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Delmar's History

Located midway between Halifax and Enfield along the Atlantic Coast Line Railroad, the community known today as Delmar initially took shape in 1905 when a consortium of eight African Americans organized bJoe Silver acquired the two-thousand-acre "Pomery' tract of land from the Norfleet family. Containing significant timber resources, this tract, located just west of the railroad and Marsh Swamp, was purchased for $10,000 over a ten-year periodIn addition to Silverthe original investors were half-brothers Elijah and Dudley Jones, Robert Copeland, GJackson ScottEd ScottWillie Jones, and Robert Jones. Each investor received a portion of the property, averaging approximateltwo hundred acreson which to develop a farm. 1
An evangelist preacher, Joe Silver led the farm cooperative, collaborating with each member to help maintain its financial stability and ensure agricultural success. (He did not move to the property)howeveruntil 1906.) Initially; most of these men were skilled in cutting shingles and logging, with only a basic familiarity with farmingThey strove to develop self-sufficient farms growing crops of cornpeascottonand tobaccoUnable to make a positive contribution to the venture, Willie Jones soon sold his interest to Silver. In 19IIJames H. Francis became the only neinvestor in the cooperative. His land included, howevera portion of Willie Jones's former landOver timethe Francis farm exemplified the self-sufficient goals of the cooperativeFrancis was a prosperous farmerbut he did not raise tobacco because he considered it a "gambling crop.:

Financially, the cooperative managed each year to meet the mortgage payments. Applauding its effortsE. L. Travis, a lawyer in Halifax, activelencouraged and financially aided the community. B1910 all but three of the seven owned their own farms free of a mortgage. The cooperative cutting of enough timber from the entire tract resolved the final mortgage payment on the Norfleet property, and the surplus was divided equally. In all likelihood, DudleJones was involved with the construction of many of the buildings in the area.'

 The cooperative's dream also included the development of a centralized community near the railroad. In 1914, a portion of the original Norfleet tract located east of the railroad tracks and west of Marsh Swamp was divided among the original investors into eight lots fronting along the tracks. The area was recognized by the name Delmar as early as 1916In that year, Joe Silver deeded one acre to the Delmar Manufacturing Company, a firm established by trading partners G. J. Scott and A. M. SilverOn November 21, 1917, howevera post office named "Logwas established near the railroad tracksand Charles Lawler became its first postmasterJulian T. MossJohn E. Bladesand James B. Garremon followed him before the post office was discontinued on October 151925This community included a barrel stave mill, a storea hotel, and several residences:' 

Joe Silver's concept for his property paralleling the west side of the railroad tracks was laid out in a plat dated May' 9, 1918. The plan delineated four principal streets and eight blocks. Lot sizes varied, with the larger ones near the railroad tracksStreets were named Halifax, RailroadSilver, and Main. Over timehoweverlittle development occurred.' 

Although Silver's vision for Delmar never materializedthe cooperative tradition of the community was advanced in February 1949 with the formal incorporation of the Delmar Cooperative. Members of the SilverScottand Francis families were principals within the cooperative. Headquartered in Enfield, this organization encouraged more efficient collective buying of farm supplies and selling of farm products."

In recent years the name Delmar has come to represent the rural community associated with the farming cooperative. Many residents are descendants othe area'early investorsNo evidence of the settlement or barrel stave mill remains, howeverexcept for the alignment of the power lines indicating the presence of a former rail siding. 

 The James H. Francis House  (Pictured on the Home page)

In 1937 Thomas Adickes, a WPA writercharacterized this one-and-a-half-storframe house as the marof a "verprosperousfarmerIn 19II JameH. Francis joined the cooperative farming consortium of African Americanorganized bJoe Silver in 1905He began building this house in 1924 using materials salvaged from buildings being dismantled in Halifax, NCHe moved herin 1926B1937 Francis's farwas virtually self sufficient, providing all food needed except for teacoffee, and sugar_ According La Adickesiencompassed two hundred orchartrees, vineyards, vegetable plots that produced three hundred canned goods per year, three hundred chickensfive mules, and modern farm equipmentseeminglthe most prosperous of the Delmafarms during thDepression years. 
The Francis house takes the form of a gabled bungalow with ells to the front, side, and rearExposed rafter endssimple purlin bracketsthree-over-one sash windowsand square posts obrick pedestals supporting a small engaged porch are typical Bungalow elements. The arched window and bands of beveled shingles in the gable-front ell are typically Victorian. 

Interior finish, characterized by plaster walls and tongue-and-groove wainscots and ceilingsis standard early twentieth centuryHowever, the salvaged wainscot in the rear ell has Georgian raised panels.
Through the years the family has made several alterations to the house. In the 1950s asbestos shingles obscured the plain weatherboard sheathing. Also, Francis's son, Eddie Rufus, enclosed the side porch in 1975 and added an attached carport to the opposing side elevation.

The house is situated in a quiet setting at the end of a road . Cultivated fields still provide sustenance for the Francis family and an agricultural settingthough the orchards and early outbuildings were removed.