Steam whistle

This small steam whistle, which area residents “told time by” for nearly a half century, has been donated to the South Boston Historical Museum by R. J. Reynolds Tobacco USA. Examining the whistler are (from left) Bob Burnette, buyer for Reynolds; Lowell Strickland, president of the museum; William A. Kent, South Boston mayor and Aubrey Houghton, city manager.

10 YEARS AGO | 2010

• What did Calvin Tuck of South Boston do when he realized the Lightening 7’s ticket in his hand was a $500,000 winner? Nothing. “I just stood there,” said Tuck. “I couldn’t move.” He bought the ticket at 3 Forks Grocery at 1187 Bethel Road in Halifax. On Feb. 8, he received his $500,000 prize from Virginia Lottery Executive Director Paula Otto.

• I do. Two simple words with a very strong meaning. Everyone has said, “I do.” Many have even said, “I do,” before God and witnesses. However, few are fortunate enough to say, “I do,” and 72 years later celebrate the meaning of the words. James Edward Barker and Laurie Beatrice Gull Barker – better known as Tina – recently reached that milestone. On the occasion of their 72nd anniversary, the Seasons staff remedied that situation. Invitations were sent to family and friends. Seasons was decorated with yellow roses, bows and pictures of the couple’s life together, and the staff hosted an old fashioned wedding reception complete with fried chicken, potato salad and all the trimmings.

• The recent spate of snow and ice have forced Halifax County High School and Halifax County Middle School to make some changes to their athletic schedules. Halifax County High School’s boys and girls basketball teams have had their Western Valley District games against Franklin County High School rescheduled for Saturday.

20 YEARS AGO | 2000

• Rochester Button, among the oldest industries in South Boston dating back to the post-World War II years, will close its doors at 1100 Noblin Street and cease production by the end of March, a move that will leave 18 persons jobless. Until two months ago, as many as 30 person were employees.

• Talk of the Town: Had we not looked at some backfiles of the Raleigh News and Observer we never would have learned of the passing of Jimmy Green, a former lieutenant governor of North Carolina and a tobacco baron without portfolio. A native of Halifax County, Gov. Green kept his hands in things here, but the big money and the possibility of climbing the political ladder were just too alluring. He died last Friday at the age of 78.

• The Halifax County High School Blue Comets had been riding a magical emotional high since their win here Monday night over GW. But Franklin County gave the Comets a rude return to reality. The Eagles used a bevy of free throws to overcome a four-point deficit and score a 59-57 win over the sometimes sluggish Cometts Wednesday night in Rocky Mount.

40 YEARS AGO | 1980

• Halifax County and South Boston are rapidly nearing the 200th anniversary of one of the area’s best-kept historical secrets: the Crossing of the Dan River by Gen. Nathanel Greene’s army of patriots in mid-February of 1781, by which he eluded the grasp of Lord Cornwallis’ British army and directly influence the course of the Revolutionary War. This week marks the 199th anniversary of Greene’s Crossing, which occurred at two local ferries on Feb. 14, 1781, just about eight months before Cornwalis’ surrender to George Washington at Yorktown.

• Ripley P. Owen, executive vice-president of the Halifax-South Boston Community Hospital, announced yesterday morning that he was resigning. The surprise announcement came as hospital officials continue to plan for the construction of a new $4.5 million long term care hospital that Owen would have served as administrator. The resignation was dated Sunday, and will become effective in 90 days under the terms of his contract, Owen said last night.

• George Washington Senior High School’s mastery over neighboring Halifax County in any sport contued to flourish last night in Danville as the Silver Eagles outlasted the Blue Comets, to further enhance their changes of a foist round bye in next week’s Western District Tournament here in Blue Heaven. The Eagles important win made it a clean sweep over the Comets as the boys JVs lost 55-42, the girls varsity lost 48-35.

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