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Etowah Historical Society

since 1954

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The Beginning of the

Etowah Historical Society

 

(TAKEN FROM THE GADSDEN TIMES JANUARY 23, 1955)
ETOWAH HISTORICAL SOCIETY MAKES PROGRESSIVE PLANS

The Etowah Historical Society was organized in April, 1954, and held its first meeting at the home of Mrs. Mary Harrison Lister, Bellevue Highlands. R.H. Copeland was elected president, and upon his removal to Birmingham Jan. 1, of this year, was succeeded by WO. Briscoe. Mrs. Hazel Oliver is secretary-treasurer; Marvin Small, archivist; Miss Sara E. Mason, program chairman. William C. Tolbert heads the research committee.

The Society is the outgrowth of the very efficient committee who in September of 1953 made possible the markers on Black Creek placed to the memory of Emma Sansom and Robert Turner, and who dedicated these memorials on Nov. 1, at a ceremony at Emma Sansom High School which was attended by more than two thousand people.

Russell Hooks is credited by the Historical Society for the start of the Memorials on Black Creek. He enlisted the assistance of M.B. McCartney, Tom Cross, Lloyd McMahan and C.L. Manderson who gave the Sansom marker, the planting, the long cement walk, and all improvements as the area now stands.

Other members of the committee who contributed in time and thought to the success of the undertaking were Mrs. Hazel Oliver; Rodney Copeland and Mrs. Copeland, Mrs. Mary Harrison Lister, Mrs. W A. Leach, Marvin Small, W.O. Briscoe and George Floyd.
At the same time that plans for the Emma Sansom marker were underway the student council of Emma Sansom High School decided to place a memorial for Robert Turner, one of Forrest's cavalry, killed at the crossing that brought fame to Emma Sansom. The student's marker was dedicated and unveiled at the same time as the Sansom marker and was paid for out of the student's own funds.

It was at this time that those interested realized fully the need of an organization for research, and especially for maintaining memorials. So with the marker committee as a nucleus Etowah Historical Society came into being, and is carrying on a very worthwhile work. Each month an original paper is read before the group, a copy reserved in their own archives, and a copy placed in the Gadsden public library. When it is possible to procure them, pictures accompany these papers and already valuable information is preserved, that otherwise might have been lost. Gathering about them a loyal and unselfish group, the founders of the society have splendid plans for it's future growth, and service to Gadsden and Etowah County.

Members of the Etowah County Historical Society gather at Mrs. Lister's for the festive Christmas Party in 1954. Seated, front row: Mrs. Lister; Miss Lena Martin, R.H. Copeland, president: Mrs. Copeland, Mrs. W. O. Briscoe; Mrs. Hazel Oliver, secretary and treasurer; Mrs. W. A. Leach; Mrs. Frances Underwood. Standing: Mrs. Pete Butler; Mrs. Tom Sansom; Mrs. Russell Hooks, Mrs. Elbert Watson, George Floyd, the Rev. Elbert Watson, W. O. Briscoe, vice president; Mrs. William C. Tolbert (Glencoe),Mrs. C. L. Mander son, and 'Mr s. Glenn Sedam. Back row: Marvin Small, Tom Sansom, Russell Hooks, Glenn Sedam, Pete Butler, C. L. Manderson, and William C. Tolbert. Notice Mr. Floyd's hand on my arm.

 

 

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From the 50th Anniversary book

Etowah Historical Society - 1954 - 2004
How Does A Historical Society Begin?

An interview with Hazel Oliver By Patsy Hanvey

The Etowah Historical Society began with the success of the Black Creek Committee. From the work this committee did, Mrs. Mary Harrison Lister realized, what the county needed was a historical society and the marker committee was again called on. This time to discuss the creation of a historical society and from the nucleus of this committee the Etowah Historical Society came into being.

The marker committee, along with others interested in history, met at the Oliver home on Walnut Street. The decision was made and plans were laid for a constitution and bylaws be drawn up with the intention of a group that would last, and last they have!

In April of 1954, the Etowah Historical Society was officially organized and came into being in the home of Mrs. Mary Harrison Lister, Aloha Lodge, Harts Avenue, Gadsden, Alabama.

When it was formed our members met in each other's homes and we took turns with refreshment and programs just as we do today but times change and the historical society had growing pains. The last home our society met in was the home of Bob and Bette Sue McElroy in 1988.

We met at the Howard Gardner Nichols Memorial Library in Alabama City for five years (1988-1993). The Lena Martin Room in our Gadsden public library was our home a number of years afterward. And now have our own home that we moved into this, our 50th birthday. This is where we present our papers, have our refreshments, see old friends and talk about the history of our county. The Society meets on the second Friday of every month and has done so since it's beginning in 1954.

To our knowledge, we are the oldest continual meeting historical society in the State of Alabama, most historical societies don't make it past 25 years. Our State Historical Association is only seven years older. We are a society that is very proud of our organization and important place it holds in our community.

Our Constitution and our by-laws were put together in such a way that even when disagree, we move forward. They are like we are as historians. We can change our minds, we don't unless we are given a very good reason for doing so, Then we vote.

When we are asked, as historians, what kind of history we are searching for. We answer anything and everything that pertains to this county first, then to our state. Both our county our state have played a large roll in shaping the history of our nation but we try to document county first. A lot of history was made here, in every direction and every time period. And do we know this, because someone took the time to write it down and date it. All history is important.

The members of a historical society make a difference. We record the past for the future When people need to know certain things, they go to the library, because in research book someone took the time to write things down. And if the information they are looking for is local they go the local historical society because no one knows our backyard, better than we do, that is true of every historical society where it is county, state, or national, ask the historian.

