Historical Society reorganizes, embarks on establishing county history museum

ELIZABETHTOWN — The Bladen County Historical Society held its re-organizational meeting on Tuesday in the Bladen County Public Library and elected new officers for the first time since the group’s split from the Harmony Hall Plantation Committee.

Both Seth Lewis and Tony Parnell were nominated for the position of president, but Lewis declined the nomination and Parnell was elected to the position. Erin Smith was elected vice-president, Sunday Allen was elected secretary and Lewis was elected treasurer.

After the new officers were elected, Parnell handed a check in the amount of $5,000 to Lewis. Parnell told those present the check is last one in the division of funds between Harmony Hall Plantation Village, Inc. and the Bladen County Historical Society.

Lewis made a motion on the signs on the room in the Bladen County Courthouse which is dedicated to the Bladen County Historical Society be changed to read Bladen County History Museum and Historical Society and said room be developed for a museum. Lewis also requested the key for the room remain with the Historical Society’s president for the next six months. The motion passed unanimously.

It was also established that the hours of operation for the museum should be on Friday between the hours of 2 and 4 p.m. as volunteers are available to staff the room.

It was also discussed and approved that the name Harmony Hall can be spoken in any capacity deemed appropriate at any Historical Society meeting.

Bobby Lewis requested the Historical Society donate $500 to assist with the Battle of Elizabethtown. He explained to those in attendance the money would be used towards the expenses for people who are traveling to Elizabethtown to assist with the re-enactment, insurance and the purchase of ammunition for the event.

“The town can no longer carry insurance on the event,” said Parnell.

Historical Society member Maureen Bell asked about the donation from Four County Electric. Seth Lewis responded that it costs about $5,000 to put on the Battle of Elizabethtown and the donation from Four County Electric goes to the Harmony Hall Plantation Village treasury to be dispersed for the event.

Bobby Lewis told the group there has also been some interest expressed in creating a countywide museum. He added that there has been a suggestion made that a display be placed in the Cape Fear Farmer’s Market in downtown Elizabethtown. Judy Elkins suggested getting other county groups such as the Daughters of American Revolution involved. The consensus was to explore inviting other groups to take part in establishing a county history museum to share information and historical artifacts.

Parnell also updated the members on his visit with the folks at Moores Creek National Battlefield.

“Mr. (Matthew) Woods agreed to work with me to get grants for uniforms, etc.,” said Parnell.

He also told the group that Moores Creek had items such as tents and cook ware the group can borrow for the re-enactment, but they must be returned.

It was also approved that the Historical Society begin an address book for friends and members to keep them updated on Historical Society events and news.

Historical Society member Lewis Smith suffered a medical emergency at the end of the meeting and was transported to Bladen County Hospital by Bladen County EMS. He was later transferred to Cape Fear Valley Medical Center in Fayetteville.

Staff report