The Fort Smith Historical Society  met in the community room of the main library on January 16, 2008, at 5:00 PM.  Those attending were Chloe Lamon, Billy D.Higgins, Carole and Floyd Barger, Jerry and Wincie Hendricks, Clara Jane Rubarth, Nancy and Jimmy Ciulla, Joanne Swafford, Joe Wasson, Gene McVay, JP and Becky Chancey, Rena Westbrook, Al Whitson, Jo Ann Campbell, and guests Gregory Armstrong, Carolyn J. Filippelli, and Ginny Lang.

President, Bill Higgins, called the meeting to  order.  The minutes to the last meeting had been posted on the website.  There were  no changes, and a motion to accept the minutes as read was made, seconded, and passed unanimously.

Dr. Greg Armstrong gave a summary of the Parley Parker Pratt Conference. Pratt was the great great grandfather of Mitt Romney - Republican candidate for the next presidential election.  The conference was held at the Holiday Inn and visitors from all over the world, including one of his descendants from China and one from Germany, attended. A concert was given by the Mormon Tabernacle Choir.  Parley P. Pratt was a prominent member of the heirarchy of the Mormon Church, had 12 wives, and has many descendents in Latin America and Canada.  Followers migrated there when the issue of polygamy was causing problems in the US.  There are 5 million Mormons in Latin America and Canada, and 13
million throughout the world.  Pratt and one of his wives were on trial for larceny In Van Buren, and were acquitted.  But on his release, the wife's ex-husband shot and killed Parley P. Pratt.  He is buried near Rudy in the Wynne Cemetery.

Carolyn Filippelli spoke about the Boreham Library, and their recent on-line indexing of the FSHS journals, with many students working on the project.  It is  the first digital project they have tried, and they are still learning.  She showed how to click on the Vol. number  that you want, and how to go back to the basic index for a broader search. She said that the future product will be improved, and she hopes we will be pleased.

Chloe Lamon gave a summary of last years activities taken from the minutes of the meetings.  These included replacement of board members, election of officers, treasurer's report, Journal publication report, and membership report.  Also, complete sets of Journals were given to all Public, Catholic, and Lutheran Schools.  A set will be given to the new Marshal's Museum when it is opened.  Our biggest accompishment was the planning and construction of a sound proof room at the museum.  Work was done by Al Whitson and his brothers.  An open house and tour of the studio were held in conjunction with the  October 17th meeting.  And the FSHS sponsored a meeting for WWII vets at the library.  Sixty five people attended, and six former POW's spoke.  At a meeting of the Arkansas Historical Association in Little Rock, our FSHS won prizes for best graphics and historical articles. Plaques were presented to Jo Tillery and Joanne Swafford for 25 years of service.

Nancy Ciulla gave a treasurer's report. A motion to accept the report as read was made, seconded, and passed unanimously.

Wincie Hendricks gave a membership report.  There were 352 re-newal forms mailed out November 14.  Only 87 have not responded. She has a list prepared to exchange with the museum.  A motion to accept the report as read was made, seconded, and passed unanimously.

Jerry Hendricks gave the membership committee report.  Some officers chose not to seek re-election.  Four board members will stand for re-election, two will not.  The committee asks for suggestions on good officers and board members.

Old Business:  On the WWII and Oral History project, Carole reported that they had done a lot of fund raising, resulting in $19,972 in donations and grants.  But most of the money has been spent on the professional set up and hidden expenses such as DVD's, Postage, etc. We need to raise funds to perpetuate  the program.  She asked that we consider working with a professional fund raiser, and introduced Virginia Lang, a consultant on Comprehensive Community Affairs.

Virginia talked about the way professional fund raising operates. She suggested a six month project. In fund raising she puts together a template, videos, brochures, a grant calendar, and has ongoing relationships with various funders.  After grants are secured, she does follow up, telling them how their money was spent.  Sometimes she must ask for grants two or three times before they are considered.  She has moved to Ft. Smith from Houston and has been a consultant to non-profit organizations.  She does grant loans, is now working with 3 theaters and one museum.   She has been working on the Bass Reeves project as a committee member.  She talked with Carole about our WWII Oral History Prioject.  Her dad was interviewed at our studio. Our project, being able to get journals on line each time we interview a veteran, is "hot" for the available funds that are out there.  Returns are about 5 to one - turn around time varies.  We can't make a request more often than once a year.  She does grant writing, keeps up, and applies again next year.  Usually, on the third time they see a file, thank you letters, etc. they become interested.  Carole suggested we form a committee to discuss the Lang Proposition further.  A move was made, seconded, and passed unanimously to form this committee.  Jerry Akins, Clara Jane Rubarth, and Carole will serve on it.

Joe and Carole have done over 80 interviews, which will end up in National Archives.  They will do interview number 91 next week.  They are now averaging 3 interviews a week.  Some of them are one hour, but some are 3 to 4 hours long.  Also, many hours are spent editing sets of DVD's, burning DVD's and making hi def video tapes.   It has become too time consuming and too much  work for two people working as volunteers. They need some help.

Carole reported on the next Journal.  There will be a census of the Washington Cemetery.  Bob Martin talks of his childhood.  Jerry Akins' Hanging Times will be in it.  Wincie Hendricks will research articles on 100 years ago.

There will be a WWII Veteran's meeting next Sunday between 2:00 and 4:00 at the library.  All are invited to attend.

Ben Boulden sent a letter resigning as vice president, assistant editor, and from handling the Web site.  He will stay on the board. [Note: Ben Boulden has resigned from the board as well but will remain a life member of the society. — BB]

Billy said we need to work on the constitution before the April meeting. We need to be specific on how we request grant money.  A special meeting will be held at the library on February 21 at 5 p.m.

There being no further business, the meeting was adjourned by the president, Billy Higgins.

Respectfully submitted, Chloe Lamon, Recording Secretary


Gallery