Bolivar County Historical Society

12 September 2011 Meeting Minutes

Call to Order
Review and Approval of the Minutes – Hilda Povall made the motion to approve the minutes and Priscilla Aguzzi seconded.  All in favor, the minutes were approved.

Program: Dr. Lizabeth Carlson, Dean of the Robert E. Smith School of Nursing at DSU, presented a special program on Civil War nursing.  The focus of this presentation was on the complexities and challenges faced by nurses during the American Civil War, with an emphasis on the battle and siege of Vicksburg.

Officer Reports:

No reports.

New Business:

Standing Committees

  • Research Committee– Proposed Mission: To generate & field research related to the history of Bolivar County.
    • Goals for 2011-2012:
      • Generate a list of local historic resources, most likely an annotated bibliography
      • Generate a geographic bibliography of resources (how to find resources based on locations)
      • Develop and host a workshop within the next year.

Lisa Miller

Debbie Leftwich

Emily Jones

Drew Swanson

Pat Brown

Jonett Valentine

  • Museum Committee – Proposed Mission Statement: To build a network between museums and individuals interested in supporting the missions of the various museums throughout the MS Delta.

Emily Jones

  • Cemeteries Committee – Proposed Mission: To survey cemeteries, gathering historic information to assist with research requests, preserve local history, protect historic cemeteries and to discover unrecorded cemetery locations.

Linda Bassie

Lisa Miller

Debbie Leftwich

Jonett Valentine

  • Publications Committee

Charles Clark

Noel Funchess

Margaret Swanson

  • Membership Committee

Matt Jones

Billy Nowell

Hilda Povall

  • Historic Sites Committee – This committee is designed to keep an open line of communication between the Heritage Preservation Committee and the BCHS.

Micki Thompson

Cheryl Line (chair)

  • Program Committee – Proposed Mission – To bring the history of Bolivar County into the present and preserve it, while making it come alive for the community.

Ned Mitchell

Bettye Mitchell (chair)

Cam McMillen

  • Publicity

Matt Jones

Kay Bullock

Old Business:

  • Update on Program Committee questionnaire – A suggestion was offered to invite Princella Nowell to talk about aspects of history surrounding the topic of Deer Creek.  Mrs. Mitchell continues to bring excellent program ideas to the table.
  • Update on IRS/non-profit status – K. Povall has contributed $50.00 for processing the IRS forms; H. Povall is continuing the work through the process of 501 (c) 3 status.
  • Recruiting Members
  • E-mail and Blog update – continue sending announcements to Margaret Swanson (mswanson@deltastate.edu) to include on the blog.

Open Discussion:

  • Ned Mitchell would like to write about James Albert Wiggins and his work.
  • A question was raised if the BCHS could make donations to the DSU Foundation.  Emily will explore.
  • Amendments will need to be made to our Bylaws.  The executive committee of the BCHS will take the lead on this project and update the membership at each meeting.

Adjournment – 12:58 pm

Minutes of the Bolivar County Historical Society Meeting, Aug. 8th, 2011

Location: Delta State University, Capps Archives Seminar Room, Cleveland, MS

In attendance: Priscilla Aguzzi (PA), Cindy Beardsley (CB), Pat Brown (PB), Noel Funchess (NF), Emily Jones (EJ), Matt Jones (MJ), Cameron McMillan (CM), Lisa Miller (LM), Hilda Povall (HP), Drew Swanson (DS), Margaret Swanson (MS), Jonett Valentine (JV), John Valentine (JV2)

The meeting was called to order at 12:05 PM, with Emily Jones acting as chair, and Drew Swanson serving as acting secretary.

For the first item of business, EJ circulated last meeting’s minutes and requested that the members read them; she then opened the floor for additions and corrections.  There being none, the minutes were approved as written.

