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Surry County, Virginia, Historical Society and Museums, Inc.
P. O. Box 262, Surry, VA 23883   Phone (757) 294-0404
E-mail address: surryhistoricalsociety@gmail.com.
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The Surry County, Virginia, Historical Society and Museums, Inc.
President's report for the March 13, 2000 meeting.

Welcome to our March meeting. It's hard to believe that we will soon be two years old. So much has happened that it seems a blur at times. We have about 365 members, and we mailed 417 newsletters, including members, friends, speakers, and prospective members. Eighty were mailed out of state.

As we approach two years of age, we are preparing for election of officers and board members at our next general meeting. Lilly Fields has been appointed as head of the nominating committee. The nominating committee will report the slate to our April board meeting and it will be announced in our next newsletter. Present officers and board members are eligible for reelection. Additional nominees may be nominated from the floor in our May Annual meeting.

The board has approved our getting phone service in our office. We hope we can also get Internet service, to be able to search and download historical data from the libraries and museums around the world.

We desperately need more workers to man our office! We have collected an immense amount of information, and are woefully behind in logging it in. We cannot afford to let this get out of hand. Some could be taken home to organize and file. An example is the many newspaper clippings of family genealogy. Someone who could put them in file folders alphabetically and create a log of what we have is needed.

We still have to clean up and straighten up Rogers' Store. It's going to happen soon. We will have an open house for members by May. We have to re-plank the porch floor before it is safe. Going upstairs, without a railing is perilous. We have delayed any restoration until after we know whether we will receive a State Grant at the request of the Virginia Department of Historic Resources.

Our application for matching funds for the restoration of Rogers' Store has been a real learning experience. Special thanks are given to Wallace Edwards and Faye Savedge for their unending help. We did the best we could, and then we would think of something left undone. There were people we had not notified. Had we checked up on progress enough, or too much? There were things we should have put in our application, but did not think of. We should have had all our State and Federal elected officials on our mailing list since the beginning. The list goes on and on. I am not a politician, and don't think like one. I still don't understand the process of The Virginia General Assembly.

The Budget amendment was graciously entered by Delegate J. Paul Council Jr. in whose district the store resides. With the support of Delegate Barlow and others, it was approved by the House Budget Committee. The House subsequently approved the budget and our amendment, and sent it to the Senate along with all the many other amendments approved.

Despite great support by Senator Quayle, and many other friends in the senate, it was passed by and not put in the senate budget. The competition is fierce, the money is limited. Their budget had to be reconciled with the house budget.

Next, the budget committees of the Senate and House had to meet and reconcile their budgets. This group of legislators have to give and take and come to an agreed upon budget to send to the governor for his signature.

On Thursday, March 9, 2000, your president had a phone call from Anne Kitchen, legislative assistant to Delegate J. Paul Council Jr. The Budget approved by the Virginia Legislature and sent to the Governor for signature included the Matching grant for Rogers Store for $110,500.00!

Now, we must wait again. Will the governor sign the budget? Will there be another round of negotiation. We have discussed it with a member of the Governor's staff and hope he will sign it. Still, we cannot make any plans or start the restoration. It is not a done deed. In the budget sent the governor for his signature were approximately 244 grant requests for non state Agencies. They total $33,989,383.00. This does not include funds in another category for State agencies such as Chippokes State Parks. A copy of the non-state list is on the display table.

I will say it again: It is not a done deed! Even if approved, we must learn all of the rules and regulations, and meet them. It imposes a discipline, and a system which must be followed to the letter. All of this is to insure we end up with an authentic restoration, with accountability.

Of most importance, these are matching funds! To complete the restorations included in this grant, we need another $110,500.00! Some might come from federal grants, but most must be raised by members, friends and private foundations. Soon, whether the Governor signs the budget or not, we will approach our members, friends and foundations with interest in Surry County.

We have so much history, and we have started so late to preserve, publish, present and promote it. In addition to Rogers' Store, we need desperately a permanent office, archives, display areas, a showcase center at Surry Courthouse to present our history and our county to visitors, scholars and of most importance, our citizens. With the Tourism Bureau, the 2002 celebration of our 350th anniversary, the Chamber of Commerce, the Historical Society, and the 2007 celebration of the Jamestown Settlement coming up fast, it must be done! It will promote all of our great historic resources. Can we afford to sit still and not prepare for our rightful part in the year 2007 celebration of the Jamestown Settlement? It will be the greatest celebration in our lifetime. This is a certainty, if we, meaning the County, do not create our part in this celebration, no one else will. We will have little or no participation.

If we get the grant, great, it's a wonderful beginning. If we don't, we just keep on trying, harder and I hope, smarter.

For example, there is a federal program, the Surface Transportation Policy Project, called TEA-21. Historic properties are included as eligible if they tie into transportation. It is administered by the State Dept. of Transportation. In talking to them, there are precedents that country stores are eligible. Certainly the plans of The Dendron Historical Society should qualify.

Thank you, Jim Atkins

Postscript:

Grants are not just for bricks and mortar. Having reviewed the working papers of the Register of Free Negroes, which Dennis just talked about at the March meeting, I called the Virginia Foundation for the Humanities and Public Policy. Rev. M. 0. Young had left a flier from them in our office.

When I told them what we had, they had never seen or heard of such a file's existence. They literally insisted that we immediately apply for a grant to get them organized and available to the public. It's going to be a push, but we expect to apply for a grant within 30 days.

With the wealth of records in Surry County, I expect we will be doing this over and over. No county can approach what we have!

JEA


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