Stories Across Granville

Reservations continue for County’s 275th Anniversary Book

Granville County marks a milestone observance this year as the County celebrates its 275th anniversary. To commemorate this landmark year, local author Lewis Bowling has been contracted by Granville County Government and the County’s 275th Anniversary Planning Committee to create a comprehensive collector-style book focusing on the history and development of this area. The book is available for pre-sale to the public.


Established by an act of the General Assembly of the Colony of North Carolina in 1746, Granville was formed from a portion of Edgecombe County in the northernmost part of the province. Since there was no western border, the County of Granville extended all the way to the Mississippi River. The first settlers here were attracted to the area by the availability of land at a fair price. An early trading path helped make Granville one of the gateways across the Virginia border.


Bowling’s book will follow Granville County’s journey from its founding until present day, and includes a narrative and photos not yet seen by the public.


“I have been gathering new material and have had a good response from folks willing to share their photos and their stories with me,” Bowling said. “I appreciate the community’s help and support.”


Bowling has already published several books that feature the history of the area, including commemorative works for the City of Oxford’s bicentennial celebration in 2016 and for Camp Butner’s 75th anniversary in 2017.


“In all of our 275 years, there has not been a comprehensive book written about Granville County that could serve as a stand-alone work like this,” said the Thornton Library’s North Carolina Room Specialist Mark Pace.


The finished work will be available by July of 2021 for a retail price of $49.95. A $5.00 discount had been set for those making reservations by Jan. 31; however, during their January meeting, the 275th Anniversary Planning Committee extended the discount deadline for three additional months. Those making book reservations by April 30 can now continue to save $5.00 off the book’s original retail price.


Order forms are available online at or through the Granville County Government Administration Office at 141 Williamsboro Street in Oxford. Contact Patrice Wilkerson at 919-603-1308 or at for more details.





Soil and Water Conservation swears in two Board members

The Granville County Soil and Water Conservation District announces the recent swearing-in of two returning Board members, who will be serving as Board Supervisors.


Ronnie Burnette was re-elected to the Board in November and will serve as Chairman for another term.


Dean Askew was re-appointed for another term and will serve as Board Secretary/Treasurer.


The Granville County Soil and Water Conservation District provides local assistance in natural resource management through state and federal programs, with a goal of implementing best management practices and conservation planning on agricultural land.


“Both Burnette and Askew have been great assets to the Soil and Water Conservation District Board,” said Byron Currin, Natural Resources Conservationist for Granville County. “We’re excited to have them on for another term.”


The Granville Soil and Water Board meets monthly at 7 p.m. at the Farm Service Agency Building, located at 518 Lewis Street in Oxford. Due to social distancing guidelines, there are options to meet remotely.


To learn more about the Granville Soil and Water Conservation District, please click here.






Jay recognized with Robert Blackwell Award

Granville County Commissioner and community advocate Zelodis Jay has been named the 2021 recipient of the Robert Blackwell Award by the Human Relations Commission. The annual recognition was made in conjunction with the Martin Luther King, Jr. breakfast event, held “virtually” on Jan. 18.


Presenting the award was fellow County Commissioner David T. Smith, who helped establish this recognition in memory of Rev. Robert Blackwell, an Auxiliary Deputy with the Granville County Sheriff’s Office for 40 years. A well-respected member of the community, Blackwell had served on the Human Relations Commission from 1993 until 2015.


In his remarks, Smith referred to Jay as being an “advocate for all the citizens of Granville County.” Contributions to Granville County include active participation in:


  • * the Citizens Advisory Committee for Environmental Affairs, where he has worked to secure funding for the cleanup of litter on our roadways;
  • * the Broadband Committee, which is working to bring internet service to unserved and underserved areas of the county;
  • * the Granville County Recreation Advisory Committee, where he has helped plan for a new walking trail in the northern end of the county;
  • * Granville County’s 275th Anniversary Planning Committee, where he is instrumental in the planning of the upcoming observance of this milestone year;
  • * KARTS, where he helps ensure that our senior citizens have their transportation needs met; and 
  • * the Emergency Services Committee, where he ensures that emergency services and resources are readily available to rural areas.


In addition, Jay has served on the Granville Health System Board of Directors, the National Association of Counties’ (NACo) Transportation Steering Committee, the Kerr-Tar Regional Council of Governments (COG) and numerous other organizations and commissions. In 2018, he was named “Outstanding Elected Official” by the COG.


