five members, to be selected by the Governor, and General Vaughan is, in the minds of the good roads advocates of the State, the logical man to represent Tidewater Virginia. His unfailing interest in the building of permanent highways, his effective work in securing the concrete highway from Norfolk to Petersburg and Richmond, and his wide business experience and financial acumen have combined to place him easily foremost as the proper person to hold that position. The fact that Virginia will have $11,000,000 to expend on its highways will certainly demand that men of business affairs and ability should be given recognition on the Commission. We believe that Tidewater Virginia will make no mistake in uniting to give him its unqualified endorsement for this important and responsible appointment.

Just as we were going to press with the preceding report, considerable endorsements from other sections of the region and state came forward. Among those endorsements are: Norfolk Chamber of Commerce; Portsmouth Chamber of Commerce; the Board of Supervisors of Nansemond County; the Suffolk City Council; State Senator J.E. West of Suffolk; and Colonel R.L. Brewer, General Assembly Delegate from Nansemond County. Not surprisingly, the Board of Supervisors of his home county, Southampton, passed strong resolutions endorsing General Vaughan’s candidacy on Monday, and the Town Council of Franklin took similar action on Monday night.

road map 1917

This is part of a map that C.C. Vaughan Jr. drew in 1917. Submitted | Clyde Parker

And, in addition to all of the foregoing indications of support for General Vaughan, for public awareness, other endorsements have been forwarded to The Tidewater News. The most recent endorsements are herewith listed: Honorable W. J. Story, General Assembly Delegate of Southampton County; the Board of Supervisors of Greensville County; the Emporia Chamber of Commerce; General Assembly Delegate William Shelton of Mecklenburg County; and the Town Council of Clarksville. Also, numbers of letters from leading men throughout this section, pledging their unqualified support in his behalf, have been received.

road map 1917

This is the second part of the map. Submitted | Clyde Parker

Of special note is the endorsements of the Farmers Unions located in Southampton County and those located in the villages of Walters, Colosse and Carrsville in Isle of Wight County.

General Vaughan is most noted for his military career. In 1899, as a captain, he led Southampton County’s Company “I” of the Fourth Virginia Regiment into Cuba during the Spanish-American War. From 1915 to 1917, as a Brigadier General, he commanded the Virginia Militia, the forerunner to the Virginia National Guard. In 1917, during the European War, General Vaughan led Virginia troops to Fort McClelland, Alabama, for further deployment into France. In early 1918, at Fort McClelland, General Vaughan was named commander of the 29th Infantry Division; however, just prior to the unit’s overseas deployment, he was recalled to Washington; and, due to health reasons, he was retired.

He, then, returned to Franklin to handle the family banking business — Vaughan & Company Bankers. And, most notably, he became extremely involved in the development of the Virginia highway system. In earlier years, concurrent with his military and banking involvements, General Vaughan had been an active “good-roads” advocate. To date, his most significant roadway accomplishment is the promotion and design of the “superhighway” that connects Norfolk with Richmond — called the “Ridge Route.” Initially, a mostly gravel and clay roadway, it later was reinforced with concrete. Starting in Norfolk, the route takes motor vehicle travelers through Portsmouth, Driver, Suffolk, Magnolia, Holland, Fowler’s Crossroads, Franklin, Courtland, Sebrell, Homeville, Hawkinsville, Petersburg and on to Richmond. That route, although not the most direct, geographically, was established based on the more stable land and topography of the areas west of the immediate Tidewater area.