Georgia Civil War Commission
Quarterly Meeting Minutes
Saturday, May 13, 2017
Chairman John Culpepper called the meeting to order at 1:07 on May 13, 2017 at Nash Farm Battlefield Museum in Henry County, Georgia. Commissioners present were John Culpepper, Kelly Barrow, Ken Griffiths, Karen Ledford, Brain Wills, James Yancey, Curt Collier, Ted Brooke, and Inger Eberhart. Commissioners not present were John Carroll, Edward Shelor, Charlie Lott, and Rusty Henderson. Cassie Barrow, Chief of Staff, was present. Members of the audience consisted of numerous guests; however, the signup sheet was only signed by the Grover family and Henry County District 2 Commissioner Dee Clemmons.
Chairman Culpepper announced that the meeting had been sent to the local newspaper, as well as posted on social media and at the location; therefore, complying with the Sunshine Law.
Commissioner Barrow opened the meeting in prayer, while Commissioner Collier led everyone in the pledge to the United States and Commissioner Wills led the pledge to the Georgia flag.
At this point, Chairman Culpepper requested for each of the Commissioners present to introduce themselves. Following this, the members of the audience were asked to introduce themselves and the group he/she was representing.
A quorum was established by Chairman Culpepper, allowing for the meeting to be considered legal.
Chairman Culpepper requested for a motion to amend the agenda to add item number 21 – Fiscal Year 2017 Amended Budget. Commissioner Brooke made this motion and Commissioner Griffiths seconded it; motion carried. Chairman Culpepper then asked for a motion to approve the agenda with changes. Commissioner Collier made the motion to approve the amended agenda and Commissioner Barrow seconded; motion carried. Amended agenda is attached to the minutes.
Chairman Culpepper recognized Chief of Staff Barrow, asking her to come forward to oversee the presentation of the awards for the 2016-17 Art and Essay Contests. In addition to Chairman Culpepper, Henry County District 2 Commissioner Dee Clemmons was asked to come forward to help hand out the awards. The following list are the winners of these contests. Georgia’s Common Civil War Soldier Art Contest K-3rd grade: 1st Oiram Recending of Fair Oaks Elementary; 2nd Caroline Rogers of Fern Bank; 3rd Allison Quijada of Fair Oaks Elementary. Art Contest 4-6th grade: 1st Ava Gotto of Marshpoint; 2nd Jacie Lee Campbell of Jeff Davis; 3rd Grady Sanders of Stephens County Middle. Georgia’s Civil War Diarist Essay Contest 6th-8thgrade: 1st David King of Artios Academies of South Atlanta; 2nd Abby Mize of Griffin Middle; 3rd Katherine Stanek of Griffin Middle. Essay contest 9th-12th grade: 1st Hunter Schell of Thomson High. Those in attendance were the Grover family, King Family, and Rogers family. The winners were presented with their respective monetary award, as well as a booklet of winning essays, a set of notecards with the winning artwork showcased, “Georgia’s Confederate Counties” booklet, Resolution from Georgia House recognizing the winners, and many other small items. After the presentations were made, Chairman Culpepper called for a 20-minute recess to allow Commissioners to meet with the guests and for everyone to enjoy the refreshments provided.
The meeting was reconvened by Chairman Culpepper at 1:54. Chairman Culpepper reminded everyone the minutes from the March Quarterly Meeting were emailed to each Commissioner for review prior to this meeting. Clerical changes were sent to Chief of Staff Barrow and made prior to the meeting. Commissioner Wills made a motion to accept the minutes with clerical errors corrected; Commissioner Collier seconded.
2016-17 financial report was read by Chief of Staff Barrow; the report is attached. Chairman Culpepper began a discussion to change the allotted amounts on the budgeted line items to reflect the actual expense of that item for the fiscal year. It was decided to table this to the end of the meeting to be able to determine the correct amounts needed.
At this time, Chairman Culpepper asked if anyone in the audience had anything they would like to bring before the Commission that was not on the agenda. There was no business brought before the Commission.
Under Old Business: Chairman Culpepper recognized Chief of Staff Barrow to discuss the latest correspondence from Brad Quinlin in reference to the Stiles/ Aiken Camp # 670 Sons of Confederate Veterans (SCV) funding request of $500 that was approved at the last meeting. Mr. Quinlin had contacted Chief of Staff Barrow stating that the funding had been obtained from another source and would not be submitting receipts for reimbursement for his expenses in obtaining the Stout records from Texas.
