Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Milton, North Carolina in 1854

Correspondence of the Dispatch. Milton, N.C. June 5th, 1854

"Mr. Editor: As your readers have from time to time been favored with descriptions of several places, it may not be amiss to give you a description of our town and its vicinity.

"The town of Milton is 12 miles below Danville, situated in the county of Caswell, on a beautiful and commanding situation, in the fork of the Dan river and country line creek,, the latter a stream of some size and length, having fine water power and lined with manufacturing mills from its mouth to its head. The stream nearly surrounds the town, and is crossed on its eastern border over a fine covered bridge. A few hundred yards below the bridge is a large manufacturing flour mill and saw mill on one side, and a large cotton factory on the other, both now owned by James D. Newsom, Esq., and in successful operation, employing quite a number of hands. About 12 feet from the factory is the Virginia and North Carolina State line.

"The population of Milton is one thousand or more, having two academies, a hotel, a branch of the Bank of the State, a savings bank, a fire insurance company, four large tobacco factories, where the finest tobacco is put up from the choicest crops of the country, the largest cabinet makers establishment in the State with its steam machinery, supplying the country for nearly a hundred miles around Milton. Also several other manufacturing establishments usually found in towns. We have also five dry goods, two groceries and two druggist stores, and a merchant tailor establishment, one male and one female academy and a primary State school for young persons.

"Milton is situated in the midst of the wealthiest and most productive portion of North Carolina, having on the low grounds of the Dan river the hycos and county line, the finest and best lands which our State afford, yielding an abundance of tobacco, corn, wheat, &c.

"A great deal of tobacco, flour, wheat, &c., is brought to Milton either for sale or shipment by boats down the river to Gaston and Weldon, and latterly, boats are running in connection with the Richmond and Danville Railroad from Roanoke depot on the Staunton. The freights annually paid to and from Milton, are estimated at from thirty to forty thousand dollars, and this amount will, on the completion of the Roanoke Valley road to Clarksville and the Danville road to South Boston, be greatly increased. The nearest depot to Milton on the Dan river, will be seven miles at Barksdale's Ferry to this place, until we get a branch road, (which strange to say, those on the Richmond and Danville road have hitherto refused us, even at our own expense.) We propose to run small iron steamboats to carry passengers and light freight, and tow other boats with freight. A Mr. Parks, of Norfolk, is now making preparations to effect this object.

"It is hoped that ere long a more liberal spirit will characterize the president and directors of that road, and that they will see that it is to their interest, the interest of your city and the State, to give us a branch road to Milton, for it will be an entering wedge to the much desired connection with the North Carolina Central Railroad, a connection which the interests of both roads imperiously demands, and it will not injuriously effect the interests of Danville. The Legislature of North Carolina has granted a charter for the proposed branch to Milton, and authorized the Corporation to take ten thousand dollars of the stock.

"The privileges of the charter will soon expire unless accepted by or at the next meeting of the stockholders of the Richmond and Danville Road. I would respectfully suggest to those the propriety of accepting of the provisions of the charter, and act hereafter as expediency may dictate. If they refuse this how can they expect our State to grant them any further privileges. The building of the proposed Branch Road will give to your city a largely increased trade from the counties of Caswell, Person, Orange and Alamance, which otherwise it never would have. A proposition is now made to extend the Roanoke Valley Railroad to Milton and thence through Yanceyville to the Coal Mines in Rockingham, which will no doubt be effected if this Branch Road is not built. The stockholders at their late meeting unanimously voted for its execution.

"In conclusion, I will say we want in our town a large Coach-Making establishment to make our mechanical list complete, and such an enterprize would be well sustained. It is the best opening in North Carolina or Virginia. It would be sustained by the counties of Caswell and Person in North Carolina, and of Pittsylvania and Halifax in Virginia. The business of repairing alone would be no small object. We have plenty of bank and other capital to encourage such an establishment.

"Yours, truly,

"A Miltonian."

Source: Richmond Dispatch (Richmond, Virginia), 7 June 1854, Wednesday, Page 1.

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