HISTORY OF CCHGA
Submitted by Jim Allen
The Cheatham County Historical and Genealogical Association (CCHGA) was created as a result of the Economic Community Development Program in the County. Ms. Thelma Heflin attended a meeting of the ECDP in 1993 and early 1994 where it was determined by that group that a historical society within the county would be an asset toward the county’s attempt to gain Three Star status from the state of Tennessee which would enhance The county’s standing and receive favorable assistance in its development by the state. Ms. Heflin volunteered to attempt to establish such a society as well as a gardening club within the county.
Attempts by Ms. Heflin met with little success in the beginning until Jim Allen called her and expressed an interest in February or March of 1994. Discussion between Ms. Heflin and Mr. Allen resulted in the calling of a meeting in April 1994 which was advertised in “The Ashland City Times”.
The meeting was held in the Lillamay community on 17 April 1994 with five individuals in attendance - Thelma Heflin, Jim Allen, Mary Grey Jenkins, Betty Cannon and Sherri Hill. Conversations held indicated that a previous historical society had ceased to exist in 1983 due to lack of interest. Discussion regarding reviving that organization proved to be excessively expensive due to requirements of the state that it would be necessary to pay state fees for back years from 1983 to 1994. Consequently, it was decided that it would be less costly to establish a new organization. Since the title of the previous organization was already The Cheatham county Historical Society, it was decided to add the phrase ‘genealogical’ and call it an Association - thus CCHGA was born.
One of the individuals present, Mrs. Betty Cannon, was the Treasurer of the previous organization. She indicated that there were funds till held by her belonging to that organization that might be utilized to form the new association and it was decided to do so. Consequently a set of by-laws was written up and a charter of incorporation was requested and received from the state. Later on a request was submitted to the IRS for non-profit status.
The by-laws (authored by Jim Allen and approved by the membership and later amended and approved by the membership) indicated that the objective of CCHGA was to instill a sense of pride in the history and heritage of the county and to work toward the establishment of a County Museum. Four of the original five (Sherri Hill dropped out due to overwhelming work obligations), by authority of the by-laws became the Board of Directors of CCHGA.
These four worked diligently toward obtaining non-profit status under the IRS, gaining recognition within the county for CCHGA and obtaining several grants from the state, county, private individuals and organizations. The membership grew and CCHGA became involved in local activities such as participation in setting up booths at local events across the county and raising funds through gaining membership, conducting yards sales and the sale of items such as prints by local artists, cakes and pies, etc..
Later on and realizing and recognizing the uniqueness the various communities within the county, it was decided to form subsidiary organizations within the communities as part of CCHGA. Those bodies that expressed an interest in a chapter of their own were allowed to come under the umbrella of CCHGA’s non-profit status. It was established by changes to the by-laws that these organizations would hold separate meetings on their own and meet monthly at a meeting of the overall organization. The separate chapters were authorized to hold elections for a President, Treasurer and Secretary of their own as well as appointing other officers consistent with the parent organization policies. The by-laws indicated that CCHGA would recognize a chapter once its own by-laws, consistent with the aims and goals and dictates of the CCHGA were submitted and approved by CCHGA. Chapters have been established in the Pond Creek and Lillamay/Sam’s Creek (PALS) area, Kingston Springs, Pleasant View and Ashland City. Consistent with the by-laws of CCHGA the Presidents or Chairperson of the individual chapters become members of the Board of Directors during their tenure in office. Any past President of the overall CCHGA would be elevated to the Board status.
It was planned and envisioned that monthly meetings of CCHGA would be held, insofar as practicable, in different areas of the county. Initially, this was accomplished but lately has proved to be less than feasible as space has not always been found in the chapter areas to hold such monthly meetings. The by-laws allow that any member may attend another chapter’s meeting but would not be allowed to vote on matters relating to that chapter’s activities.
It was suggested in the original by-laws that since the primary purpose of CCHGA was to establish a museum in the county, a portion of all funds raised from activities be earmarked for the Museum Fund. An objection, raised by the Kingston Springs Chapter, resulted in a change of the by-laws to remove this suggestion. Consequently, at this time there is no provision for support by the Chapters of the Museum Fund. However, the majority of the Chapters still support the Museum Fund by designating a portion of their funds raised to the Museum Fund and some have, in the past, contributed all minus expenses. Some have designated portions of the funds raised go to the operation of the CCHGA office and activities directly related to fund raising by CCHGA such as the purchase of items for resale like T Shirts with the Cheatham County Flag on it, prints of local artist’s rendition of local historical sites for resale and other items and paraphernalia. From funds collected for dues, a portion equal to 25% is returned annually to the chapters for membership and new members with the exception of life time membership which is paid on a one time basis only. From the remaining 75%, the office is operated as well as the publication and mailing of the monthly newsletter “CCHGA BYTES”.
