Sunday, March 12,2006. Special joint meeting with The Sussex County, Virginia, Historical Society.
Time: 3:00 P.M. Place: Wakefield Foundation [the old high school] in Wakefield, Va.
The speaker will be Mr. Rob Coles, the great-great-great-great great grandson of Thomas Jefferson. He will present his one man show: meet Mr. Jefferson.
Refreshments will be served.
Monday, March 13, 2006. Our March business meeting.
Time: 7:00 P.M. -Place: Surry Recreation Center.
Program: Bo Bohannan. See the President's report below.
As a follow-up to our last newsletter, we are happy to report that the
deckhouse of the first motorized ferry has been safely moved and stored. At present it has tarps
covering it. Plans for restoration have started. The Society appreciates the support of S. Wallace
Edwards Jr. in this project. The move and our application for a grant has given the project considerable publicity. The more the better! Lets hope we get the grant from the State of Virginia.
Thirty years ago, Robert H. Burgess wrote this book. Out of print for many years, Society member William H. Fox, upon the death of Robert H. Burgess, has edited and added 150 additional photos of the sailing craft that provided transportation on the bay from 1925 to 1975. All pictures are those taken by Burgess. The reprint nearly doubles the number of pictures included. No other book gives as much insight into the water transportation that made the bay and its tributaries so important to our development. Undoubtably some of these sailing craft hauled the timber and farm products from the ports of Surry County.
This book is available from Cornell Maritime Press, P. O. Box 456, Centreville, Md. 21617
phone #800-638-7641. Price is $34.95. I highly recommend it. JEA
continued from the December 2005 newsletter
transcription by Dennis Hudgins.
First and foremost among Surry's transportation facilities are good roads. The county has bought and uses a road grader, and all of the public roads are worked by it. This is one of the few counties in the state using grading machines on its roads, and the result is apparent in well kept high ways. The importance of the county's splendid road can not be exaggerated, as they enable farmers to haul large loads to market, to travel faster, and to use the roads for a greater number of days during the year.
There are in the county two railroads, one a branch of the Southern, extending southward from Claremont in the extreme north- western corner of the County, and the Surry, Sussex and Southampton, extending southward from Scotland in the north central part of the county. Besides these two the main line of the Norfolk & Western touches the county in the extreme south eastern corner. [p.7] The two roads that extends through Surry are at present narrow guage, though a part of the Surry, Sussex and Southampton Road will be made a broad gauge this Spring, and the same change will be made in the Southern in the-near future.
Besides the railroads there are on the James river three
wharves, one at the northern terminus of the Southern, one at the
northern terminus of the Surry, Sussex and Southampton, arnd one at
Hog Island - Steamers to and from Richmond and Norfolk touch at
these wharves, while numerous sailing vessels of all sizes repair to
them for the reception and discharge of freight.
TOWNS AND VILLAGES.
There is in Surry but one incorporated town, Claremont, the population of which is near 1000. Dendron, the site of the lumber mill already mentioned, has a population of about the same number and will soon be incorporated. There are a number of thriving villages at convenient distances and all show evidences of prosperity.
According to the census of 1900 there are in the county twenty
two post offices,
The county's greatest need is increased population. The soil is admirably adapted to the intensive system of farming and would easily support many times the population it now sustains. With an increased population each producer could secure better freight rates and better markets for his produce, and every one would gain the countless benefits that spring from co-operation. Farmers and manufacturers in less genial climates should investigate conditions in Surry, for labor and intelligence here yield a much larger reward than the same expenditure will bring in the North, East or West.
According to statistics furnished by Mr. Geo. T. Clarke, Superintendent of Public Schools, the county has 37 school buildings, 9 of which are for white and 16 for the colored pupils, and 43 teachers, of whom 25 are white 18 are colored.
The entire value of school property is about $13,000, this sum not including several buildings which are temporarily rented. Of the schools named four are what are known as graded schools, in which the higher branches are taught, while in all of the schools instruction is given in the common branches. The public school system has been brought to a high state of efficiency and the poorest child, black or white, receives from the county a fair equipment for the duties of life. There are in the county about 25 churches, one for about every three miles on the average. The churches include nearly all of the evangelical denominations, the Methodist, Baptist and Episcopalian predominating. The church edifices are as a rule substantial and attractive and, what is of more consequence, are well attended.
Among the notable improvements witnessed in Surry in the past few years is the county court-house, erected in 1896 at a cost of $9000. This is one of the most substantial, most complete and most modern court-houses in Tide-water Virginia. It is fire-proof through-out, all of the county records, dating to 1652, being kept in patent metallic cases.
As already stated, a number of other improvements are projected for the near future, including the widening of two railroads, and doubling the capacity of the largest plant in the State. As a consequence of the latter the thriving little town of Dendron will enjoy a season of great building activity, are not fewer than 50 residences will be erected in that town in the course of the next few months.
In addition to the above amount there is also imposed the usual capitation, or poll tax.
The total property in the county, as assessed for taxation, is $1,237,975.56 of which $932,470.56 is real, and $325,505.00 is personal property. To the above amount should be added $146,735.00 of rail-road stock, $17,900 of mercantile stocks, and $305 of telephone stock, all of which are taxed separately and at a different rate from the property classified as real and personal.
The total amount derived by taxation for State and county purposes last year was $17,863.64, to which should be added the capitation tax, and the 5 1/2 excess collected from delinquents.
The amount derived by taxation is amply sufficient to meet the
current expenses of the county. At present the entire county debt
is but $2,500 and
While we have no reason to believe that the residents of Surry are free from the faults and follies incident to human nature we can still safely assert that but few sections can show a cleaner record. There are but ten bar-rooms in the entire county, and the citizens of any portion of it may, if they choose, prevent the opening of a bar within two miles of a church or school. Sheriff B. D. Edwards states that only one lynching has marred the quiet of the county during its history, and there has been no public execution since the civil war. Surry, by the way, has the only Cavalry C[o]mpany in the State. The Company numbers 65 men and is a well equipped and
It is but the simple truth to state that during her entire his- [p.10] tory Surry has experienced no serious riots, strikes, labor disturbances, or race trouble. This one fact should be a sufficient comment on the character of her people and should, we think, be a strong inducement for capitalists to establish here their manufacturing plants.
History maintains our assertion that the eastern part of
Virginia, of which Surry is a part, was originally peopled by
settlers of as high character as
The climate of Surry, like that of tide-water Virginia, is delightful. The winters are mild and of short duration, while the summers are not excessive warm. United States Weather Beaureau statistics show what the average temperature for the year is aoub 58°, Fahrenheit, and the rainfall about 47 inches.
Dr. S. B. Barham, a practising physician and for thirty years a supervisor of the county, states that as a rule the general health is excellent. On the marshes and swamps, which as before stated form but an inconsiderable part of the surface, malaria prevails but his does not by an means characterize the county at large.
All over Surry excellent well water may be obtained and pure
living springs are [a]bandant.
In preparing this brief sketch of Surry county we have not
attempted to describe all of her advantages in detail. To do so
would require more space than is allowed us here. We have simply
tried to call attention to some of her attractions for the
capitalist and the home-seeker, and to ask such to visit the county
and investigate further for themselves. Messrs. S. B. Barham,
G. A. Savage, and W. A.
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