The story of Harold Booth, Sr. and the motor car

Harold-BoothHarold Booth Sr. was born in Franklin Co. in the late 19th century. He lived at Pen Hook and drove the motor car on the F&P Railroad.

The Edwards Motor Car, or the “motor” as the locals called it, was made in Sanford, N.C. and purchased by Nathaniel Angle when he bought the line in 1922.

The new motor car was kept overnight at Pen Hook then each morning driven to Rocky Mount picking up passengers along the way.

From there it went to Pittsville arriving about noon then made the reverse route ending its day back at Pen Hook.

Mr. Booth was mentioned in a book of recollections by “Pops Osborne” telling of how he drove the motor car in the later years of the F&P when the steam engine had all but ceased to run. Citizens of the county tell of the dependability of the motor car keeping a good schedule and their never being late.

Mr. Booth was drafted at the end of WW1 but the war had ended by the time he got to France. He was a 50 year member of both the American Legion Post 6 and Masonic Lodge 201 in Rocky Mount.

After marrying in late 1939 he moved back to Pen Hook in 1948 and went into tobacco farming. He served in several positions in the Pen Hook United Methodist Church and was a rural mail carrier before retiring at the age of 65.

The motor car ran from 1923 until the line closed in April, 1932. Like others in the community Mr. Booth was regularly employed in an area and time few jobs were available. He and others working on the F&P felt themselves fortunate to have a steady income.

He also had the satisfaction of providing transportation to people of the community in a time before cars were the standard mode of transportation. His son, Harold Jr., still lives in the community today and like others shares our pride of the connection to the Franklin & Pittsylvania Railroad.

Harold Booth-article