The Daily Southerner, Tarboro, NC

Local History

July 18, 2011

A Visit to the Coca-Cola Plant

TARBORO — Just under 60 years ago, in May 1952, a dedicated teacher who wanted her students to learn about their community and learn about work took her students on a field trip to a local industry in the county seat of Tarboro.  What did the students learn from such an outing?

The teacher was Mrs. Parker and she taught second and third grade at Crisp School. She brought the students to Tarboro to the Coca-Cola Bottling plant where students toured the facility and learned how the beverage was put in the bottle, capped and then sent to stores. At the end of the tour, the students were all treated to a Coca-Cola or Coke as it is known today.

The students also posed for a picture as the owner of the plant and their tour guide was M.S. Brown who was never without a camera. Not only did he treat the students to a free Coke, he also took a photo of the groups and shared that with the class.

While assisting local history librarian Pam Edmondson at Edgecombe County Memorial Library with the organizing and cataloging of the M.S. Brown Collection last month, two discoveries were uncovered in the collection. The first was a folder Brown had kept of all the thank you notes written by the students about that visit.

They were written on the old lined paper used in elementary schools that had full lines for capital or upper case letters and half lines for lower case. While most of the letters were printed, a few were written in cursive. (Something  that is no longer taught in elementary school today.) The letters not only thanked Brown for the tour and the picture, but some included illustrations.

The second discovery was the actual photo of the group at the end of the visit. While it was just labeled Crisp school visit 1952, it was obvious this was Miss Parker’s group. The photo was taken just over 59 years ago. The students at the time would have been seven or eight years old making them in their mid- to late-60s now.

We have the names of many of the students from the charming letters, but there is no identification to match the names with the photo. Following are the names of the students with some quotes from their letters.

"Dear Mr. Brown. We were delighted to get the big picture. We were most delighted to get to the small pictures to take home with us. May God bless you for doing what you done for me. Love Frank Abrams."

"Dear Mr. Brown, We thank you for the drinks. We are delighted to get the pictures. I hope I will be a man like you. We enjoyed our visit. Love, Joseph   Bridgers, grade 3."

"Dear Mr. Brown, I was delighted with the picture you sent us. The picture was lovely too. The coca-cola was very good. I was glad Miss Parker took us.  Love Anne Hathaway, grade 2."

"Dear Mr. Brown, we enjoyed the coca-cola. We were delighted with the picture you gave us. Flora Hines, grade 2."

"Dear Mr. Brown, We enjoyed the drinks. We thank you for the picture to. I like the coca-cola plant best. Love Judy Jones, grade 2."

"Dear Mr. Brown, we are delighted with our picture. You are very good to take the picture. Thank you for them very much. You are good to give us the coca-colas. I look funny in the picture. Kathryn Cobb grade 2."

"Dear Mr. Brown, we enjoyed the picture. The big picture is the prettiest. We enjoyed the coca-cola too. Mrs. Parker was nice to take us to Tarboro. Love Ed Rose grade 3."

'Dear Mr. Brown. I think you were very kind to let us come to visit your plant. Thank you for the picture.  Thank you for the coca-cola. I want to be a man like you when I grow up. Love Glenn Corbett, grade 2."

"Dear Mr. Brown. I like the picture of our group. We like Edgecombe County. Thank you for the picture I liked our trip. I am Peggy Brody grade 3."

"Dear Mr. Brown, I enjoyed the coca-cola plant. I like Tarboro very much too. Love Lennis Earl Turner grade 2."

"Dear Mr. Brown, we are very happy about the picture you sent us. I enjoyed the coca-cola. You were very kind to give us the coca cola without our paying. Love Raymond Eakes grade 3."

"Dear Mr. Brown, I enjoyed the coca cola plant very, very much. We thank you for the picture. I like Tarboro. Marsha Fay Forbes grade 2.

"Dear Mr. Brown, We enjoyed our visit. It was interesting. The coca cola was good. Raymond Earl Hagans grade 2.

"Dear Mr. Brown, I was delighted with the picture you gave us. I think you are a kind and sweet man to give us that picture. I am Yvonne Manning, grade 3."

"Dear Mr. Brown, I thank you for your lovely picture you gave us. We think you are the best man in Tarboro. I want to be like you.  We had a lot of fun. Love Sidney Summerlin."

Dear Mr. Brown, I enjoyed the drinks you gave us. Thank you for the pictures. I drink your drinks everyday. I buy them at the store.  I like the big bottles. Woody Wooten grade 3."

"Dear Mr. Brown, we are delighted with our picture. Thank you for the drinks.  I hope I can be like you. Love Dan Williams Grade 2."

"Dear Mr. Brown. I am glad of my picture. Thank you for the coca cola. I think you are a good man. We hope we can visit you again. Love James Morris."

"Dear Mr. Brown, I was delighted with the picture you sent. It was very kind to show us a crate to put pour bottles in. You are nice. I want to be a man like you. When we wrote our sentences, Mrs. Parker said I had some good ones. Wayne Deal."

"Dear Mr. Brown, we had a good time at the coca cola  plant. Thank you for the drinks. Thank you for the picture. I saw a good bottle was any coca cola in it? Love Bobby Grey Cobb 3rd grade."

We would love to know who each one is and what happened to these students when they grew up. I am asking  anyone who recognizes the names or the students in the photo to call me at the college (823-5166 x 241) or at home (641-6465) and tell me which one you are in the photo and what you remember about the field trip. I will publish the information in a future column.

Monika Fleming, the Historic Preservation Program director at Edgecombe Community College, is an Edgecombe County historian. Look for her reports each month on the Community page.


Text Only
Local History
  • Tarboro police warn citizens of scam, break-ins

    Tarboro police are warning citizens to be alert about a scam targeting the elderly in town. They are also warning people about several break-ins that have occurred in the Speight Forest and Summerfield neighborhoods.