The members then moved to the issue of society officers.  After some discussion, those present agreed to nominate and elect officers.  The nominated slate included Emily Jones for president, Lisa Miller for vice president, Drew Swanson for secretary, and Ned Mitchell (absent) for treasurer.  All four were nominated and elected by acclaim by the present members, and all four (with the exception of NM) accepted the posts.  DS raised the issue of the need to define the society’s terms of office.  LM stated that the by-laws as they stood did not provide for term guidelines, and after discussion, the members decided that the by-laws should be modified to specify terms and when elections would be held in the future.  HP noted that the term guidelines should provide for staggered elections so that there would always be at least two experienced officers serving at any time, and the members concurred.  EJ added that the society might also create the position of past chair, as this would contribute to institutional memory.  The executive committee agreed to formulate a set of term guidelines and present them to the society in an upcoming meeting for a vote.

The issue of how membership cycles would work was raised again.  It was decided – at least temporarily – that membership would remain rolling.  The treasurer would keep a database of when each member paid dues, and would notify members individually as their membership expired.

EJ next moved to the best method to contact members.  After some discussion those present agreed that e-mail reminders of meetings and periodic society schedules in the newspaper were sufficient.

The issue of standing committees was broached, and EJ circulated a list of committees along with the members signed up for each to date.  She tasked the committees with meeting each month and providing a report to the comprehensive meeting, and also charged each committee with creating a basic description of its goals and methods.  JV added that she had brought a collection of Cleveland/Bolivar County publications that might prove useful to the research and/or publications committees for anyone who would like to look at them.  She also volunteered to work on a local history bibliography.  PB asked if the cemetery committee had been eliminated as it was not included on the handout.  EJ responded that it had not been eliminated, just accidentally omitted from the document.

LM informed the members of the status of the article efforts of Sarah Beaugez, who had offered to write an article on the two county courthouses for the local papers at last month’s meeting.  The project did not work out as anticipated, and it highlighted the need for the society to funnel potential publications through the publications committee, with a central contact person for media outlets.  After discussion those present agreed that such oversight was a good idea.  MJ suggested that such administration should go through the publicity committee, in order that it could effectively manage information disseminated in print.

At the conclusion of the committee discussion, EJ requested each committee elect a chair and prepare a monthly report by the September meeting.  MS volunteered to serve as chair of the publications committee, and was nominated and approved on the spot.

EJ next circulated a questionnaire from Bettye Mitchell (absent) of the program committee.  The program committee was seeking information on the types of programs members might be interested in, and their willingness to present at some point.

NF asked if the society was actively requesting oral histories from local residents, and EJ replied that an organized effort had not yet been made to do so, but that the archive’s “community chats” programs were bringing in people with local stories that might benefit the BHS’s efforts to gather history.  JV2 added that the society could also put out a call in the newspaper for people with stories to share.  EJ declared that the archives had oral history recording equipment available for anyone who wanted to begin such a project, and she would be happy to provide lessons on its use.  She mentioned that this might also make an appropriate program topic for a future meeting.

EJ next requested an update on the status of the society’s nonprofit paperwork.  HP reported that there were no significant developments since the last meeting.

EJ then moved to the BHS website.  MS asked that she receive electronic versions of the by-laws and committee information so she could add them to the website and she would update them as needed.  She also asked that members send relevant announcements to her so they could appear on the website.

EJ asked if there was any other old business, and JV presented the group with a list of historical markers in the county for circulation.  She requested that anyone who new of additional or lost markers contact her.  HP informed JV that the Mississippi Department of Archives and History (MDAH) should have a complete list of markers, and JV responded that she had been unable to access the relevant webpage on her last attempt.  Several other members suggested that the MDAH list might also be incomplete.  This was followed by a general discussion among the members of local markers, historic sites, and cemeteries in need of attention and maintenance.

There being no additional business, EJ announced that the next meeting would be held on the second Monday of September at the regular time and location, and the meeting was adjourned at 12:58 PM.

Minutes taken and prepared by Drew A. Swanson, secretary.

Minutes of the Bolivar County Historical Society Meeting, July 11th, 2011

Location: Delta State University, Capps Archives Seminar Room, Cleveland, MS

In attendance: Linda Bassie (LB), Sarah Beaugez (SB), Caroly Booker (CB), Charles Clark (CC), Steven Craddock (SC), Lisa Miller (LM), Bettye Mitchell (BM), Ned Mitchell (NM), Hilda Povall (HP), Drew Swanson (DS), Margaret Swanson (MS), Jonett Valentine (JV), John Valentine (JV2)

The meeting was called to order at 12:00 PM, with Lisa Miller acting as chair, and Drew Swanson serving as acting secretary.

