The members of the Descendants of the Early Settlers of Shelby and Adjoining Counties and their guests met Thursday evening , October 8, 2015, at Woodlands Clubhouse. Approximately 44 people were in attendance. President William Gotten presided.
Those present were treated to an interesting and informative presentation by Carol McCarley, M.L.S., on her experience of finding, reviewing and cataloging the papers of noted author, Shelby Foote. Mr. Foote is most famous and well known for his 3 volume set on The Civil War, which was the subject of a documentary film by Ken Burns and shown on PBS. Mr. Foote was the principal historian who commented during the film.
Ms. McCarley noted that Shelby Foote very rarely threw anything away and kept voluminous writings and responses in his house located in Memphis. He wrote in long hand and used pen and ink when he wrote and kept a personal diary that he wrote in daily for 30 years. His fame increased dramatically after the PBS series and the last years of his life were filled with meeting celebrities and responding to fan mail, of which there was plenty. He rarely autographed his works and an autographed 3 volume set has become a collector’s item.
The Society welcomed two new members, Flora Maury Bratten and Roscoe Field. Mrs. Bratten received her membership pin and attended with her husband, David Bratten.
Mr. Field was out of town and unable to attend or be presented, but is well known to many members. He will be presented his pin at the Winter Social in February, 2016.
A wonderful catered dinner was provided by Mike, Brenda and Vickie Vernon and was enjoyed by all. Many compliments were expressed for the fine meal and service.
Following dinner and Ms McCarley’s talk, President Gotten reported to the membership of the events and activities during the past two years, which included the Winter, Spring and Fall Socials, and talks by Darlene Sawyer of her activities at the Cordova Historical Museum, Vincent Astor on Memphis movie theaters of the past, Michael Webster of Memphians who fought in both World Wars, Jim Lee on the Lee Steamship Company and the river boats that plied the Mississippi River.
He reported that the Society had honored Darlene Sawyer and Jane Hooker for their dedication (2014) and Walter Wills, III (2015) at the Shelby County Historical Awards dinner. He also indicated that during this term, the Society has welcomed many new members, among whom are: Bob Kelsey, April Branch, Henry Gotten, Mike Cody, Dick Magevney, Darlene Sawyer, Jane Hooker and Betty Jack.
In addition, the new Membership Directory for 2015 listing members, addresses and other important contact information has been mailed out to members. This directory has brought the membership rolls current. It was noted that a number of previous members had been removed from lack of activity or failure to pay their dues for several years. He also indicated that an addendum listing new members, Flora Bratten and Roscoe Field, will be sent out to update the directory.
Mr. Gotten further indicated that a membership application had been just received from John Leake’s guest, Richard Kelsey. Other guests present were: Madeline Faber and Emily Faber, guests of their grandmother, Joanne Moore; Dale Ivy and her parents, Jack and Carolyn Ivy, who were guests of Paul Matthews. It is expected that Dale will soon submit her own application for membership.
Also present as guests were: Jonathan Large of Memphis University School, guest of John and Georgia Harkins, Ann Broadfoot, guest of Betty Brown and Jane Williams, guest of John Fain.
Mr. Gotten, in the absence of Treasurer, Frank Stewart, Jr., reported that the balance in the bank account is $8,366.94 before paying expenses connected with the Fall Social, but that the Society has no debt and is good financial condition. He also remarked that the Society had received a bequest of $1,000 from the estate of Betty Hughes, a long-time member.
He reported that the Board of Directors had met on Monday, October 5, 2015, at which time the board voted to increase the cost of social dinners from $25 to $28 in the future, primarily to take into consideration the increase of these functions as well as to prevent confusion with the amount of the dues of $25, which will remain the same for 2016.
Mr. Gotten thanked Pamela Gotten and Camille Gotten for the flower arrangements on the tables which added to the festive nature of the dinner. He also thanked his officers and directors who have served this past two years and noted that there were a few persons who would be completing their service in this regard, namely Jeanne Crawford, Secretary,
Rita Hall, Register, Joe Saino, Publicity Chairman and Frank Stewart, Jr, Treasurer. The time devoted for fulfilling the duties of these offices is greatly appreciated.
He mentioned further that he had prepared a packet of information about the Descendants that outlines the mission statement, membership requirements, organization and duties of the officers and directors. These packets are available for any member who may have a prospective applicant to become more familiar with the activities of the Descendants. Anyone seeking an application is welcome to contact him and one will be sent by email or regular mail. Email is encouraged as that is the easiest and best way for communication with the members.
Mr. Gotten then called on the chairman of the Nominating Committee, Nick Gotten, who reported that the committee had met and made the following recommendations of persons to serve for the 2016-2018 term:
President William M. Gotten
Vice-President Milton L. Knowlton
Secretary Betty Brown
Treasurer Adam Simpson
Register Darlene Sawyer
Historian Dr. John Harkins
Parliamentarian Sara Holmes
Membership Chair Dr. Nicholas Gotten, Jr.
Director at Large Ceylon Blackwell, Jr.
Director at Large Joanne C. Moore
Chaplain Kenneth Jack
Publicity ChairRita Hall
Immed. Past Pres.Joseph T. Getz
Mr. Gotten then asked if there were any other nominations for the offices to be filled and receiving none, asked for a motion that the nominations be closed, which was duly made, seconded and passed by the members present and voting. Mr. Gotten noted for the record that a quorum was present and exceeded in that over 30% of the membership was present, a quorum being 10%.
Mr. Gotten then asked for a motion that the slate of officers and directors as read be elected by acclamation, which was duly made, seconded and passed. These officers and directors will officially assume their duties on January 1, but they may either continue in their duties or assume their new duties, such as the Treasurer, Mr. Simpson, doing what is required to satisfy any bank requirements for the transfer of authorized signatories for the account. Mr. Stewart will meet with Mr. Simpson to accomplish this.
It is anticipated that the Winter Social will convene at the Morton Museum in Collierville in February, 2016, weather permitting. The Winter Social in 2015 had to be cancelled due to snow conditions making driving hazardous. Although the meeting was rescheduled 3 times, it was finally cancelled.