Chairman Culpepper then recognized Chief of Staff Barrow to discuss the status of the Southeastern Homeschool Expo that the Commission agreed to participant with in order to give the information about the essay and art contest to homeschoolers. Chief of Staff Barrow discussed that a table at this Friday and Saturday event has been rented. She is currently working on the freebie type items that would be given to the families that visited the table. Currently, she has reordered the rack cards, which can also be given to visitor centers around the state, and the “Georgia’s Confederate Counties” booklet the Commission published. Both items, as well as the reprinted Centennial posters, printed booklet of essay winners from 2016-17, and the 2016-17 art contest greeting cards, will be given away at the booth. Chief of Staff Barrow is working on either pencils or pens, depending on the overall cost. For the daily drawing, she was creating a basket with items donated by the Julia Jackson No. 1 Children of the Confederacy, items purchased from Nash Farm Battlefield Museum, as well as other items she could obtain within her budget. She reminded the Commissioner that wanted to attend to take advantage of the free entry fee that she had forwarded to each of them. She would setup on Thurs afternoon in the designated time frame. She would be at the Cobb County Convention Center from 9am to 9pm on Friday, and from 9am to 5pm on Saturday. She would have to break down the booth after 5 on Saturday. Chief of Staff Barrow’s mother, Priscilla Russell, was willing to help so that at least one person was at the booth always. Commissioner Collier made a motion to pay Mrs. Russell’s food expenses due to the fact she was helping at the Southeastern Homeschool Expo; Commissioner Eberhart seconded the motion that carried.
Chairman Culpepper asked Chief of Staff Barrow to give a status report from the committee researching if the field trip assistance program, like the one the Civil War Trust has, would be beneficial for the Commission. Chief of Staff Barrow reminded the Commissioners this would be a scholarship program for teachers to request up to $250 to go towards a fieldtrip dealing with Georgia’s Civil War history. The committee decided that if the Commission was interested in this, only 4 scholarships would be given a year. The Commissioners were still unsure if this project would be viable and worthy of the time that it may require. Chief of Staff Barrow was asked to continue to work on the details with the committee. Commissioner Collier made a motion to give Chairman Culpepper the authority to approve this project prior to the Southeastern Homeschool Expo if the committee felt it should move forward; Commissioner Eberhart seconded the motion that carried.
Chairman Culpepper then asked Commissioner Barrow to give a report on April’s Confederate History Month Proclamation. Commissioner Barrow reminded the Commissioners that he had submitted the proclamation on Col John Pemberton, inventor of Coca-Cola, to the Governor’s office as in the past. He contacted proclamation department of Governor Deal’s office to see about status, but never heard anything from them. On May 4, 2017, Commissioner Barrow received the April “Civil War History” proclamation that was rewritten and did not proclaim Confederate History Month. Commissioner Barrow read the proclamation, which is attached to the minutes.
Chairman Culpepper read the BATL thank you note for the assistance in refurbishing the McPhereson and Walker monuments in Atlanta. Letter is attached to the minutes.
Under New Business, Chairman Culpepper allowed Mrs. Jean Parker, President of the James Longstreet United Daughters of the Confederacy Chapter to present their funding request to help repair the Longstreet monument near a bridge in Gainesville. It appears that over time the bar and bench that were original to the monument are missing. The monument has to be removed while Georgia Department of Transportation does repairs to the bridge, offering an ideal opportunity for this UDC chapter to make needed restorations. There is still question if the bench will be added or not. The Georgia Division United Daughters of the Confederacy has not contributed any money to the project, but has made requests as to what is or is not done with this project. This UDC chapter has not made any other funds request at the time of presentation. Much discussion about the details of the project ensued. Commissioner Barrow made the motion to approve the James Longstreet Chapter the $1,000 requested, with the caveat that the money must be used on this project by June of 2018 or a report as to the status of the project and why more time is needed is given to the Commission. Commissioner Collier seconded the motion that carried. Commissioner Ledford abstained from the vote since she is a member of this UDC chapter.
Chairman Culpepper asked Commissioner Barrow about the Georgia Military Institute interpretative marker. Commissioner Barrow stated that the marker will focus on the cadets that fought in the Battle of Resaca. He read the verbiage to the other Commissioners. Since no previous copy had been sent to the Commissioners and no permission has been obtained from the Friends of Resaca, this marker was tabled and placed as a consideration for the 2017-18 budget.
Chairman Culpepper presented his interpretative marker on the Battle of Mattox-Ship’s Gap. Lee White, park ranger at the Chattanooga National Military Park, wrote the sign and will be placed in Walker County, Georgia. This sign is about the actions at Taylor’s Ridge to Ship’s Gap. Commissioner Wills made a motion to approve the sign, subject to editing and grammar review by Chief of Staff Barrow; Commissioner Griffiths seconded the motion that passed.
Chairman Culpepper then went back to the 2016-17 budget to finalize the details. It was agreed to increase the amount available from $25,000 to $29,950. The final budgeted amount for the 2016-17 budget is as follows: Meals/ Lodgings/ Travel $2,500; Supplies/ Bank Charges $2,750; Website $1,200; Misc $0; Projects $23,500. It was agreed that the money given to the James Longstreet UDC would be in the 2016-17 fiscal year, as well as majority of the expenses pertaining to the Southeastern Homeschool Expo and the Boynton and Hughes interpretative signs that were approved at the previous meeting. The final accounting of the 2016-2017 fiscal year is attached to the minutes.
