Herman E. Melton
Historian and Author

By Henry H. Mitchell

Herman Melton

Herman Melton.

Herman Melton is a native of Quail, in the northwest Texas panhandle. He attended Garden City Community College in Kansas and Texas Tech, before graduating from the U. S. Merchant Marine Academy. At Garden City he met and married Helen Louise Dunn.

He served four years during World War II, both in the Atlantic and Pacific. He was on the USS Coronado when it was torpedoed, and among his rescuers was Chatham, Virginia resident and Herman's friend of decades later, Garland Turner.

After the war, Herman entered a career in the natural gas industry, beginning with Northern Natural Gas. He first came to Chatham, Virginia as superintendent of the local Transco pumping station, a position he held from 1959 to 1974. He then moved to Mississippi, and subsequently New Jersey, where he retired in 1980. After both he and his wife Helen taught at the Algerian Petroleum Institute in north Africa for a year and a half, they moved back to Chatham in 1981.

Herman and Helen purchased and restored the Canada House on Chatham's North Main Street. Herman served as president of the Pittsylvania Historical Society, and as editor of the organization's quarterly journal, The Packet. As industrial historian, researcher, and writer, he has published numerous books, monographs, and articles, concentrating on topics pertinent to the history of Pittsylvania County, Virginia. His earlier works concentrated on early industry and technology; later he broadened his purview to include politics and crime in Southside Virginia.

Helen and Herman Melton

Helen and Herman Melton, at their former home in Chatham, Virginia.

Herman's four books currently in print are:

During their Chatham years, Helen also devoted herself to research and writing, concentrating on historical fiction and travel writing under the pseudonym Kenyon McCann, publishing numerous books and articles.

The Melton's three children are Dr. Edgar Melton, Associate Professor of History at Wright State University; Dr. James Melton, Professor of History and Department Head (German) at Emory University; and William Melton, Vice President of Institutional Development at the Rhode Island School of Design. The Meltons have seven grandchildren.

Herman's correspondence address is: Herman Melton, Kingbridge Retirement Center, 3055 Briarcliff Rd. NE, Atlanta, GA 30329-2601.


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