Stokes County has been home to several prominent businessmen, educators and lawyers who began their careers from humble beginnings.
Thomas W. Bickett, a native of Monroe North Carolina, graduated from Wake Forest College and attended the University of North Carolina Law School before starting his career in Danbury in 1893 where he worked at the Stack-Bickett Law Office, now known as Danbury Town Hall. Bickett would later serve as Attorney General (1909-1917) and become elected the 54th Governor of North Carolina.
In a recent program held at The Arts Place of Stokes, C.W. Hill donated an Eastern North Carolina Butler’s Secretary utilized by Governor Bickett while in office to the Town of Danbury in memory of his father Thomas Bickett Hill (1917-1998), a lifelong resident of Stokes County.
Karl Campbell, an Associate Professor of History at Appalachian State University, explained under Bickett’s leadership, the state saw improvements in child welfare, public health, electricity, and running water. He persuaded the legislature to establish the state’s first income tax and also led the state through World War I.
Born in Pinnacle, Ralph J. Scott was another instrumental force who worked in the small office behind the old Courthouse in Danbury years later. He graduated from Wake Forest Law School and remained there until he was elected District Solicitor in 1938. He served in that office until his election to the United States Congress in 1956. Scott represented the people of the 5th District for five terms until 1966. Congressman Scott generously donated the land that would become the site for the new Govermental Complex on Highway 89. His grandson William (Wic) Southern would become a Stokes County Sheriff and his great-grandson William (Bill) Southern III elected a District Court Judge.
Southern said as a father to three young children, he looks forward to teaching them history, especially the history of Stokes County.
“I stand on the shoulders of giants like Governor Bickett and my great-grandfather Ralph Scott,” he said.
Southern thanked Hill for his generous donation to the Town of Danbury and for the legacy it will leave generations to come.
Amanda Dodson may be reached at 336-813-2426.