Vandevender shares background on Historical Association


The Kemper County His­torical Association met on May 9, at the Historical Mu­seum. J. L. White the newly elected president, presided over the meeting. He thanked Cheryl Sparkman for her service as the previ­ous president and Larry Gibson’s seven years of service. Dorothy Bradford will continue as the treas­urer, Carolyn Palmer as the secretary, and Carolyn Smith as the vice president. Frances Brown will be going off the board of di­rectors. There will be an election to fill that position. White, also, thanked Larry and Grace Gibson for their service and keeping the museum clean and check­ing on the building. White has two goals for the His­torical Association this year: to make sure that Heritage Day is successful and to increase member­ship, especially trying to encourage younger mem­bers. Grace Gibson made a motion that was seconded for the association to again donate $100 to Relay for Life this year. This year’s event will be Saturday, June 4th at the McRae Center. Sparkman encour­aged everyone to get be­hind this year’s EMCC Lions’ baseball team. They have advanced to the Re­gional Tournament at Pearl River Community College. Everyone was asked to re­member the election that will be held on June 7th which is the Republican pri­mary for the House Repre­sentatives. There are three people running for this po­sition.

White, then, introduced the meeting’s special speaker, Debbie Van De­vender. She was a charter member of the Association and did much of the groundwork to put in mo­tion the association back in 1980. Van Devender was born and raised in Kemper County and served as a school counselor for many years. She along with the then librarian, Marjorie Block, put an ad in the Kemper County Messen­ger encouraging people to attend and help form a his­torical society for Kemper County. There was interest and the association began with 11 charter members. Van Devender received and still possesses a letter from Senator John C. Stennis thanking her for getting the association started. She ended her presentation by presenting a check for a lifetime membership to Bradford for her and her husband.

Grace Gibson presented Van Devender a bag full of items “historical” in nature that included a dozen eggs, a magazine, and sunscreen. Then, Gibson shared with the 22 people who at­tended the meeting several “show and tell” items which included a Hughes Telephone directory that was a commentative edi­tion celebrating the com­pany’s existence from 1911-1986; Harry Russell’s scrapbook from 1992; and an “electric” potato masher from 1967. Larry Gibson shared his auto­graphed copy of the Key Brothers historical flight bi­ography that was written by their mother. It was mentioned that the Key Brothers were born in Kem­per County.

The meeting adjourned after numerous door prizes were given by Grace Gib­son.              

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