The Age of Steam

The Age of Steam (HMYK6)

Location: Franklin, VA 23851
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Country: United States of America
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N 36° 40.467', W 76° 55.173'

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(Franklin, Virginia)

The conjunction of the Portsmouth &Roanoke Railroad and the Blackwater Riverin 1835 made this site, then a swampywilderness, a natural link between the towns of the Chowan and Albemarle Soundand points to the northeast. The railroad,later known as the Seaboard & Roanoke andthe Seaboard Line, transported people andgoods between Norfolk and BlackwaterDepot, then on the east bank of the River.Beginning in 1836, steamboats, includingthe Bravo, the Fox, the Stag, and the Curlew,carried them between Blackwater Depotand Edenton on the Blackwater andChowan rivers.This commerce encouragedthe growth of a village, known by 1838 asFranklin Depot, on the Southampton side ofthe Blackwater. By the early 1860s Franklinhad a depot, a warehouse, a steamboatlanding, steamboat lines, a sawmill, ageneral store, churches and a popular hotel owned by Richard and MaryRebecca Murfee Barrett.

"On approaching ... [the Blackwater]station ... one looks in vain for thepromised steamboat that is to conveyhim to Edenton. ... Anon, a blowingand fizzing draws his attention to... awhite column of steam rising from the midst of the forest, and [he] follows anarrow path... [to] a very promisingsteamboat. Then, looking over herstern, he sees the Blackwater River, anarrow, black ditch, embarked withtangled bushes and cypress knees, andover-arched completely with treesclothed in vines and hanging moss. Thestream being barely wide enough tofloat the boat, she is obliged to crab herway ... [backwards] for a considerabledistance, her ... sides butting the cypressknees, and her wheel-houses raked bythe overhanging boughs."
David H. Strother ("Porte Crayon"), 1856

(Included Time Line: 1835 - 1861)
1835 - The Portsmouth & Roanoke Railroad Crosses the Blackwater
1836 - Steamboats begin making regular trips on the Blackwater
1847 - Richard & Mary Murfee Barrett complete their home and open it to boarders.
1848 - William Murfee builds "River Lawn," the first large house in the village.
1850 - The Clyde Line, a steamboat company, is established.
1856 - John Frisbee Starts a sawmill across the river.
1857 - The Portsmouth & Roanoke Railroad moves the depot to Franklin. The Barretts open a larger hotel.
1858 - The Masonic Lodge - often referred to as "the Academy" and used as community hall, school, and church - is built
1860 - The Albemarle Steam Packet Company is chartered.
1861 - Virginia secedes from the Union as the War Between the States begins.
HM NumberHMYK6
Marker ConditionNo reports yet
Date Added Tuesday, September 16th, 2014 at 12:54am PDT -07:00
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Locationbig map
UTM (WGS84 Datum)18S E 328471 N 4060475
Decimal Degrees36.67445000, -76.91955000
Degrees and Decimal MinutesN 36° 40.467', W 76° 55.173'
Degrees, Minutes and Seconds36° 40' 28.02" N, 76° 55' 10.38" W
Driving DirectionsGoogle Maps
Area Code(s)757
Closest Postal AddressAt or near 362-398 US-258, Franklin VA 23851, US
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