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The enterprise. volume (Williamston, N.C.) 1899-201?, August 18, 1942, TOBACCO EDITION, Image 18

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History Of The Local Tobacco Market Warehouse Proprietors Named From (Opening In 1902 To Present Back in 1901 when the county was producing about 1,400,000 pounds of tobacco on approxi-1 mately 2,000 acres, several of the leading citizens realized the need for a tobacco market in William ston. In April or May of that year, the committee, more or less self appointed, held a meeting and went so far as to advance detail ed plans and cost estimates. The group, headed by J. Dawson Biggs, chairman, and including N. S. Peel. William Slade, Wheel-' er Martin and possibly one or two others, proposed to build two warehouses 80 by 100 feet and three prize houses to measure 40 by 80 feet. The entire project, the group estimated, was to cost about $18,000. Jim Staton, then a young dirt farmer living near town, was called in and consulted, and he along with the committee recog nized the need for a market. That meeting, for some reason or other failed in its mission, more than likely by the risk involved. Early in 1902 the same group of men realized their mistake and with new vigor and added life, the foundation for the market was laid. The late Dennis Simmons gave the ground for five shares of stock and a company known as the Martin County Warehouse Company was formed. Hie plans, prepared the year before, were used and the five buildings were constructed Hie warehouses were known and operated as the Roan oke and Dixie. Two of the prize houses were burned in later years. "Hie driveways to the two houses were completed the first of this month, forty-one years ago, and on August 4. 1902. the first pile of tobacco was sold in the Dixie Warehouse operated by E. L. Mor gan. It was a gay time in the town, the event marking the beginning of a business that has down through the years been one of the town's biggest assets. Mr Mor gan did his own auctioneering, ar.d the late Harry W. Stubbs made one of his flowery speeches, welcoming the farmers and de claring that a new day had dawn ed for the Martin County tobac co farmer and the community. Morgan, all for tobacco, became a bit worried before the speaker concluded his talk. "He is trying to pull politics in," Morgan was quoted as saying quietly. No official record of the sales or the price average is to be had, but a fair amount of the golden leaf was sold and the price al though small compared with la ter-day figures apparently pleas ed the customers. The second sale on the memor able day was held over in the Ro anoke Warehouse, a vacant lot la ter to be floored and covered, di viding the two houses. Jim Staton and Jim Leggett were proprietors but their silver-tongued auction eer, the late Colonel C. A. W. Barham, attracted all the atten tion Mumbling, the meaning of which has not until this day been identified with any language, the colonel would say "Rounder, by jove," when a price fraction near the top was before the house. Tobacco opened high the first year the market was open, that is the price was high or considered high in those days. But, according to Mr. Staton, the tobacco com panies combined, prices went down and the warehousemen were left with a lot of tobacco on their hands. Morgan left for Burlington but appeared on the market again in 1906 to operate the newly con structed warehouse built by Messrs. J. G Staton and J. G. Godard and the late Eli Gurgan us. In 1903, Messrs. Leggett and Staton were again at the Roan oke, and the late Bill York and W. T. Meadows succeeded Mor gan at the Dixie. Few records were kept and price and sales figures were lost. Leggett withdrew from the bus iness and in 1904. Mr. Staton op erated the Roanoke and Meadows and York were again at the Dixie. Approximately 17,000 pounds were sold on the opening day, August 4th, with the prices rang ing from 4 to 17 cents, the aver age being $6.85. Staton was at the Roanoke and W. T. Meadows, joined by Jeff Cothran, of Durham, were at the Dixie in 1905. There were five buyers. T. J. Smith for the Amer ican, C. A. Jeffrees, father of the Imperial buyer here this seasor for the Imperial, W. T. Meadow for the Jap government and Nea and Neal for the independent) Prices were referred to that yea as "high". The records are not quite clea for 1906, but it is certain that E L. Morgan was at the Farmers a proprietor, and that Thomas Gra ham. Major Neal, Meadows am Cothran and Staton were on th market that season. In 1907, Meadows and Statoi formed a partnership for the op eration of the Dixie Tom S. Gra ham was at the Roanoke and th late Eli Gurganus and John 1 Fishel, of Danville, ran the Farm ers house. The next year, 1908, Tuggle am S. A. Gravely were at the Farm ers, J. S. Turner, of Durham, a the Dixie, and Staton and Mead ows at the Roanoke. In 1909 Staton was at the Dixie Turner and Gravely at the Farm ers and Tom Graham at the Ro anoke. The market opened on Au gust 3 and sold 14,388 pounds tha day for an average price of fiv cents, but there was no complain ing. The next year