LM opened the meeting by briefly summarizing outstanding issues from the June meeting.  She raised the issue of a potential name change from the Bolivar County Historical Society to Bolivar Historical Association, and after discussion the consensus among those present was to retain Society in the name.  This decision was based primarily on the logistical difficulty of changing the name as the organization had already established websites, opened a bank account, and begun the nonprofit tax paperwork under the BHS moniker.  LM also brought up the issue of a regular meeting date.  Some members had expressed an interest in Friday meetings, but after discussion those present agreed that the second Monday of each month would remain the regular meeting date, with the potential for the occasional evening meeting for member unable to make the regularly scheduled time.  The next meeting was set for noon, August 8th, at the Train Museum in Cleveland.

LM asked that those present include their email addresses on the attendance sheet so she could circulate a meeting reminder next month.

HP next discussed the current standing of the society’s nonprofit tax status.  She had completed most of the necessary paperwork, needing only LM and Emily Jones’s signatures on a form for the Mississippi Secretary of State.  LM added that the society had opened a bank account with Planter’s Bank, which acting treasurer NM said contained $230.00, and a portion of the tax paperwork fees could come from that money.  LM also stated that she had received permission from the Cleveland City Government for the Train Museum to cover the difference in nonprofit paperwork expenses.

The meeting then moved on to discussion of committees.  LM summarized the committee discussion from the previous month’s meeting, and there was no new progress to report.  The members discussed potential aims of each committee, and took new volunteers for each from those present.

LM raised the issue of how the society should deal with the two main town newspapers.  She wondered if the organization should place an equal emphasis on disseminating information in both or whether it should rely on one for announcements and business and the other for publication of historical articles.  After some discussion the general consensus was that the society should try to publish material in both the Bolivar Commercial and the Cleveland Current.  NM added that we should keep in mind the Bolivar Bullet, an online bulletin.

SC mentioned that a possible issue that the society might consider taking up was the preservation of the education statue located in the Pace school bus building.  He stated that there was some desire to have the statue moved, perhaps to a walking trail or street in Rosedale, but that the statue and its possible relocation had proven controversial in the past.

DS noted that the statute was a good example of the sort of work the society could do, and raised the issue of exactly how the society wanted to apply its energy to those sorts of projects.  Should the society focus on raising awareness of similar issues and rely on public opinion to accomplish objectives, or should it be more actively engaged?  The consensus of the members was that the society should pursue both methods, but that raising awareness about particular historical accounts or preservation issues might be the most useful activity, especially initially.  NM contributed that the society should take small steps toward establishing itself before tackling too many issues, and that publishing a few historical articles would be worthwhile early endeavors.   The members agreed that research into the statue’s history, past controversy about potential relocation, and the formulation of a society goal for the statue should precede any further action concerning the Pace statue.

After additional discussion concerning potential local history articles, it was decided that a history of the Bolivar County courthouses would be a worthwhile subject.  SB volunteered to write such an article if other members would help her with historical accuracy and sources.  The members resolved to work toward the publication of the article under SB’s authorship.

There being no additional business, LM announced that the next meeting would be held August 8th at the King Railroad Heritage Museum, and the meeting was adjourned at 1:00 PM.

Minutes taken and prepared by Drew A. Swanson, acting secretary.

Minutes of the Bolivar County Historical Society Meeting, June 13th, 2011

Location: Delta State University, Capps Archives Seminar Room, Cleveland, MS

In attendance: Pat Brown (PB), Kay Bullock (KB), Charles Clark (CC), Noel Funchess (NF), Emily Jones (EJ), Matt Jones (MJ),  Cheryl Line (CL), Cameron McMillen (CM), Lisa Miller (LM), Don Allen Mitchell (DM), Billy Nowell (BN), Hilda Povall (HP), Drew Swanson (DS), Mickey Thompson (MT)

The meeting was called to order at 12:00 PM, with Lisa Miller and Emily Jones acting as co-chairs, and Drew Swanson serving as acting secretary.

