August 2015 Meeting Minutes

15 Oct
October 15, 2015

As recorded by Felice Hancock, Secretary


The monthly meeting at The Paul D. Camp Community College Workforce Center Conference Room had 7 people attending, including BNRP Board Members:  Jeff Turner (from the Nottoway River via phone), Curtis Newsome, Nancy Turner, Sherri Woodard, and Anne Parker. 

Chairman Newsome called the meeting to order with a welcome and requested that the Secretary Hancock read the July Minutes.  Nancy Turner motioned that the minutes be approved. This motion was seconded by Anne Parker—motion passed.

Next Chairman Newsome requested the reading of the Treasurer’s Report from Nancy Turner. For the month of July 2015 revenue was $623.74 (and expenses were $1,865.28.

Chairman Newsome then asked for a Membership Report from Bobby Turner. Bobby reported that as of the end of July there are 144 members, the same total as the previous month.


August 2015 Riverkeeper Report                                                             by Jeff Turner

7/16  3-day patrol on Nottoway River below Hercules. I found another Nottoway pirates message in a bottle. Gave that to Sheriff Stutts of Southampton County.  Rt 671 (Hercules) ramp has been extensively worked on some more to control the water shedding off parking lot/erosion issue.  I believe this fix will work.

7/24   3-day patrol on Blackwater River above and below Franklin.  Trash was very bad from Franklin Stormwater canal.  More Styrofoam blocks were found, no connection to Nottoway Styrofoam issue.

8/1   Received info from Otto Wachsman that there was a pollution issue in Stony Creek. DEQ investigation has now found where two farms have released grain slurry into the creek. As much as 10,000 gallons is believed to have been released.  Investigation is ongoing.  Richmond Times is running articles, google Stony Creek.

8/3   DEQ has approved site plan cleanup/restitution on Nottoway at Styrofoam site. The owners (Fowlers) have until Nov 1st to complete the action, but I believe the clean-up has already begun. The owners of the property have been fined $5,460.


New Business

BNRP Festival:  Felice Hancock would like to invite the educators (grades K-12) who enrolled in her last Paul D. Camp Community College Course on regional history/environment.  Small group of 4 teachers –agreed to invite since this class usually receives an Eco-Cruise (meals not covered).


S. S. Olive:  Joe Stutts wrote me the following: You have noted the sinking of the S. S. Olive.  What is not known is there are unknown dead from the Olive buried in Poplar Springs on High Street. There is a curbing surrounding the plot and room enough for about six graves. This was pointed out to me years ago by my relatives Virginia Johnson Allport and Francis Lawrence Webb.  It would be expensive to determine by contracting for ground piercing radar the exact number of graves.  The race and names of the dead are unknown as they were removed from the Olive after she was raised and brought to Franklin.  Surely there was nothing left by then that was identifiable with the science of the day.

It would, however, seem appropriate to place some sort of marker on the plot to say what is there. Barky Wright has told me a small stone with a brief message would cost about $400. This is not a significant amount and could, I think, be raised. Would you be interested in your fund being a depository for receiving and disbursing the money?  We could do a story in the Tidewater News to kick it off with the note that any surplus would go to the Riverkeeper Program and it would be a Riverkeeper historical project. You have done so much to keep the history of our rivers alive that it would seem a reasonable thing to do.

The following is from a piece I (Jeff Turner) wrote names “Steamers and Tugs on the Blackwater and Nottoway” a few years ago:

‘In February 1903 the steamer Olive on its way to Edenton was hit by what must have been a waterspout. The steamer left Franklin that morning making its regular stops and ended up with 31 persons aboard. The following is from an interview with veteran Captain George H. Withy of Franklin. “We left Franklin on Monday morning and had been making good headway all day, not withstanding a strong breeze from the southwest which was blowing, our regular landings were made and everything was coming along when though I noticed that the wind was increasing. After darkness set in it began to blow a regular gale and when I passed Holly’s Wharf at 9:45 the wind had begun to blow so violently that I decided not to venture into, Edenton, but to turn where there was shelter from the wind. The boat was put about without much consideration and the little trip had been started when suddenly a horrible roar began to come towards us from the northwest. Everything became misty below and it was impossible to see a short length ahead. All at once I met with a mountain high layer of white foam beaming directly on my port side, and in another second the cyclone had us. It was like nothing I had ever experienced before. It was like heaven and earth had come together, only a thousand times more. The Olive stood up on her beam and water poured into her shattered windows and portholes in great volumes. Then she began to light and settle at the same time”. The Olive sank like a rock in the freezing Chowan. Various survivors told of the pitiful cries of those trapped and facing certain death. Among these were a twelve-year-old girl and her grandmother. “Oh, I could never forget the frightening cries of that poor little girl if my life was spared a thousand years,” said Martha Barrett, the stewardess. ”’ Grandmother, we are going to die,’ shrieked the girl as the water swept into their narrow apartment. For two or three minutes her terrified cries could be distinctly heard. Then the water filled the berth below and her cries ceased.” The young Bennett girl was one of the 17 souls to perish that dreadful night in the worst steamship accident the area had ever recorded. The steamship business had been dealt a serious blow and though the company ran until about 1929 the popularity of steamship travel would slowly ebb and give way to the wheel.’

Anne Parker moved that the BNRP act as a depository for the S.S. Olive Histo4rical marker9s) at Popular Springs.  Seconded by Nancy Turner.


Clean River Day:  Anne Parker would like to make the entire month of April as “Clean River Month” instead of just a day.  Jeff Turner could collect data.  Note:  Earth Day is April 22/Friday in 2016.  Jeff will consider this suggestion and discuss it as next meeting.


New Business:

As there was no new business to discuss, Chairman Newsome adjourned the meeting.


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