A longtime resident of the Oak Hill Community, Jay is also active in his church (Vernon Hill Baptist) and with the Joe Toler Alumni Association. “He is dedicated to his family, to the people of the Oak Hill Community and to the entire county,” Smith concluded in his presentation. “He is well-deserving of this award.”


In his acceptance remarks, Jay admitted his surprise at being selected for this honor.


“It’s not many times that I find myself speechless,” he said. “I love my county, I love my community, I love the people, and I serve them the best that I can.”


To learn more about the Human Relations Commission, please click here.

Public meeting scheduled for input on hazard mitigation plan

Granville County is joining neighboring counties of Franklin, Vance and Warren – as well as participating municipal jurisdictions – to gather ideas from residents and community leaders regarding the Tar River Regional Hazard Mitigation Plan. Those with ideas to help their community become more resilient during future natural disasters such as floods, wildfires, tornadoes, hurricanes or extreme winter weather are encouraged to participate in an online public meeting to share their thoughts and concerns.


DATE AND TIME: January 28 at 10 a.m.

Join on your computer or mobile app.


On Jan. 28 at 10 a.m., click here to join the meeting or use this link:


Those interested may also call in at (877) 286-5733 (toll-free, audio only).

Conference ID: 456 918 094#


For more information, please contact Robin Edwards of Granville County Emergency Services at 919-603-1310 or at


To access the information sheet about this meeting, please click here: Tar River Public Meeting

Notice of remote meeting, Granville County Board of Commissioners

The Granville County Board of Commissioners will meet remotely by Zoom conference call on Tuesday, January 19, 2021 at 7:00 p.m. for the regular scheduled meeting.  Please contact the County Administration Office at 919-693-5240 to receive the registration link. 

Public comments will be accepted in written format and must be received by Tuesday, Jan. 19 at 12:00 p.m. by mail to P.O. Box 906, Oxford, NC  27565 or email to


To view the agenda, please click here. 

Granville County launches volunteer website

In the spirit of volunteerism and to promote service to the community, Granville County Government has launched a website to match individuals and groups with volunteer opportunities


Departments such as the Animal Shelter, Senior Services, the public libraries, Social Services, Veterans Services, etc. rely on contributions of time and resources from volunteers to walk dogs, deliver meals to seniors, coordinate activities or share knowledge in a classroom setting. Opportunities are also available through service on designated Boards and Committees to help provide feedback and recommendations to the Granville County Board of Commissioners.


“Many citizens within our community seek ways to “give back,” said County Manager Michael Felts about this initiative, “By establishing effective volunteer programs, the County can offer opportunities to those citizens who wish to serve the community in a positive and worthwhile manner.”


The “Granville Gives” website helps match needs such as these with people and organizations throughout the county who are willing and able to enrich the lives of our citizens through volunteer service. Those interested in volunteering can create a log-in to post skills and abilities that can be matched with needs throughout the county, or can scroll through a listing of current available opportunities. Volunteer hours can also be logged through a “volunteer snapshot” to help track hours of service.


All volunteers must acknowledge and agree to the Granville County Volunteer Policy, with some departments requiring on-site training. Volunteers under the age of 18 must have parental consent before volunteering.


To learn more about “Granville Gives,” please click here.

New County Extension Director named for Granville

North Carolina Cooperative Extension, Granville County announces that Charissa M. Puryear has been named County Extension Director (CED).


Puryear transitions into the Director role after serving as Youth Programs Coordinator for Granville County Extension for 16 years. She has extensive experience in volunteer recruitment and training, management, grant writing, program development/implementation, group facilitation, and community development/engagement.


A graduate of Shaw University with a degree in Social Work, Puryear holds certifications as a facilitator for Triple P Parenting, Basic Mediation skills, First Aid/CPR Instruction and mental health, among many other accomplishments. She has collaborated with many county and community organizations and serves on various boards and committees both personally and professionally.


“I am humbled to fill the role of the County Extension Director for North Carolina Cooperative Extension, Granville County,” Puryear said of the announcement. “I am passionate about locating resources, motivating change and empowering people. Community outreach and engagement are important in both my professional and personal life. I am grateful for this opportunity and look forward to partnering with the community to dialogue on how Cooperative Extension can best serve the Granville County community.”


A Granville County resident since 2003, Puryear follows former Cooperative Extension Director Paul Westfall, who served the county as CED and livestock agent since 2008 and recently retired. Westfall had also spent several years serving as CED in Person County.