EJ reviewed the minute’s from the May 9th meeting, and requested comments from those in attendance.  CC moved to approve the minutes as they stood, HP seconded the motion, and the ayes carried.

On the topic of new business, EJ presented a motion in absentia from Margaret Swanson for establishing a general BHS email address.  The address would provide a central contact point for people interested in the society, could be connected to the society’s webpage and facebook page, and should be monitored by the secretary.  After general discussion, Kay seconded the motion and the ayes carried.

EJ brought the society’s new webpage, created and administered by Margaret Swanson, to the members’ attention.  The site’s address is https://bolivarcohs.wordpress.com/.

LM proposed that the society consider changing its name to the Bolivar Historical Association or the Bolivar History Association, as she felt that the word “society” carried connotations that might discourage broader membership.  HP responded that a name change at this point might present difficulties with the society’s IRS paperwork, which was already in progress.  LM agreed that this was a possibility, and mentioned that the change would also mean altering the new website.  CC added that the alteration would also affect the facebook page; these changes would be relatively easy to make but might prove confusing to people who were already using the two internet resources.  The members reached a general consensus that the proposed name change should be tabled pending further discussion.

EJ stated that a number of members had suggested moving the meetings from the second Monday to the second Friday of each month.  After some discussion, EJ requested that members send her their preferences and the issues could come to a vote at the next meeting.

At this point CC made a presentation to the members on his ideas for a publications committee.  He raised several questions essential to the formation and goals of the committee, including: What sort of work should the society publish?  Should the society have topical preferences?  What sort of publication format – i.e. digital articles or a hardcopy journal – should the society pursue?  How can we encourage authors?  He mentioned that both the facebook page and website would be potential sites of publication.  CC also stated that the committee would need to form an editorial staff of some sort, which could perhaps find and summarize local history resources for community members.  He went on to pose additional questions for consideration, including: Should the society give annual awards?  Would an editorial staff need to create a style guide?  Would the committee have to create an article template?

DS responded that finding authors should not be a problem, journals and magazines of all sorts were usually flooded with potential articles.  He also mentioned that there were a number of standardized style guides that the society could adopt.

LM added that she had mentioned publications to the Bolivar Commercial, and they had responded favorably to the idea of regularly printing materials for the society.

CL said that she believed the demand was there for local history stories, as she was regularly called upon to give historical presentations on the Blues and Civil Rights.

DS mentioned that issues of intellectual property would vary depending on where and how the society published articles.  Newspaper articles would be held to the standards of journalism, but articles published on the website drawing on primary sources would need to be carefully documented and the organization’s editorial responsibility would be a bigger concern.

EJ requested that CC continue developing the publications committee, and that members interested in joining the committee approach him.

Moving to old business, EJ asked that the members read the amended by laws.  LM pointed out the changes she had made since the last meeting, primarily dealing with the number and names of committees.  NF asked if there was a mission statement to accompany the by laws, and EJ replied that one did not yet exist, but Libi Logan was working on creating goals, a mission statement, and a vision for the society.  CC made a motion to accept the by laws as presented, with the caveat that the name remain the Bolivar Historical Society for the time being.  LM seconded the motion, and the ayes carried.

Discussion next moved to who might be interested in membership of each committee.  The body at large briefly discussed each committee and their potential goals.  EJ requested that members continue this discussion over the next month and the committees could solidify by the next meeting.

HP updated the members on the progression of the society’s IRS nonprofit status.  She had filled out part of the paperwork, but the society needed to allocate $300 for the application fee for the paperwork to move forward.

On another note, HP added that she had five articles on local historic buildings.  These articles were intended for signs on these buildings, but had never been published.

MJ suggested that the society use these and similar articles to create an “around town” series for the website.

NF mentioned that the chamber of commerce put out a similar series on local buildings around 1990, and these articles might still be available.

