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The Barretts A Franklin Pioneer Family

 

In 1847 one of Franklin's most influential couples, Richard and Mary Rebecca Murfee Barrett, married and received a 260 acre farm from Mary's father, Simon. The couple built a house near the center of the new settlement and began providing meals to the railroad's track layers. The Barretts' new business soon developed into a hotel, a popular shopover on the Norfolk to Edenton run. In 1857 Richard persuaded th railroad to relocate its depot to the west side of the river and built a larger hotel to accomodate the rapidly increasing rail and river traffic. The Barrett Hotel, located on one of the four corners created by the railroad and Main Street, was a large building with double verandas, which "ranked as high as the reputation of the hotels of Norfolk, Richmond and Baltimore." The hotel burned in 1881 but the Barretts continued to be leaders in Franklin's early commercial, social, and religious life.

"A drug store, along with its stock of potent medicines, chill tonics, porous plasters, etc., boasted a soda fountain which dispensed lemonade and a choice of lemon or vanilla soda (without ice). When trade was slow, as it was apt to be in the pleasant summer afternoons, the personnel of the establishment would put chairs and a convenient table outside the door and engage in absorbing games of checkers or dominoes, never cards. The casual passer-by paused to view the contests and suggest to the next ??? just how that last move should have been made."

Frances Lawrence Webb

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Downtown Franklin Discount Card