Treasures abound within newspaper files

Published 5:40 pm Tuesday, March 1, 2022

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It’s the irony of ironies.

Over the past few months, the staff here at Roanoke-Chowan Publications – which consists of Holly Taylor and yours truly along with the assistance of local correspondents Gene Motley and Cheryl Deloatch – worked at a fever-pitched pace to research people, places and things that we viewed as “treasures” of our four-county region.

That research turned into nearly 20 feature articles we completed for our Crossroads – 2022 special section…one that we aptly entitled: Treasures of the Roanoke-Chowan. We really enjoyed putting that section together. I know I learned a few new intriguing things about our little corner of the world….I hope you did as well.

If you missed receiving your copy of Crossroads – 2022, please drop by our office and pick up one. They’re free…and it also may lead you to win a $100 gift card. This year’s special section features a treasure hunt. There are four clues within Crossroads – 2022 that will help determine what local landmark we chose as our mystery location. You have until March 31 to put together those clues and submit your answer.

Okay….back to the irony of ironies.

While performing my research, I stumbled across an old file folder on my computer. It contained a treasure trove of stories I wrote 10-or-more years ago. I thought it would be nostalgic to print brief snippets from a few of those stories as a way to look back on local life prior to 2011.

This one is from 2008:

RICH SQUARE – A man known throughout the state of North Carolina for his loving and compassionate care of animals has died.

Dr. James Everett “Doc” Brown, 90, a much loved veterinarian who called Rich Square home, passed away on Monday morning, Dec. 29, 2008, in Birmingham, Ala. where he was to witness his beloved NC State University football team compete later that day against Rutgers University in the Bowl. He spent his last night with loved ones at an N.C. State pep rally in Birmingham.

For 65 years, he practiced veterinary medicine from a tiny, white framed office on the outskirts of Rich Square. Prior to his death, he was the longest-serving, full-time veterinarian in the state of North Carolina. Working seven days a week, he served multiple generations of families and their animals from all over eastern North Carolina and southeastern Virginia.

This story, from January 2012, proves the continuing volatility of gas prices:

Average retail gasoline prices in North Carolina have risen 1.1 cents per gallon in the past week, averaging $3.44 per gallon. This compares with the national average that has increased 0.6 cents per gallon in the last week to $3.34 per gallon according to gasoline price website

“Gas prices are rising across much of the nation as Iran has continued to threaten closing the Strait of Hormuz, a vital waterway for global oil shipments,” said Senior Petroleum Analyst Patrick DeHaan.

This story, from 2009, references national history with a local twist:

WINTON — Eighty-one-year-old Lula Mae Perry and her daughter, 61-year-old Marion Chamblee, spend another winter afternoon at the Winton home of their friend, 64-year-old Hilma Flood.

What made this particular afternoon different than previous visits was a discussion unlike any they’ve ever had before. The women were in the process of making final arrangements to attend the inauguration of the first African American President of the United States of America.

Perry, Chamblee and Flood are three of 36 area senior citizens leaving from Ahoskie on a bus trip to Washington D.C. to witness in person the swearing in of President-elect Barack Obama.

“I never thought that I would be able to go to DC to see a person of color sworn in as the 44th President of the United States,” expressed Flood.

“I never thought I would live to see it. I can hardly wait for the day to come,” Perry said.

“I feel really proud that we can go together and standing up for him,” Chamblee said. “Just little old me, a person from Old Trap, North Carolina is going to be in the crowd of millions of people to see Barack Obama become President of the United States. It’s overwhelming.”

“We were down so far, we have come a long ways up to get where we are now because at one time we couldn’t even vote,” expressed Perry as tears rolled down her cheek. ”These are tears of joy, I’m so glad, I’m crying.”

This story from 2011 marked the end of Gates County’s battle to keep the US Navy from construction an Outlying Landing Field (OLF) in the Sandbacks area of the county:

GATESVILLE – The U.S. Navy has opted to delay its plans, for at least three years, to construct an Outlying Landing Field (OLF) in northeastern North Carolina or southside Virginia.

The announcement was made in a Thursday afternoon e-mail sent from Navy spokesperson Ted Brown to Gates County Manager Toby Chappell.

“This email is to provide your office notice of the Navy’s decision to suspend release and stop work on the OLF DEIS (draft environmental impact statement) for Construction and Operation of an Outlying Landing Field,” the e-mail began.

“The Navy has made the decision to initially focus its efforts on home basing the Navy JSF (Joint Strike Fighter) on the west coast, in accordance with the QDR direction and the JSF Transition Plan which places squadrons on the west coast first. Initial Navy JSF squadrons (and the Fleet Replacement Squadron) are proposed to be based on the west coast beginning in 2015. The East Coast JSF Basing EIS will commence at a time to be determined, but no earlier than 2014,” the e-mail continued.

I could keep going and going with these stories….these four are among a hundred or so just for the month of January. I promise to print more of these treasures in this space periodically.

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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