Chickens are fine; pigs….not so much

Published 9:18 am Wednesday, June 5, 2019

Way back when, at a time when our office was full of filing cabinets, I could spend hours looking through them in an attempt to locate a treasure trove of unique information.

I did stumble across one waaaay back in 2001. It was a 28-page report entitled, “Facts About Ahoskie.” The report (in mint condition) was compiled by Viola Claire Perry and submitted on Feb. 26, 1973.

The following are some of the interesting excerpts I culled from Perry’s pages. Most all were decisions voted upon and passed by members of Ahoskie’s Town Council:

Jan. 1, 1913 – Mr. J.W. Godwin was permitted to put in a private telephone, provided that if at anytime said telephone became a nuisance, it would be removed. This was to be the beginning of a telephone company in Ahoskie.

Nov. 3, 1913 – Mr. M.O. Gerock was granted a franchise to operate an electric light plant in the town, thusly beginning the age of electricity within the town.

In a special called meeting on Aug. 15, 1917, the Ahoskie Council passed an ordinance that banned hogs from being inside the town limits.

April 18, 1918 – Mayor W.L. Curtis was empowered to find out the sentiments of the town’s citizens in regards to constructing cement sidewalks.

Feb. 8, 1923 – Contracts were signed in agreement that Ahoskie would furnish electricity to the towns of Powellsville and Colerain.

March 12, 1925 – An ordinance was passed that stated no person shall allow his or her fowl – including chickens, ducks, pigeons, guinea fowl or turkeys – to run at large within the town limits.

July 19, 1926 – Voted that the town would furnish electricity to the citizens on Sundays, if it could reasonably be done.

April 2, 1928 – Passed a resolution to purchase the first fire truck – a triple combination hose, chemical and pump equipment to be mounted on a Ford chassis at a cost of $3,600.

April 11, 1932 – Voted that the Chief of Police and his two helpers would have to be on duty for 12 hours each and find the time to see that the water at the pumping station was properly attended to; install and read water meters; perform water cut-offs and cut-ons; and attend to the storm sewers, sanitary sewers, hydrants and such other water and sewer duties as may be ordered by the town clerk. As a note of interest: on June 21, 1932, one of the police helpers resigned his position, presumably because of so many duties to attend to plus a cut in salary.

Jan. 12, 1942 – This being in the time of war, Town Council members W.H. Basnight, J.C. Sessoms, E.R. Evans, N.S. Godwin and J.H. White asked Mayor W.W. Rogers to draw up an Ordinance for the enforcement of Blackout regulations as suggested by the State Code.

July 31, 1944 – Authorized VEPCO (Virginia Electric and Power Company) to connect electrical power to the Prisoner of War Camp located in town. During this time, the Town used prisoners of war as labor personnel.

Jan. 15, 1951 – Approved the purchase and the installation of the first parking meters in town.

May 7, 1957 – By a final tally of 431 for and 391 against, the citizens vote in favor of changing the town’s government to one that required a Town Manager. Five months later, Mr. J.E. Huise Jr. was hired as Ahoskie’s first-ever Town Manager at an annual salary of $6,500.

Feb. 6, 1961 – The Town Charter was amended, revoking town conventions and setting up a filing system for the election of candidates for town offices.

Oct. 6, 1964 – LadyBird Johnson, campaigning for her husband – President Lyndon Baines Johnson, made a train stop in Ahoskie. (I remember that; I was so close to the track and the crowd was so huge, I was nearly pushed into the path of the train.)

Hope you all enjoyed this brief glimpse back into Ahoskie’s history as much as I did sharing it with you.

Cal Bryant is the Editor of Roanoke-Chowan Publications. Contact him at or 252-332-7207.

About Cal Bryant

Cal Bryant, a 40-year veteran of the newspaper industry, serves as the Editor at Roanoke-Chowan Publications, publishers of the Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald, Gates County Index, and Front Porch Living magazine.

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