President's Report, Delivered at the March 8, 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
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The Surry County, Virginia Historical Society and Museums, Inc.
President's Report, Delivered at the March 8, 1999, Meeting
by President James Atkins

Welcome to our March 1999 meeting. The time since our December meeting has been very busy. We have been doing a lot of talking for the last year, and now a lot of it is turning into action. Lets just say that we have a full plate, and perspiration is going to be needed as much, if not more, than inspiration for a while.

First, a couple of housekeeping comments. At our last board meeting the board determined that we should wait until next year to have elections to start rotating the board members. As officers serve two years we will not need a nominating committee for any elections at our may meeting.

Second, let's discuss dues. The first to join the society were those at our organizing meeting held on Feb. 28,1998. As we have had members to join regularly since then, we will start our regular annual cycle of dues starting in August 1, 1999. As per our bylaws, those who joined after January 31, 1999 will only be asked to pay 1/2 of the normal dues in August for the next year.

We are pleased to report that we are fast moving into our new office at 84 Main Street. We have furniture and bookshelves. Mrs. Deborah Dawson has offered to help us catalogue and set up our library. With her experience in this field, we are fortunate to have her help. We accept. Betty Collins has offered to help staff the office. We accept. We need to organize a group to set days and hours for keeping the office open. I am looking for a Volunteer to organize this function.

For those who have not met him yet, I would like to introduce Mr. Dennis Hudgins. Dennis is a researcher, transcribe, and writer of Virginia History. He transcribed the Surry County, Virginia Register of Free Negroes which was published by the Virginia Genealogical Society. His transcriptions of the Land Patents of Virginia, Cavaliers and Pioneers, will be the bible used in research for likely the next 100 years. Can you imagine having to create indexes of over 100 pages.

When Dennis finds some wonderful new information, instead of patting himself on the back, He asks why, what else is out there. He will take a hundred pages of old records and in two or three days and nights has them transcribed The Surry County, Virginia Historical Society and Museums, Inc. Presidents report March 8, 1999

Dennis has moved to Surry, and has an apartment next to the Post Office. He will be working on Surry History for as long as it interests him and he is having fun. Dennis and I are now researching the Reconstruction Era of our counties history. These dark days after the Civil War have been largely ignored, and have so much to tell us. There is the Freedsmans bureau, Mother Amelia Howard, the first public education, the Smallwood Institute, the poverty' and the difficult and continuing struggle to determine how our citizens of different races were going to live together. Please welcome Dennis.

Rogers Store. The plat and deed have been prepared and signed by Becky and John Rogers. It is now going through various County offices in preparation to filing in the Courthouse. Next will come electricity, minimal insurance at least, and hard work. I have asked Barbara Moore and Harold Brown to announce this to Carsley Methodist Church and Jerusalem Baptist Church, asking for help and labor in cleaning the place up, straightening it up and beginning work to stabilize it and repair it to the extent that there are no leaks and it is secure and usable.

I expect that within the next few months we will announce a series of open houses at Rogers Store. I know many members and friends are anxious to see the store in the rough.

This brings up a new subject, Finances; Your board discussed this at our last meeting. While our organization has some money in the bank, we cannot just spend it on projects such as Rogers Store. At the last board meeting we agreed that except for gifts especially designated for specific purposes, the board would approve all expenditures other then small misc. expenditures. The officers could act in an emergency.

This therefore brings up another subject. I expect the board to soon develop a program to seek funds for several needed projects. Among those that will be considered are certainly be Rogers Store. Depending upon the extent of restoration you could spend from a few thousand dollars to several hundred thousand.

There will be equipment, archival supplies and other needs for our offices. Eventually, we will want to own our home with fireproof storage, museum space and at least a small meeting room.

As more and more information on Surry County's history is researched, we will soon need to establish a publishing fund. This should be a rotating fund. Collect money, publish a book, spend the returns to publish the next book. As the fund grows, pay for some needed research for future publications.

Soon we must put together a program to seek funds for the above projects. I expect that it will take several approaches.

  1. A drive among members and friends for funds.
  2. Develop a program to request funds for specific purposes from trusts and foundations, a long term project.
  3. Perhaps ask for public funds for needed public projects.

So, I expect the next year to be very busy, different from the last year of forming our society, more active in meeting the purpose of the Society as outlined in our bylaws:

To preserve, publish, present and promote the history of Surry County, Virginia.

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