EJ next circulated an article on the Somerville Building prepared by Ned Mitchell, and suggested that this sort of piece could be a model for these articles.

There being no additional business, EJ announced that the next meeting would be held July 11th in the Capps Archives, and the meeting was adjourned at 12:57 PM.

Minutes taken and prepared by Drew A. Swanson, acting secretary.

Minutes of the Bolivar County Historical Society Meeting, May 9th, 2011

Location: Delta State University, Capps Archives Seminar Room, Cleveland, MS

In attendance: Charles Clark (CC), Emily Jones (EJ), Libi Logan (LL), Lisa Miller (LM), Ned Mitchell (NM), Hilda Povall (HP), Drew Swanson (DS), Margaret Swanson (MS)

The meeting was called to order at 12:00 PM, with Lisa Miller and Emily Jones acting as co-chairs, and Drew Swanson serving as acting secretary.

LM circulated copies of the defunct society’s by-laws, along with modified versions for the members’ perusal and suggestions.  LM also provided the previous meeting agendas for those not present at the first meeting.

LM stated that news and information regarding Mississippi River flooding had bumped the article announcing the reorganization of the historical society from the Cleveland Current.  The article should appear in next Sunday’s issue, space permitting, as well as in the Bolivar Commercial.  The article will advise the public of the society’s meeting schedule and ways to join.

EJ reported that there was no additional progress on the society’s IRS certification as a nonprofit organization.

NM and HP summarized the remaining tasks associated with nonprofit recognition: The IRS needs a name, address, and tax ID number of a former officer to move forward.  CC provided an address of a former officer that should work for the IRS’s purposes.

EJ added that the historical society does need to establish a street address that was once used for the first iteration of the organization.

NM suggested that the members move to a discussion of the proposed by-laws.

LM summarized the changes in the draft she circulated.  These included a three month grace period for members in arrears, monthly rather than quarterly member meetings, and meetings scheduled for noon on the second Monday of every month.

HP raised the issue of what exactly constituted an “active” member for the purposes of quorum.  DS argued that this would only be an issue if the society’s numbers grew so large that achieving a quorum became a difficulty.

LM pointed out that the by-laws now listed the secretary and treasurer as two distinct positions.  She also raised the question of whether membership should be open enrollment or not.  The members settled on open enrollment after some deliberation.

NM and LM both mentioned the possibility of republishing articles from the defunct society’s historical journal, either in local newspapers, online, or in a new stand-alone publication.  DS questioned the copyrights of the materials, and EJ explained that Dr. Tom Boschert of the History Department held copyright as far as she knew, and it should not be a problem to obtain the rights from him.

HP brought up the issue of a society web presence.  LM replied that her sister maintained a local history website, and the society could probably use space on that site.  She also mentioned the desirability of an organizational facebook page.

The members then moved to a discussion of the number and focus of society committees.  NM advocated a museum committee committed to strengthening relationships between existing, future, and potential museums in the area.  LM suggested adding a cemetery committee.  LL argued that the publications committee should be renamed the publicity committee, or that a committee of each name be established.  LM and HP both suggested a single committee that combined publicity and publications.  LM then asked if the society needed a library committee, as the libraries served as the only sites for local genealogy.  MS suggested that the society establish a research committee that oversees both library support and genealogical research.  The members approved.  EJ concluded the committee discussion by noting that the society needed formal written descriptions of each committee to inform potential members of the committee’s purpose.

LL declared the society’s next step should be the creation of a general mission statement that laid out the organization’s goals, vision, and policies.  The members concurred.

CC motioned that the by-laws be approved as amended.

NM seconded the motion, and the motion passed unanimously by oral vote.

LM agreed to retype the by-laws as approved for the next meeting.

NM volunteered to make a brief presentation on the Black Bear Honky Tonk at the next meeting.

EJ brought up the need to vote on official society officers and finalize the number of board members.

NM suggested that the society continue with the acting officers.  The members approved this decision.  DS requested and the members agreed to accept the society’s minutes in electronic form.

Being no further business, the meeting was officially adjourned at 12:57 PM.

Minutes taken and prepared by Dr. Drew A. Swanson.


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