The N.C. Cooperative Extension Office for Granville County is located at 125 Oxford Loop Road in Oxford. Puryear can be reached by phone or by email at (919) 603-1350 or


Human Relations Commission to host “virtual” event on Jan. 18

The annual event to honor the life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. will be virtual in 2021. Each year, Granville County’s Human Relations Commission (HRC) organizes and hosts a fellowship breakfast that brings community members together to celebrate diversity, as well as the legacy of the late Civil Rights leader, who advocated for peace.


“For 2021, we wanted to ensure that the message of fellowship and unity was carried forward, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic,” said HRC Chair Rev. John Gooch. “Although the means of conveying that message is different, the spirit of the event remains the same. We thank everyone who helped make this possible.”


This year’s videotaped event will be made available on Jan. 18 (Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday) on Granville County’s local government channel, Spectrum Channel 17. Video segments will also be posted to the Granville County Government website and social media (Facebook) platform.


The program will include first-place winners of the annual Martin Luther King, Jr. essay contest, with Karissa Birdine of Butner Stem Middle School and Haley Erexson of Granville Central High School reading their award-winning essays aloud.


Keynote speaker is Jeannette Paschal, Senior Pastor of the United Christian Fellowship Missionary Baptist Church of Oxford, with musical selections provided by representatives of the Mary Potter Community Choir. Members of the Human Relations Commission are also a part of the program, providing remarks, with a highlight being the presentation of the Robert Blackwell Award.


To access the video, residents who have service through Spectrum cable television can tune in to Channel 17, listed as the “Community Calendar” in the program guide, from 8 a.m. until 10 p.m. on Jan. 18. The video will be broadcast as a continuous loop that will be aired throughout the day.


Those wishing to view the video online should visit and follow prompts to lead them to the recorded program, or visit the Granville County Government Facebook page for posted segments.


The Human Relations Commission thanks the George C. Shaw Museum and the Granville County Historical Society Museum, both of Oxford, for providing the venue and backdrops for the videotaped segments.


For more information about this project, please contact the County Manager’s Office at 919-693-5240.










Hinman appointed to statewide task force

Granville County Commissioner/Board of Commissioners Chair Sue Hinman has been appointed to help lead a task force to strengthen access to high-quality and affordable food in North Carolina. Appointed by NCACC (North Carolina Association of County Commissioners) President Ronnie Smith, Hinman serves as co-chair of the “Resilience Initiative” and joins a dozen additional appointees from Wake, Randolph, Robeson, Tyrrell, Pitt, Bertie, Nash, Henderson, Wilkes, McDowell, Watauga and Brunswick Counties to ensure that the food ecosystem across the state is strong.


The “Resilience Initiative” was established in response to an expected increase in the food insecurity rate, which is predicted to rise from 14 to 19.3 percent. Lost wages and job loss, due to COVID-19, have negatively impacted the affordability of basic needs such as food and housing, creating a national and statewide crisis. In North Carolina, the average food insecurity rate is 14 percent, well above the national average of 10 percent.


“Given the importance of agriculture in North Carolina, this initiative will look at the entire ecosystem of food production, distribution and access,” said NCACC President Smith. “In addition to food availability and affordability, we will also explore the issues farmers face with the food supply chain, and educate consumers about how to utilize healthy food options.”


The task force will meet regularly (virtually) through August of 2021 to hear from experts, discuss potential partnerships and share experiences. The recommendations made by this group will serve as a road map for counties to implement plans and adopt solutions that will better meet local and regional needs.


Hinman, who also serves as Director of Area Congregations in Ministry (ACIM), sees this appointment as a way to better connect available resources with those who need them.


“I am proud to have been selected to help lead this initiative, which I am so passionate about,” Hinman said of her appointment. “I look forward to sharing ideas and partnering with other counties to ensure that we address this serious issue that impacts so many, and on so many levels.”



For more information on this initiative, please visit

County receives grant funding for business expansion

The N.C. Rural Infrastructure Authority (RIA) has approved 30 grant requests to local governments totaling more than $12,000,000. Twenty-four of those grant requests were made under the state’s Building Re-Use Program, including a grant to support the expansion of Product Recovery Management (PRM) in Butner. The company, a manufacturer of remediation and filtration equipment, plans to add 18,000 square feet to the existing property.


At their Jan. 4 meeting, after a required public hearing to officially accept this funding, Granville County Commissioners voted to provide a five percent match, as required by the grant. Granville County Economic Development announces that the expansion is expected to created 10 additional jobs at this site.
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