The Board of Directors' responsibilities, as with any organization is to ensure the proper administration of the organization to include assurances that funds derived from its activities are handled with sound and proper judgment.
Board of Directors’ meetings are open to the membership and the membership is allowed to voice opinions and proposals at those meetings in an open forum at the commencement of the meeting. The Board then takes into consideration any remarks, proposals, comments or ideas in its deliberations and either votes on the same or delays such vote until further study can be accomplished.
CCHGA held an organizational meeting at the Ashland City Hall on 5 May 1994.
CCHGA commenced to ask for items for a Museum be donated as early as September 1994.
In October of '94 CCHGA opened a small museum in a display case in the Cheatham County Courthouse.
In November '94 researched the possibility of walking tours and bus tours for the Tennessee Bicentennial year - A pamphlet on Historic Tour Sites in the County was published by Jim Allen. In February '95 CCHGA volunteered to assist the County in establishing Archives.
In April '95 CCHGA started a contest for the design of a Cheatham County Flag and Seal.
In May '95 had a state historic marker placed at the courthouse.
July '95 The design submitted by W. R. (Bill) Baker was adopted as the county flag.
Martha Milam of the Henrietta community and a CCHGA member, at the time, made the first county flag to be flown over the courthouse.
July '95 CCHGA participated in the 4th of July celebration at Pegram and the Spring Fling at Kingston Springs.
August '95 CCHGA gained tax exempt/non-profit status from IRS.
September '95 Anita Goldtrap Johnson, a member, donated prints of Sydney's Bluff and the old Cumberland River Bridge to CCHGA for sale as a fund raiser.
January '96 Commenced work on restoration of county records for the Archives assisted by members of the Genealogy Society of Utah.
May '96 CCHGA conducted a Garden Tour in the Ashland City area with funds going to the Museum Fund.
May '96 The Kingston Springs Chapter was formed.
July '96 CCHGA participated in Sycamore Valley Days function at River Bluff Park in Ashland City.
July '96 Member Jim Allen designated as Bicentennial Volunteer of the Year by Cheatham Chamber of Commerce.
August '96 PALS Chapter formed in the Pond Creek and Lillamay/Sams Creek area.
October '96 CCHGA received a grant from State Representative Mike Williams of $5,000.00 for the Museum Fund.
December '96 conducted a home tour in Neptune/Cheap Hill area. The Kingston Springs chapter held one also.
January '97 Received a $1000.00 donation from Wal Mart.
February '97 Pleasant View Chapter formed.
June '97 Received a donation of $653.50 from The Ashland City Times.
August '97 Ashland City Chapter formed
June - November '97 Worked extensively on the county records for the Archives.
December '97 PALS Chapter hosted a Christmas Home Tour in their area with proceeds fewer expenses donated to CCHGA.
December '97 Received a donation of WWII items for the Museum from William and Frances Shearron.
January '98 CCHGA received a donation of 200 shares of Southern Company stock from Member Edna Duke of Florida.
1998 Work continued on the Archives.
September '99 Started work on the Family History Book, brochure mailed November 6 with a deadline for submissions by Jan 31 2000.
February, 2000 Deadline extended to mid April for book submissions.
December 2000 Ashland City Chapter conducted Christmas Home Tour in Ashland City area with proceeds less expenses donated to CCHGA.
April 2001 Historical Marker placed at Pleasant View.
December 2001 Christmas Home Tour conducted by Ashland City Chapter with all receipts less expenses donated to CCHGA.
December 2001 The Family History Book came out - copies are still available at the CCHGA Office at $65.00 + $6.00 S&H if mailed.
April 2002 PALS Chapter conducted "Spring Into The Past" event at a church on Sam's Creek.
May-June 2002 CCHGA Office moved from the basement of the old library in Ashland City to the Annex Building behind the County Courthouse - former location of the Cheatham County Health Department. Entrance is from Frey Street (Highway 49).
To be continued
The foregoing is by no means an all inclusive diary or ledger of the complete activities of the Cheatham County Historical and Genealogical Association nor is it intended as such. It is presented here in order to give the viewer an idea of the ongoing activities and involvement of CCHGA in the everyday life of Cheatham County.