Next on the agenda was the 2017-18 budget. Chairman Culpepper stated that more line items needed to be created so that it would help in seeing how the monies were spent. It was decided that Homeschool Expo, Contests, and Financial Assistance were what was required. In addition, the Commissioner agreed that only $5,000 would be budgeted to assist other projects not sponsored by the Commission. This would allow the Commission to help worthy projects, but still be able to fund projects they desired to implement. In addition to that, Commissioner Wills made a motion that all funding requests must have matching financial assistance, with a cap of $1,000 per request. Commissioner Griffiths seconded this motion that passed unanimously. Commissioner Griffiths made a motion to adopt the Commission’s 2016-17 Amended Budget and the 2017-18 budget, attached to the minutes, and Commissioner Collier seconded the motion that carried.
Chairman Culpepper asked that each Commissioner make sure that Chief of Staff Barrow had a picture for the website. Currently every Commissioner does not have a picture because it looked so bad with only a few with images. Commissioner Yancey stated he would take pictures of those present at the meeting and send them to Chief of Staff Barrow.
At this time, each Commissioner had the opportunity now to bring something before the Commission. Commissioner Griffiths shared that he had been working with Dr. Gordon Jones with the new Cyclorama exhibit. He was excited about what he was witnessing unfold.
Commissioner Yancey stated he was excited to see so many young and new faces at this meeting. He expressed that the contests were an excellent way to get the young people involved.
Commissioner Brooke shared that he was resigning his commission so that he could spend more time with his grandchildren. He was honored to serve with everyone and loved the positive attitude that every Commissioner had. Chairman Culpepper wished him the best of luck on behalf of the Commission and stated he understood his position.
Chairman Culpepper addressed the vacancies that the Governor and Speaker of the House had to date not filled. Commissioner Griffiths had submitted two individuals to Governor Deal’s office, and Chairman Culpepper had submitted one. Chairman Culpepper will submit to Lt. Governor Cagle two recommendations, one to replace Commissioner Brooks and one to replace one of his appointees who has not attended many meeting. None have been submitted to the Speaker Ralston, but Chairman Culpepper encouraged Commissioners to do so. At this time, the vacancies and inactive members make it difficult to obtain a quorum needed for an official business meeting. It was agreed that the Commission needed members that were willing to fulfill their appointment by attending Quarterly Meetings on a regular basis.
Commissioner Barrow stated that the Commission needed to work to bring awareness to all that is accomplished. He applauded the Commission for the symposium, contest, expos, etc, but that the Georgia General Assembly needed to be made aware of the work. He encouraged the GPS and information on every interpretative marker that has been placed, a ceremony for each marker installed, press releases needed to be sent to the media, and politicians needed to be invited when possible. There needed to be a way the Commission could put their endeavors in front of the public besides FaceBook. He recommended a newsletter, as well as the Annual Report to be sent to the Governor, Lt. Governor, Speaker of the House, as well as key players that have assisted the Commission. Chairman Culpepper agreed with this idea, while Chief of Staff Barrow stated that it may be impossible for her to do with the other projects that are on her plate. Commissioner Eberhart stated she would pursue these ideas and see what she could develop for the Commission.
In addition to this, Commissioner Barrow informed the other members about the Georgia Trust that was seeking places in peril. He presented the application process and encouraged each Commissioner to find a location in their area that may fit the criteria.
Commissioner Collier said he was impressed with the contest and agreed with Commissioner Yancey that this was an excellent way to get the young people involved. He shared that he spoke in February and March to the Jackson County Schools about Georgia history and saw a need that needs to be filled. He applauded that the Commission was participating in the Southeastern Homeschool Expo, and felt that a focus on the homeschoolers was imperative.
Commissioner Wills reminded the Commissioners about the Vince Dooley Leadership on June 17, 2017. Craig Simmons and he will be the keynote speakers, with a focus on the leadership during D-Day and in the Civil War. Students are free, adults are $5 each and can pay at the door.
Also, the Third Annual Collectors Showcase will be July 22, 2017. Many rare items will be able to be viewed up-close. Commissioner Wills is encouraging children to attend and stressed that all children are free. He encouraged every Commissioner to share these two events.
Tentatively, the next Quarterly Meeting was scheduled for August 12, 2017 at 1:00 at Nash Farm Battlefield Museum. Chairman Culpepper asked for a motion to adjourn. Commissioner Griffith made the motion that Commissioner Eberhart seconded.
Respectfully submitted by Cassie Barrow, Chief of Staff
Georgia Civil War Commission