WELDON — Weldon’s Board of Commissioner’s meeting on Monday brought discussion on keeping the town’s trademark.
Town Administrator Mike Williams said a report was provided to the board regarding the history of the trademark “Rockfish Capital of the World.” Williams said the document was generated at the request of Mayor Julia Meacham.
“The board expressed an interest in maintaining the trademark and requested that the town administrator and attorney pursue renewal of authorization of the trademark,” he said.
Williams explained in the report that the trademark has been used several times in association with the Town of Weldon.
According to the report, Shanelle Harris, town clerk, located a letter dated Jan. 15, 1979, from then Sen. Julian Allsbrook to Sam Oakley regarding the hatchery in Weldon as an important operation, “not only for the people of Weldon but for so many people who have come to recognize the town of Weldon as the Rockfish Capital of the World.”
Williams said he searched the United States Patent and Trademark Office and found a record where the town registered the trademark for promoting recreation and tourism. An application for the trademark was filed on Aug. 1, 2011, but was canceled on Oct. 26, 2018, due to “insufficient reporting.” He noted in the report that if the town wished to regain the trademark, they would need to re-apply to the U.S. PTO.
“Nonetheless, this is more evidence that the ‘Rockfish Capital of the World’ has belonged, and should continue to belong, to the Town of Weldon,” Williams said.
However, the use of “Rockfish Capital of the World” dates further back with the Town of Weldon since 1947.
Through research, The Herald found several articles outside of the area referencing Weldon with the trademark.
An article circulated in 1947 in The Newark Advocate in Ohio, The Pittsburgh Press in Pennsylvania in 1948 and The Baltimore Sun in Maryland in 1947, which referenced the Town of Weldon as “Rockfish Capital of the World” by becoming “one of the most exciting streams” in the world at a point in time during the year.
However, one clue as to who coined the term may come from an article in the Rocky Mount Telegram dated July 21, 1948, where it referenced the “Rockfish Capital of the World” to a feature in a story written by Harold Martin in the July 24 issue of the Saturday Evening Post, which the State Advertising Division explained in the article.
The article read that Martin’s story was titled “The Town That Goes Mad Once a Year” when Weldon becomes “frenzied” and joyful fishing during the spring migration of the striped bass.