The Dudley Family

The outside of the Dudley family store, which sat across the road from the Union Hall Depot in Franklin County.
The outside of the Dudley family store, which sat across the road from the Union Hall Depot in Franklin County.

Several members of the Dudley family were connected to the Franklin and Pittsylvania Railroad (F&P). The Dudleys settled in Franklin Co. in the 1700s starting with Gwin Dudley.

Many of the Dudley family still live in the Franklin Co. area today.

During the time the F&P was in operation two members of the family were working as F&P station agents and operators. R.E. Dudley was the agent at Glade Hill Depot. The old depot still sits along side Rt. 40 today.

William Peyton Dudley held the same position at Union Hall and also owned a private store. William Peyton’s initials appear on this old receipt from the store along with those of his father James Peyton, J.P. Dudley also known as “Jasp.”

An invoice from the Dudley store.
An invoice from the Dudley store.

When W.P. was receiving a load of fertilizer by way of the F&P he would post a notice at the store and on the day of its arrival local farmers would line the road with their wagons.

Wedding photo of W. P. Dudley & Mattie F. Holland, April 10, 1907 in Redwood, Virginia.
Wedding photo of W. P. Dudley & Mattie F. Holland, April 10, 1907 in Redwood, Virginia.

W.P. and his brothers would use shovels to load the fertilizer into the farmer’s wagons by hand. He said the line of wagons would be almost out of sight over the hill. In the later years of the F&P automobiles would be shipped to the store in crates and assembled there to be sold.

In 1884 G.B. Dudley entered into an agreement with the Virginia Midland RR. To let him build a 33×24 foot one story wooden structure on the property adjacent to the Union Hall depot for a general merchandise store. Another Dudley, Ewell, ran a store at Redwood.

W.P.’s son, William Alva, attended school locally but their school only went to the eleventh grade. To finish his education he rode the F&P train to Rocky Mount for his 12th grade classes.

A poster for the Dudley store.
A poster for the Dudley store.

He called it “the dinkie” in place of the usual “Fast & Perfect” used by most locals. In his school year book he wrote a note, “Love the F&P.”

W.P. wanted to buy the old Union Hall depot after the F&P ceased operations in 1932. Chapman Dudley was in charge of the negotiation and ask W.P. more than he wanted to pay for the old structure and W.P. refused to purchase the depot.

W.P. had plans to build a new home and the depot would have been in front of the home so W.P. moved the location of his new home a short distance to the west to avoid having the depot in front of his house. To spite W.P., Chapman had the depot moved in front of W.P.’s new home.

The Union Hall Depot after it was converted into a grocery store and gas station.
The Union Hall Depot after it was converted into a grocery store and gas station.

The depot was converted into a gasoline station that was run by Chip Berger and later Harry Robertson ran a grocery store and gas station in the old structure.

In the 1990’s an attempt was made to move the depot to make room for other construction but the effort failed and it was later torn down.

Next moth we will feature another prominent member of the family, Chapman Dudley. Don’t miss his story of the time he was the receiver for the F&P.

Dudley family story6
The Union Hall Depot shortly before it was razed.

Tom Jefferson

IMG_7049The Franklin & Pittsylvania Railroad lost a great friend and supporter Wednesday, Tom Jefferson. Tom was always helpful with anything we wanted to do about the F&P.

He went on some of our field trips and helped relate information about the area where he was familiar. His grandfather, Lawson Dove, had worked on the F&P both as a section foreman and later he drove the motor car.

Tom possessed a great knowledge about Pittsylvania Co. His encouragement will be remembered by those of us lucky enough to have known him.