found Staton a the Roanoke and Bill York, o Castalia, and Joe S. Stallings o Wendell at the Dixie. There's n< record for the Farmers house ir 1910, 1911, 1912 and 1913, althougl it is known that the house was op era ted. Meadows and Staton were al the Dixie in 1911, the markel opening on September 1, thai year. No record for the othei houses. In 1912, Eli Gurganus, W. A James and H. T. Beasley were a! the Roanoke and Staton at the Dixie. J. W. Hight and J. G. Staton were at the Dixie in 1913 and W A. James, Eli Gurganus and Joe Taylor were at the Roanoke. Opening on September 4, 1914, the market had 121,000 pounds of tobacco on the floor opening day and sales ran until 6 o'clock with J. G. Staton at the Dixie, Mobley, Taylor and Co at the Roanoke, and W. A. James and Co., at the Farmers. A partnership for the combin . ed operation of the Roanoke and i Dixie houses was formed by J. G. 1 Staton, J. W. Hight and Nat D. ? Young in 1915, and W. A. James 1 ? and Eli Gurganus operated the 1 Farmers house. ] On opening day, August 16, , 1916, prices soared to new levels ; and ranged from $8 to $60. J. D. . King and Sons were at the Dixie, 1 Staton at the Roanoke and W. A. . James and Co. at the Farmers. The {automobile made its first appear ance on a fairly large scale in j J i . the transportation of tobacco that . year. ; The Brick Warehouse was open . ed in 1917 by W. A. James and Company. J. D. and Kelly King were at the Dixie, Staton at the I Roanoke, and Mobley, Taylor and . Hight at the Farmers. About 200. t 000 pounds were sold for an av . erage of 28 cents opening day. The year, 1918, broke all rec . ords, the opening day sales of 148, . 426 pounds selling for an average . of $39.96. The same proprietors . were at the Farmers and Brick t houses, but Staton operated both ? the Roanoke and Dixie. The sky was the limit in 1919 when whole loads of tobacco av [ jet-aged as high as $1.18 a pound. Unfortunately those high prices | j [marked the beginning of an un-.j certain period. The same proprie- y tors were at the Brick, Roanoke and Dixie, but John R. Peel had , j joined Taylor and Hight at the j Farmers. A different story was heard in i ^ 1920 when prices opened at about j 18 cents. The proprietors were the j j. same as in 1919. . I Jim Staton, after 20 years on the market, withdrew and Joe Taylor operated the Roanoke Dixie. H. L. Meador was at the! ? Brick and J. W Hight at the Far- j itiers in 1921 Tn 1922, the tobacco cooperative j made its appearance. Everything ( was uncertain, but the market j struggled through with Joe Tay- j lor at the Roanoke-Dixie, J. W. j Hight at the Farmers and the Co ops at the Brick. ^ Joe Taylor and Sam Mangum. , of Durham, were at the Dixie; O. ^ L. Tucker, H. H Morton and E. ^ G. Rogers at the Roanoke, J. W. ? Hight at the Farmers, and Harry L. Meador managed the Brick for :he Co-ops in 1923. The Co-ops made their last itand in 1924 at the Brick. Will *ice and D. L. Spain were at the ?"aimers, and Harry Meador and Foe Taylor formed a partnership it the Dixie. Hubert Morton and V. B. Watts operated the Roan ike. H. A. and J. T. Timberlake and Svan Willard were at the Brick n 1925, and the same proprietors eturned to the Dixie. Jule James oined Will Rice at the Farmers, ind R. T. Griffin, Jimmie Gurkin ind Claude Griffin joined Watts ind Morton at the Roanoke. In 1926, J. T. Barnhill, Frank T. Bennett and Hubert Morton vere at the Farmers. W. T. Mead iws, Harry Meador and Watts vere at the Roanoke-Dixie, and Toe Taylor, John D. Biggs, D. D. Stalls, S. C. Griffin and Roy T. Jriffin were at the Brick. Prices were fairly stable in 927 after the hectic years, the narket reporting 325,000 pounds in the floors and an opening-day iverage of 21 cents. F. C. Bennett, cman Barnhill and Hubert Mor on were at the Farmers, W. T. ifeadows, H. L. Meador, S. C. Jrfifin and Joe Taylor at the Ro inoke-Dixie, and Bob Grimes and Victor Shelnume at the Brick. In 1928 the following line-up vas in effect: Watts, Morton and toy Griffin at the Brick, W. T. deadows, H. L. Meador, W. J. Taylor and Claude Griffin at the toanoke-Dixie, and Leman Bam lill, V. J. Veasey and Frank C. iennett at the Farmers. Before the opening in 1929, the ild Brick house was burned but i new and larger house, the Plant ers was built It was operated by laywood Everett and Evan Wil ard. Leman Barnhill and W. R. ngram started a partnership at he Farmers, and W. T. Meadows, I. L. Meador, S. C. Griffin and W. ' Taylor were at the Roanoke Jixie. W. T. Meadows, S. C. and Roy '. Griffin were at the Roanoke )ixie; Barnhill and Ingram at he Farmers, and Harry and Roy leador and Joe Taylor were at (Continued on next page) Now Is the Time to Insure Your Property r/hv -^?a?o Call us for fire, theft, plate glats, hail, wind storm. rain, casualty, liability or any other type of insurance that you eai either men tion or suggest. If you need honest-to-good ness protection, call us. We represent the es in America largest and most reliable conipani vor Higher Prices, For Be Sell Your Tobacco in Williamston ter Service wr-i -Vil Wop ftS" ? ?to^SK HARRISON AND CARSTARPHEN

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