President's Message, September 13, 1999 meeting Surry County Virginia Historical Society and Museums, Inc.
Surry County, Virginia, Historical Society and Museums, Inc.
P. O. Box 262, Surry, VA 23883   Phone (757) 294-0404
E-mail address: [email protected].
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The Surry County, Virginia Historical Society and Museums, Inc.

September 13, 1999 Meeting

President Jim Atkins's Report

Welcome to our September 1999 meeting. We have had a really busy summer, and as seems usual, our work and focus continues to change. Most of the organizing work is completed. Now comes a change of gears, and more work, but of a different kind.

First I would like to comment on our picture display. Those from the Jackson Davis Collection have never been seen before. They have just been made available from the UVA Library, via the internet. The address is on the explanation page for those who want to call them up. This is a good example of what is available via the net. Also, these pictures will be in the Society's files for future use.

Of utmost importance is getting our office open to members and friends. It does no good to have information if it is not accessible to friends and members. If open, a high percentage of those who visit will join. I am happy to announce that Margaret Sue Berryman has agreed to help get this started. I understand that Faye Savedge has agreed to help. Betty Collins has offered her help. Margaret Sue, do you have any comments? Will those who will help please see Margaret Sue.

We want to get phone service as soon as possible. Claude Reeson made a report at our last board meeting. We can get local service for around $35.00 a month, however, service that will give us internet service and a broader area of coverage will cost us approx. $100.00 per month. Changes with the proposed merger of Bell Atlantic and the local service could reduce this to around 1/2. The board decided to wait for a while before making a decision on service.

We continue to get many gifts of books and historical information of all kinds:

  1. The Southside Virginian, a quarterly publication of genealogy has given us over a hundred books, and copies of their quarterlies.
  2. Doris Stone, who has done genealogical research in the Courthouse for many years has given the society many books.
  3. Marshall and Polly Seward have given the society early Post office records of Surry and Morrings from late 1800s and early 1900s.
  4. Margaret James Oliver gave us the lovely Memorial Plaques on display here tonight.
  5. Jane Emmerson gave us a number of the pictures on display here tonight. I had never seen a picture of the last burnt Courthouse. You may note that the previous courthouse had a copula on the roof.
  6. The Reverend M. 0. Young of Four Mile Tree has given the Society a set of 4 books, Records of the Virginia Company of London, by Susan M. Kingsbury. These rare books chronicle the beginning of the Jamestown Settlement through 1624. They are a wonderful addition to our library. We have them here for display tonight.
  7. The Rogers family has found two more church registers from Carsley Methodist Church and given them to us.
  8. Mr. Thad Williams of near Suffolk, Va. has a wonderful collection of Civil War and earlier records of Surry County. They include invoices for Civil War uniforms, and records of the darkest part of our history, the sale of slaves. I hope we can get copies of these for our archives.

Our collection of genealogy and history of our black citizens continues to grow. We are actively trying to collect all that we can find. We will soon have an excellent collection. While little research has been done, this is a field that is going to explode in activity. We are finding more and more blacks, including those that have moved from Surry, are vitally interested in their family and their history. We expect to be a major resource.

Rogers Store has progressed slower than I expected. Last week we received our appraisal of the property. The land and buildings were valued at $55,000.00 and the contents, including records were valued at $30.000.00. We have placed insurance on the property and contents. Now we can start cleaning and sorting the contents. We have met with the Virginia Historical Resources people, and upon their suggestion, are looking at getting the property on the State register of Historical properties.

They also believe we can possibly get a grant from the State of Virginia to help restore it. We are trying to get information together that will allow us to apply before the end of this year. As the General Assembly meets in January 2000, its going to be a push, but I think we can. The Board approved moving in this direction at our August meeting. This will require that we get the County, our Legislature and other influential friends behind us.

We will also need other funds, as these are matching grants. We have started to apply for funds from private foundations. Its going to be a busy year.

The society is also beginning to search for a permanent home. We already need more space. This search will likely take considerable time, as we do not have the funds at present to afford much. We are so fortunate to have our present home at little or no cost, thanks to the Town of Surry.

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