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.