Looking Back: 1970 — It was a very good year

Published 6:21 pm Tuesday, December 22, 2020

Getting your Trinity Audio player ready...

By Clyde Parker

Dec. 25, 1970


Roger W. Drake, chairman of the Board of Franklin Equipment Company, was appointed chairman of an interim committee to review construction plans for the new community college that will be based in Franklin. Also appointed to the committee were William Barrett of Isle of Wight County and Ben A. Williams Jr. of Southampton County.

A Southampton County Board of Supervisors special committee recommended construction of a $400,000 building to house county offices.

Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corporation cancelled plans to film William Styron’s controversial novel, “The Confessions of Nat Turner.” The film was to be shot in Southampton County.

Walker Gillette, a graduate of Southampton High School and the University of Richmond, was drafted by San Diego in the first round of the annual pro football draft.


The Region 21 community college, to be located in Franklin, was officially given a name — Paul D. Camp Community College. It will serve the cities of Suffolk and Franklin — and the counties of Nansemond, Isle of Wight, and Southampton.

Two and one-half million dollars in renovations were announced for Southampton Memorial Hospital, including a 54-bed extended care facility.


The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development approved $1.4 million in funds for a low-income housing project in Franklin, called Berkley Court.

Mrs. Ruth Camp Campbell was chosen Franklin’s first citizen of 1969.


The Franklin-Southampton population was projected to reach 30,500 by the year 1980.

Franklin City Manager Harold Atkinson said the city is not an offender in the pollution problems in North Carolina’s streams and rivers.

J.W. Harville, 44, was appointed Southampton County School Superintendent, succeeding E.M. Trice who retired.


A special committee on drug abuse was appointed by Franklin Mayor Dr. Darden W. Jones. On the committee were Francis Clark, M. W. Williams Jr., Chuck Savage, Charlie Kingery, Robert Sandidge and Willie Burrow.

Franklin Redevelopment and Housing Authority architects predicted the Berkley Court housing project would cost $1,000,000.


Franklin officials were shocked by a special three-judge annexation court’s decision denying them the right to annex parts of Southampton County and Isle of Wight Counties, including the huge Union Camp Corporation papermill and its adjacent properties.

The world’s largest fine paper machine at Union Camp in Franklin was put into operation. The machine turns out average paper reels of 20 tons.

Union Camp Corporation announced plans to build a $6 million particle-board plant in Franklin — to employ 120 people.

Franklin’s new $1 million James L. Camp Jr. YMCA was dedicated.

Local charter service operator Gurney Blunt started a Franklin CITY bus service.


J.P. “Joe” King Jr., Franklin City School Board chairman, said he saw no alternative to total school integration in the fall.

Southampton County’s school board adopted a total school integration plan for the fall.


P.D. Vann, principal at Riverview High School in Courtland, resigned to accept a position as the assistant state supervisor of agricultural education for eastern Virginia.

Union Camp Corporation Vice President James M. Piette denied that the Franklin Mill is responsible for pollution problems in the Chowan River in North Carolina.


Area students — numbering 6,853 — returned to area schools, totally integrated for the first time.

Construction started on the $2,151,900 Southampton Memorial Hospital expansion. Completion in 1972 is expected.


Southampton County Board of Supervisors backed a Union Camp Corporation request to alter the proposed U. S. Route 58 by-pass route so that the route will not run through company’s affluent holding ponds.

Franklin City Manager Harold Atkinson announced an agreement between Franklin and Isle of Wight County for a municipal dump near the Franklin Airport.


Virginia U.S. Senator Harry F. Byrd Jr. and Fourth District Congressman Watkins M. Abbitt, both democrats, rolled to easy re-election in the general election – with strong support from Southampton / Franklin voters.

A deer-kill of 1,173 was reported for Southampton County ± fourth highest in Virginia.


The Franklin Jaycees announced that they would aid 150 area families in their “Operation Merry Christmas” project.

Southampton County’s peanut yield topped an average of 3,000 pounds per acre, beating the previous record of 2,850 pounds in per acre in 1965.

Mayor Dr. Darden Jones announced that “Tony Briley Day” will be observed in Franklin on Jan. 2, 1971. In connection with the observance, a fund-raising event will be held at Doyle Jones Chevrolet and broadcast over WYSR Radio. Briley, a former Franklin High School athlete, recently suffered a broken neck and partial paralysis when he fell from a tree while hunting.