Murfreesboro author releases two books

Published 12:00 am Monday, November 10, 2003

MURFREESBORO – It’s people like Frank Stephenson who later generations can thank for taking his time to preserve past and present history.

Stephenson, the author of nearly 20 books on local and northeastern North Carolina history, has just released two new books and, as usual, the Murfreesboro native has displayed his knack of tapping into subjects that most Roanoke-Chowan area residents normally take for granted.

In keeping with his publishing tradition, Stephenson has released books on some unusual subjects, including moonshine, the Gatling gun, chitlins, river ferries and black baseball teams. His book on the Gatling gun and his Great American Chitlin Cookbook have sold worldwide while many of his other books have had strong sales nationally.

His first new offering, Images of Hertford County, is a pictorial history of Stephenson’s native county and was published in co-operation with Arcadia Publishing Company, Charleston, S.C. as a part of its Images of America Series. The Hertford County book contains over 200 archival and contemporary photographs, many of which have been published. The book’s 10 chapters cover a range of interesting subjects from Rosenwald Schools, the Meherrin Indians, herring fishing, moonshine, maritime history, farm life and Chowan Beach, one of the premier black vacation spots on the east coast of the United States during Segregation.

Stephenson’s second new book, The Last Haul Seine, is a pictorial documentary history of North Carolina’s last river haul seine, Williams Herring Seine Fishery, which is located on the Meherrin River about a mile and a half below Murfreesboro. The long and colorful history of haul seining for herring on the rivers of North Carolina now rests with the very last one, Williams Seine Fishery, which is operated by Mr. and Mrs. Dick Williams and their family. The North Carolina Marine has documented the fact that Williams Seine Fishery is in-fact the last commercial operating haul seine in North Carolina.

There has been a haul seine operating at this site on the Meherrin River for over 100 years. One of the operators was Stephenson’s great uncle, Louis Griffith, who operated the seine for over 50 years and when Stephenson was a young boy.

The Last Haul Seine contains over one hundred archival and contemporary photographs and captures a way of life and culture that has all but disappeared in North Carolina. The book was published by Meherrin River Press, Murfreesboro.

Both of Stephenson’s new books can be ordered from Meherrin River Press, 301 East Broad Street, Murfreesboro, N.C. 27855 (252) 398-3554. The Hertford County book is $20 and The Last Haul Seine is $10 plus $3 shipping costs per order.

To commemorate his latest achievements, Stephenson will hold a book signing at Walter’s Grill in Murfreesboro from 9 a.m. until 3 p.m. on November 15. He will hold another book signing from 11 a.m. until 1 p.m. on Nov. 17 at the Chowan College Bookstore. Copies of all his books will be available at both events.

Stephenson is on the administrative staff at Chowan College where he has been employed for 36 years. He can be reached by phone at (252) 398-6278 or by e-mail at