FOR THE DAILY SOUTHERNER
Dr. Jon Wiggs
The history of the Battle family in Edgecombe County precedes their ownership of the cotton mill at the falls when Nash County stopped at the west side of Tar River, and their legacy resounds in the history of Tarboro.
One such namesake was James S. Battle, an Edgecombe planter and cotton manufacturer who served as president of the Chatham Railroad during the Civil War.
He had a daughter named Martha Ann. She married a distant cousin named Kemp Plummer Battle who served as president of the University of North Carolina from 1876 to 1891.
Kemp P. and Martha Ann, also known as "Pattie," had a grandson named Kemp Davis Battle, a graduate of UNC in 1909 who went on to law school and then founded a firm that celebrates its 100th anniversary in Rocky Mount on Thursday, October 13.
The firm's co-founder was Frances E. Winslow, the son of a Hertford horse dealer. Battle and Winslow met as freshmen at Chapel Hill and graduated with Frank Porter Graham at the top of their class.
Winslow was valedictorian. He edged out Graham, who was to become the first president of the Consolidated University system in 1930, by just a few points. Battle ranked third.
During their first year in UNC Law School the three friends shared accommodations in the home of Graham's grandfather, Edward Kidder Graham, who later served as UNC president, 1913 to 1918.
It was there that the chemistry of complementary personalities and mutual respect for intellect brought together three young men who bonded for a lifelong friendship.
Battle-Winslow Law Firm
Winslow and Battle, both born in 1888, remained together as partners in Battle-Winslow for 62 years until Battle's death in 1973, longer than any other two lawyers in the state. Winslow died in 1976.
Both men served as presidents of the North Carolina Bar Association, Battle in 1932-33 and Winslow in 1937-38.
The firm, now known as Battle, Winslow, Scott and Wiley, P.A., is celebrating its centennial as one of the oldest in the state. J. Bryan Scott became the first president when it became a professional association in 1970, and is still "of counsel" with the firm. Robert M. Wiley.
The BWSW firm is now led by Marshall A. Gallop, Jr., and maintains a legal team of 16 attorneys with offices in Rocky Mount and Raleigh. The co-founders and 200 guests will be honored at a gala on October 13 in Benvenue Country Club.