In our society members present original papers each month pertaining to our local history.

Many interesting and informative papers have been given over the years. We specialize in the history of Etowah County. One copy of each is placed in our own archives and another copy in the Gadsden Public Library. But we do more than just present papers each month.

One of the first things our society did was to repair the Emma Sansom monument at the end of Broad Street. Someone had broken Emma's finger off that had pointed way across Black Creek for General Nathan Bedford Forrest and his men. Mr. Marvin Small was in charge of this undertaking and the cost to the historical society was around one hundred and seventy-five dollars.

Ten Years ago on our 40th birthday, Woodrow Dawson, Ed Lewis, Patsy Hanvey., Hazel Oliver and Eloise Robison, working as the anniversary committee, and dubbed The "Strawberry Gang," put together a 54 page book called, "The Etowah Historical Society, Fortieth Birthday 1954-1994." With information on the Etowah Historical Society and it's members, who we are and what we do.

It is hard to believe that 50 years have passed since our founding, In recording it, one thinks of so may things that have happened over the years, important things that have happened, our members, past and present, and the uniqueness of each one.
 


CHARTER MEMBERS ETOWAH HISTORICAL SOCIETY 1954
 

MARY HARRISON LISTER

LENA MARTIN MR. AND MRS. R. H.. COPELAND

HAZEL OLIVER

MRS. W. A. LEACH

FRANCES UNDERWOOD

MR. AND MRS. PETE BUTLER

MR. AND MRS. TOM SANSOM

MR. AND MRS. RUSSELL HOOKS

MR. AND MRS. GLEN SEDAM

MR. AND MRS. C. L. MANDERSON

MR. AND MRS. W. C. TOLBERT

ELBERT AND ROMONA WATSON

GEORGE FLOYD

SARA ELIZABETH MASON

MR AND MRS. LLOYD MCMAHAN
MR. AND MRS. RAY COX

MR. AND MRS. THOMAS CROSS

MR. AND MRS. W. O. BRISCOE

MRS. B. LINEBARGER

 

PRESIDENTS OF THE ETOWAH HISTORICAL SOCIETY

* 1954 Rodney H. Copeland   - W.O. Briscoe
* 1955 C.L. Manderson
* 1956 Russell Hooks
* 1957 Glenn Sedam   - George W. Floyd
   1958 Elbert Watson
* 1959 Leslie King
* 1960 Dewitt Robison
* 1961 Jerry Jones
* 1962 Talmadge Robison
* 1963 Dr. E.M. Linsey
* 1964 Jeffa P. Hill
* 1965 James F. Robertson
* 1966 Joe Barnes
* 1967 J.W. Hawkins
* 1968 Dewitt Robison
* 1969 Gordon Miller
* 1970 Joe Barnes
* 1971 J. R. Davis
* 1972 Talmadge Robison
* 1973 Eugene Camp
* 1974 Eugene Camp
* 1975 Jeffa Hill
* 1976 Jeffa Hill
* 1977 Gene Camp
* 1978 Gordon Miller
* 1979 Gordon Miller
* 1980 Tom Parker
* 1981 Gary Mills
* 1982 Gary Mills    - Woodrow Dawson
* 1983 Woodrow Dawson
* 1984 Bill Studdard    - Woodrow Dawson
* 1985 James W. Hanvey "Pete"
* 1986 James W. Hanvey "Pete"
* 1987 James W. Hanvey "Pete"    - Woodrow Dawson
* 1988 James B. Waid
* 1989 James B. Waid
* 1990 Ralph Mackey
* 1991 Ralph Mackey
   1992 Ben Reed
   1993 Bette Sue McElroy
   1994 Ben Reed
   1995 Marvin Kelly
   1996 W.A. Lewis
* 1997 Fred Nicholson
* 1998 Ralph Mackey
* 1999 Ralph Mackey
   2000 W.A. Lewis
   2001 Helen Ennis
   2002 Helen Ennis
   2003 Betty McCoy
   2004 Betty McCoy
   2005 Betty McCoy
   2006 Richmond Hammond
   2007 Danny K. Crownover
   2008 Danny K. Crownover
   2009 Danny K. Crownover
   2010 Danny K. Crownover
   2011 Danny K. Crownover
   2012 Danny K. Crownover

 


* Deceased             - Served Out Unfinished Term

 

 

 

 

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E

H

S

ducational Programs- Presentations of historical interest. Current programs of history in the making.

istorical Markers - Markings of historical homes, cemeteries, schools, rivers, trails, public buildings

ignificant Preservations - Preservation of historical buildings, homes & landmarks

 

 

The Etowah

Historical Society

 P.O. Box 8131

Gadsden, AL 35902

(Physical address at

2829 W. Meighan Blvd.)

 

Danny Crownover

President

 

E-mail:

 

 

Officers & Board Members

President ...........................Danny Crownover

1st Vice President ..................Traci Pondick

2nd Vice President ............Sharyon Ramsey

Recording Secretary ...................Joan Mims

Corresponding Secretary ..Molly Cheatwood

Treasurer ............................Gorden Maddox

Historian .................................Patsy Hanvey

Devotional .................................W.A. Lewis

 

 

NOTICE

The Society meets every 2nd Friday night each month at Elliott Community Center, corner of 29th Street & Meighan Blvd. at 6:00pm.

Each month we have an enjoyable presentation and refreshments.

Come and enjoy!!!

 

Total visitors since 11/1/09

 

 

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