ALEXANDER PROUDFIT THORPE JR., of Rocky Mount, is head of a long established business that for more than a half century has been a prominent feature in connection with the tobacco industry of the South.  His father, the late Major A. P. Thorpe, gave fifty years of service to the business with which he became identified in 1886.  He was a man of sound judgement and clear business vision who made marked contribution to the tobacco trade.  He headed the firm of Thorpe & Ricks, Inc., buyers and packers of bright leaf tobacco at Rocky Mount.  The public soon recognized his qualities of dependability, enterprise and progressiveness, and the firm ever enjoyed an unassailable reputation.  Extended mention of A. P. Thorpe is given elsewhere in this work.

His son and namesake, Alexander Proudfit Thorpe Jr., was born in Rocky Mount, July 10, 1903, and passed through consecutive grades to the high school.  After completing his studies there he attended the Woodberry Forest School at Woodberry Forest, Virginia, and the University of North Carolina, spending three years in the School of Commerce and one year in the School of Law.  He then came into the business which had been established and conducted by his father and applied himself to mastering every phase of the business in all its departments.  Step by step he advanced as he gained knowledge and experience and in due time was made vice president, becoming president on the death of his father.  He now gives his attention to administrative direction and executive control of a company that is incorporated for $100,000 and his associate officers are: R. S. Conyers, vice president, and Robert L. Arrington, secretary and treasurer.  The company maintains a re-drying plant and in the season of 1937 handled about 4,000,000 pounds of tobacco, while 300 people are employed.  The company are independent dealers and the house of Thorpe & Ricks is well known to the trade.

On the first of May, 1929, Mr. Thorpe was united in marriage to Miss Sara Reeder Wilkinson, daughter of George A. and Mary (Geiger) Wilkinson, of Rocky Mount, North Carolina.  Her father was born and educated in Tarboro, North Carolina, and is now engaged in the insurance business at Rocky Mount, where her mother was born and reared.  Mrs. Thorpe was born in Tarboro, Edgecombe County, September 25, 1906, and attended the grammar and high schools of Rocky Mount as well as Converse College of Spartanburg, South Carolina, as a member of the class of 1928.  By her marriage she has become the mother of a son, Alexander Proudfit III, born September 9, 1937.

Mr. Thorpe is an elder in the First Presbyterian Church, to which his wife also belongs.  His college fraternity is the Zeta Psi and his legal fraternity the Phi Delta Phi, and he likewise has membership in the Country Club.  Those who have watched his course find in him the same substantial qualities which characterized his father and have made the family name an honored one in the business life of North Carolina.

Transcription from the book, North Carolina, the Old North State and the New, volume IV, written by Archibald Henderson, published in 1941, pages 182-183, found on the website, Hathitrust Digital Library (, accessed 12 February 2021.  Photograph from the University of North Carolina yearbook, Yackety yack, published in 1925, found on the website, DigitalNC (, accessed 12 February 2021.

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