    September 18, 2013

  • Mayor Pro Tem Knight: Main goal is to unite town

    Taro Knight was resolute.
    “Uniting the (town) council in the three months I have left is my priority,” Tarboro’s mayor pro tem said Friday afternoon as he discussed the release of a report of more than 30 pages of expenditures generated by certified fraud examiner Ray Jackson.

    September 16, 2013

  • First day of school.jpg Farrelly feels ‘positive energy’ during ECPS first day of school

    Approximately 6,100 students began a new school year on 14 campusess in Edgecombe County Public Schools (ECPS) Monday. The students were greeted by teachers, administrators, and freshly cleaned buildings.

    August 28, 2013 1 Photo

  • Three teens charged in pizza delivery robbery

    Three teenagers were charged with robbery with a dangerous weapon Thursday after the robbery of a Rocky Mount pizza delivery driver.
    Rocky Mount police were called to the 800 block of Lincoln Drive after the robbery had been reported around 1 a.m. When officers arrived, they found a 34-year old Domino's Pizza driver who had just been robbed of the pizza's he was delivering. The victim told police that the three suspects robbed him and then fled on foot from the scene. Officers were able to identify the three suspects and obtained warrants for their arrests.

    July 15, 2013

  • Farrelly_John.jpg ECPS cuts three more teaching positions

    The teachers’ lounges in Edgecombe County Public Schools (ECPS) will be a little quieter in the upcoming school year.
    On Monday, the Edgecombe County Board of Education unanimously approved ECPS Superintendent John Farrelly’s recommended “Reduction-in-Force,” which cuts three more teaching positions.

    July 10, 2013 1 Photo

  • County passes $58 million budget by 5-2 vote

    Edgecombe County Board of Commissioners passed it's 2013-2014 budget by a 5-2 vote during a recessed meeting Thursday. Commissioners Billy Wooten and Donald Boswell voted against it.

    June 28, 2013

  • DSCN8130.jpg 70 arts and crafts vendors hallmark of the Happening on the Common

    Arts and crafts are a hallmark of the Happening on the Common and this year was no exception. Live arts and crafts projects for children and vendors selling their handcrafted wares both were part of Saturday’s happening.
    P.J. Shafer of Rocky Mount sold her pottery, which ranged from traditional mugs and bowls to mushroom shaped pottery suitable for decorating a yard and a piece of pottery with a face carved into it and horns protruding from the top, suitable for hanging on a wall.

    May 20, 2013 2 Photos

  • Jorge-Richter.jpg ECU Orchestra highlights end of concert season with free performance

    The last concert of this season’s Edgecombe Performance Series is a free, afternoon concert featuring the East Carolina University (ECU) Orchestra
    Dr. Jorge Richter will direct the symphony in the concert at 3 p.m. April 21 in the Keihin Auditorium on Edgecombe Community College’s Tarboro campus. The audience will enjoy “Orchestral Favorites,” including Johannes Brahms' Hungarian Dances Nos. 5 & 6 and Peter I. Tchaikovsky's Symphony No. 5 in E minor, Opus 64. The concert will also highlight the winner of the 2012-2013 ECU Concerto Competition.

    April 11, 2013 1 Photo

  • United-Manor-Courts.jpg United Manor Courts: An African American Community Self-Help Project

    This is the narrative of how four community churches came together in a self-help effort and enabled several dozens of low-income families to have safe and adequate housing in the early 1970s. A by-product of this project was home ownership by many of these families.
    Prior to the 1919 flood, the majority of African Americans lived in Princeville after it started in 1865. Many residents of Princeville were day workers, crossing the bridge into Tarboro each morning and returning to Princeville each evening, a convenient arrangement for all concerned. However, this pattern was interrupted by the 1919 flood when the high water prevented this back-and forth daily trek, disrupting the work force to which the white community had become accustomed.

    March 8, 2013 1 Photo

  • Edgecombe natives Charles Lavinghouse, Richard Cherry & Hamilton Pittman gave their lives for freedom

    Of the 36 Edgecombe County natives that enlisted in the 35th, 36th, and 37th US Colored Troops in New Bern, N.C., in 1863, orginally known as the African Brigade, twenty were members of the 36th USCT (see attached list). The African Brigade regiments were orginally named the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd N.C. Colored Volunteers, then later re-classified as the 35th, 36th and 37th U.S. Colored Troops.
    The 36th USCT (orginally the 2nd N.C. Colored Volunteers)  was one of six USCT regiments that made their mark at the Battle of New Market Heights, Va, in September 1864, outside of Richmond.

    March 8, 2013

AP Video
Captain of Sunken SKorean Ferry Arrested Raw: Fire Destroys 3 N.J. Beachfront Homes Raw: Pope Presides Over Good Friday Mass Raw: Space X Launches to Space Station Superheroes Descend on Capitol Mall Man Charged in Kansas City Highway Shootings Obama Awards Navy Football Trophy Anti-semitic Leaflets Posted in Eastern Ukraine Raw: Magnitude-7.2 Earthquake Shakes Mexico City Ceremony at MIT Remembers One of Boston's Finest Raw: Students Hurt in Colo. School Bus Crash Raw: Church Tries for Record With Chalk Jesus Raw: Faithful Celebrate Good Friday Worldwide Deadly Avalanche Sweeps Slopes of Mount Everest Police Arrest Suspect in Highway Shootings Drought Concerns May Hurt Lake Tourism Vermont Goat Meat Gives Refugees Taste of Home Calif. Investigators Re-construct Fatal Bus Cras Mayor Rob Ford Launches Re-election Campaign Appellate Court Hears Okla. Gay Marriage Case
Twitter Updates
Must Read