Van S. Watson Papers

Manuscript Collection #69
Watson, Van S.
Physical description
0.43 Cubic Feet, 257 items , consisting of correspondence, bills, petitions, speeches, reports, pamphlets, periodicals, and miscellaneous items.
Preferred Citation
Van S. Watson Papers (#69), East Carolina Manuscript Collection, J. Y. Joyner Library, East Carolina University, Greenville, North Carolina, USA.
ECU Manuscript Collection
No restrictions

Papers (1930-1943 undated) consisting of correspondence, bills, petitions, speeches, reports, etc., relating to legislative career, gasoline tax, fishing laws, legislative bills, creation of state motor vehicles department, and reports of NC Agricultural Extension service.

Biographical/historical information

Van Sharpe Watson (1891-1943) was a prominent resident of Rocky Mount and was active in both farming and politics. In addition to his extensive agricultural interests, Mr. Watson was alderman (1925-1929) and mayor (1929-1931) for the city of Rocky Mount, N.C., and state representative (1933) and state senator (1941, 1943) from Nash County to the N.C. General Assembly.

Scope and arrangement

The correspondence is largely concerned with his legislative career, with a small amount of personal correspondence included. Letters from many state government officials for the period are present. Such figures as University of North Carolina President Frank P. Graham, N.C. Governors J. Melville Broughton and R. Gregg Cherry, and N.C. Secretary of State Thad Eure are represented by letters in the papers.

A portion of the correspondence deals with a controversy arising from the passage of a legislative act by Watson to provide elected officials for the Rocky Mount Recorders Court. A number of petitions supporting the bill are in the papers. Other correspondence deals with gasoline tax and grading, fishing laws, and the Nash County health officer (1941).

Speeches include a copy of Governor Broughton's address on fair labor standards, and speeches by Mr. Watson on the government tobacco program, the eight months school year, taxation, and his acceptance as mayor of Rocky Mount. Several speeches from the 1941 Council of State Governments meeting are included.

Legislative bills include copies of those concerning the creation of the state motor vehicles department, regulation of speed sales, use of public notices, use of condemnation by thestate conservation and development department, changes in the Nash County Board of Health, and Watson's bill to exempt stored farm produce from double taxation.

Reports concern the N.C. Agricultural Extension Service, the N.C. Board of Charities and Public Welfare, the N.C. Board of Health, and state school book prices (1925-1943). Most of the reports include budgetary requests and data.

Miscellaneous material includes legislative items such as seating charts, rules of order, and members and committee lists for the 1941 and 1943 general assemblies. Programs of various sorts, election certificates, and a list of committees for the Rocky Mount city government are included.

Pamphlets and periodicals are also present in the papers, the bulk of them being of legislative origin. These include directories of members, committees, etc. Of interest are two reprints (1940) of comments on alleged Communism at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, a controversy of some size and duration within the State. Two pamphlets concern the State Highway and Public Works biennial report and Public Assistance statistics for North Carolina (1940).

Periodicals include an official bulletin of the National Defense Advisory Commission (1941), and issues of Southern City (February 1941) and State Magazine (January 18, 1941). Newspapers included are the Raleigh, N.C. News and Observer (March 7, 1941); Greensboro Daily News, Farm Edition (January 26, 1941), and Rocky Mount Evening Telegram (February 8, 10, 11, 1941).

For related material, see the Belcher Family Papers #67.1 and the Andrew B. Benedict Papers #68.1.

Administrative information
Custodial History

November 18, 1968, 224 items; Correspondence, legislative papers, periodicals, and miscellaneous papers of Van S. Watson, Rocky Mount and Nash County, N.C. Deposited by Mrs. F.B. Everett, Palmyra, N.C., daughter of Van S. Watson.

December 12, 1968, 33 items; Copies of clippings and a certificate. Loaned for copying by Mrs. Fate Baker Everett, Palmyra, N.C.

Source of acquisition

Gift of Mrs. F.B. Everett

Loaned by Mrs. Fate Baker Everett

Processing information

Processed by T. Sloan, December 1968

Encoded by Apex Data Services

Copyright notice

Literary rights to specific documents are retained by the authors or their descendants in accordance with U.S. copyright law.

Key terms
Personal Names
Broughton, J. Melville (Joseph Melville), 1888-1949--Correspondence
Eure, Thad, 1899-1993--Correspondence
Graham, Frank Porter, 1886-1972--Correspondence
Watson, Van S.
Corporate Names
Council of State Governments
North Carolina Agricultural Extension Service
North Carolina. General Assembly
University of North Carolina (1793-1962)--History
Agricultural laws and legislation--North Carolina
Communism--North Carolina
Public schools--North Carolina
Taxation--North Carolina
Tobacco--North Carolina
Nash County (N.C.)--Politics and government
North Carolina--Politics and government
Rocky Mount (N.C.)--Politics and government

Container list
Box 1 Correspondence, Speeches
Box 2 Speeches, Petitions, Clippings
Box 3 Reports, Miscellaneous, Pamphlets, Periodicals
Folder os1 Newspapers