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Native Of Hamilton Recalls Old Times
By TWOS. P. DABBEN
It Is difficult at this late date
to recall incidents of any real
value from a historical standpoint
Much water has pawed over the
dam since that time. AH of the
older generation of that day have
gone to their reward, as have
maap of my cootssnperaries.
Hamilton at that time was a
thriving community of four or
five hundred people, with a back
ground of substantial farmers.
The transportation facilities con
sisted of boat linas on the Roan
oke River to Norfolk and Balti
more, the principal one being the
Roanoke. Norfolk and Baltimore
Steamboat Company, in which the
Biggs and Simmons families of
Williams ton had an interest. They
did a flourishing business in car
rying the produce of that section
to market A railroad was built
through this section about 1888.
Unfortunately it did not touch
Hamilton, the nearest Doint being
Snuff Is Making
Snuff comeback result* from
"no smoking" signs in war plant*.
Modern day users chew, not sniff,
this substitute for combustible
cigarettes, cigars and pipe tobac
co. If first quarter snuff produc
tion gain holds. 1942 output will
set an all time record of 45 mil
lion pounds, 4 million over prev
ious (1929) peak.
?bout six miles distant. This rail
road no doubt had the effect of
gradually taking business from
the boat lines, which eventually
disappeared from the river.
Public schools in those days
were practically an unknown
quantity. My total experience in
public school was for a period of
two months during one summer
when I walked two miles to a
school in the country. However,
we were blessed with good pri
vate schools and after the pri
mary grades, conducted by some
estimable ladies, there was a
school for older children conduct
ed by Mr. Outterbridge, who was
an elderly man and had taught
Mr. Horner, who afterwards es
tablished the Homer Military
Academy at Oxford, N. C. Mr. |
Outterbridge was a wonderful
mathematician and I still feel in
debted to him for the knowledge
he imparted. Subsequently the
Hamilton Academy was establish
i ed and was conducted by Profes
sor Duckett with a corps of four
! or five teachers.
The community was fortunate
in having this excellent school
and it drew pupils from many of
the surrounding counties, a num
ber of them being grown men.
The religious influences were
' not neglected. As I recall it the
Methodist Church was the oldest
and must have been built many
years prior to 1870. There was a
substantial Baptist Church with a 1
large following, and in the sur- ]
| rounding section there were a ]
number of churches of other de- !
Hamilton, Mr. An. F. Dar
drn. vice president of the A.
C. L Railroad Company, re
calls that the late Stephen
Ontterhridce taught Horner,
foonder of Horner's school.
Thus. It appears that the work
of the Martin County educa
tor has had a marked Influ
ence. either directly or Indi
rectly, in the lives of men
down through the years. Un
fortunately. there is little
known about Mr. Ontter
bridge, the pioneer in
tion in this county.
nominations. The Episcopal
rhurch was esatblished in 1868,
he Rev. Thomas B. Haughton. of
A'llliamston, being the Rector.
[Tie present church building was
?onstructed in 1880. I prepared a
japer giving a history of the de
velopment of the Episcopal
Church in Hamilton and read it
it a meeting in the church on Oc
tober 24. 1937.
I recall the names of most of
:he families living there during
ny boyhood years: Cloman, Glad
stone, Waldo, Sebrell. Jones,
3lade, Salisbury, Sherrod. Gard
ner. Ward, Clark, Rhodes, Hook
?r. Crofton. Everett Lamb. Long,
Baker. Grimes. Pippin, Pritchard.
Edmondson. Davenport Hyman.
Bryan. Robertson. Watts. Martin.
Ewell. Hobbs, Purvis. Howell.
Matthews, Boyle, Darden.
Among the substantial business
houses were those of Mr. R. H.
Everett, Mr. R. W. Salisbury, Mr.
Archibald Sherrod, Slade, Jones
& Company. The latter firm is
still in existence under the name,
I believe, of Slade-Rhodes St Co.;
Bryan St Robertson, druggists,
where I worked for three years
and learned to telegraph. The tel
egraph line was a private one
owned by Mr. Charles Lamb, then
of Williamston. It was first con
structed from Williamston to
Hamilton and subsequently to
Windsor. It may have extended
in the other direction to Plym
outh. I am not sure of this, how
ever. Mr. Archibald Sherrod mov
ed to High Point, N. C., and was
one of the pioneers in the furni
ture business at that place. Mr.
Robert Baker organized a pants
factory. His son is now chairman
of the board of the Blue Bell Ov
erall Company, at Greensboro. N.
C., and a very successful business
Dr. J. W Sherrod and Dr. Watts
were the first physicians I re
member. Dr. Sherrod and his bro
ther, William, were the most pros
perous members of the commun
ity and owned a number of farms,
not only in Martin but in adja
cent counties. He was followed by
Dr. Irving Clark and Dr. B. L.
Long. Dr. Clark subsequently
moved to Scotland Neck, where
a number of his children still live.
During the period 1880 to 1885
Mr. Frank Hitch, of Suffolk. Va.,
built a large number mill and
constructed a logging railroad to
Tarboro. This road was also used
as a public utility. A large quanti
ty of timber was cut for many
miles around. 7%e product of the
mill was shipped to eastern cities
by steamer. One of the most
thrilling experiences of my boy
hood was a trip to Baltimore on
Mr. Hitch's steamer.
There was a very close and cor
dial relationship with the people
of Williamston, in many instances
members of the same family liv
ing in both places. Mr Wilson G.
Lamb, a prominent citiren of Wil
liamston, had two brothers in bus
iness in Hamilton and two of his
sisters resided there for some
While all of my people have
died or long since left Hamilton,
all of my forbears are buried in
the little Episcopal Churchyard
' and I am always glad to make a
pilgrimage there when I have an
Two Leaf Pioneers
Still Living Here
Among the pioneers of the Wil
liams ton Tobacco Market, only
two, Messrs. J. G. Staton and War
ren H Biggs, are living here now.
Mr Staton was the first ware
houseman. and Mr. Biggs carried
the first clip back in August. 1902
Most of the pioneers have passed
on to their reward, but a few oth
ers live elsewhere now.
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