Sunday, May 13, 2007

Yanceyville Rotary Club

(click photograph for larger image)

(click photograph for larger image)

(click photograph for larger image)

(click photograph for larger image)

Fifty Years of Rotary in Yanceyville, North Carolina (1937 - 1987)

On May 7, 1937 thirty-two men from Caswell County saw a dream come true when the Yanceyville Rotary Club was officially formed. Sensing the need for an organization to promote the development and advancement of the Yanceyville community, these men turned to the high aims and achievements of Rotary International. In 1905 a few man in Chicago committed to the ideal of fellowship and cooperation in business began the first Rotary Club. Paul Harris, the founder of Rotary, initiated the procedure of selecting the leaders from various business and professional men to be members of that first Rotary Club. As early as 1936, a group of Yanceyville citizens formed an organization to develop and improve this community. Special committees were appointed to study the local situation and a compromised report was approved for the establishment of a Rotary Club with a special Industrial Committee to seek new industries for the town. The Yanceyville Rotary Club was organized on March 16, 1937, and through the sponsorship of the Burlington Rotary Club, the Yanceyville club was admitted to Membership in Rotary International on May 7, 1937. The charter members were:

Samuel Murphy Bason

Vice President
Dr. Houston Lafayette Gwynn, M.D.

Clyde Caviness Cole

Clarence Lilly Pemberton, Jr.

L. W. Lillard

J. B. Blaylock
Holland McSwain
W. J. Swicegood
C. S. Buchanan
George C. Neal
E. F. Upchurch
J. H. Gunn
H. H. Page
R. F. Warren
Jno. 0. Gunn
L. G. Page
Roy F. Whitley
R. L. Hall
Howard P. Richardson
D. W. Wright
W. V. Hall
C. B. Rogers
H. W. Hooper
H. L. Seagrove
W. B. Horton
E. J. Smith
H. M. Lilly
T. E. Steed
S. A. Malloy
Erwin D.Stephens
W. L. Maness
David 0. Sunderland

Letters of congratulations were received by the Yanceyville Rotary Club from Rotary Clubs around the world. On file are letters extending the hand of fellowship from the Rotary Clubs of Liverpool and Hull, England, Dauphin in Manitoba, Canada, Helena, Arkansas, Monrovia, Calif., Lake Wales, Fla., and many other places. John O. Gunn, a charter member, still remains an active member of the Yanceyville Rotary Club,

The local club was incorporated with the Secretary of State, Thad Eure, on March 29, 1945, for the purpose of forming a non-stock no-capital corporation to conduct a recreation and community center for citizens of the county. The Caswell County Board of Commissioners on April 2, 1945 deeded 12.98 acres of land to the Yanceyville Rotary Club, Inc, for the sum of $500.00. This parcel of land contained a log building which was built in the 1930's with WPA funds.

The Rotary Club of Yanceyville took the initiative to begin the industrializtion of Caswell County. In 1938, when the club was just in its second year, an industrial committee was appointed under the chairmanship of John O. Gunn, and it reported some specific plans to the club. The result was the organization of the Caswell Development Company with Gunn, T. E. Steed, and S. A. Malloy as incorporators. When the company was organized C. C. Cole became president while T. E. Steed and Hubert H. Page were vice president and secretary-treasurer, respectively. An intensive campaign was begun to raise funds to construct an industrial building, and with the full cooperation of the Rotary Club and other citizens in the county a substantial sum of money was raised to begin construction. Additional money was borrowed and construction was completed very early in 1939 so that the Caswell Knitting Mill opened in late February. A. Glenn Holt of Burlington (Company Shops) had recommended this particular type of industry and he became the operator of the mill, which gave employment to around 150 people. This was a significant beginning and it was symbolic of the future.

Source: When the Past Refused to Die: A History of Caswell County North Carolina 1777-1977, William S. Powell (1977) at 304.

For many more Rotary Club photographs go to the Caswell County Photograph Collection.


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