ELIZABETHTOWN — A local group of historians gathered Thursday and took the first step at reviving the Bladen County Historical Society, which has laid dormant since August 2015.
Lewis Smith, widely known for his in-depth knowledge of local history and former president of the organization, spearheaded the effort to bring the group back to life.
“It’s my goal to get those truly interested in our history together,” he said. “No bickering or squabbling — this is supposed to be an enjoyable experience.”
Along with Lewis, another eight individuals — most involved with other historical organizations in the county and some who had been members of the previous Historical Society — met at the Bladen County Public Library’s main branch to get the ball rolling.
First up on the agenda for the group was the election of officers.
Smith was unanimously chosen as the organization’s president, followed by Mick Robeson as vice president; Linda Rivenbark as secretary; and Laurie Smith as treasurer.
The Bladen County Historical Society waned shortly after a vote in January 2015 that separated it from the Harmony Hall Plantation Committee, and finally dissolved several months later. At the time of that vote, the combined monetary assets of the groups were approximately$22,500 — which was quickly dispersed.
“I made the motion to give Harmony Hall $18,500 and I believe we have between $4,000 and $5,000 to start out with,” Smith told the group.
On Thursday, the Historical Society made plans to begin rebuilding its membership, deciding to keep yearly due at $10 and requiring that only paid members will be allowed to vote on issues.
The group will also look into getting the keys for the Historical Society room at the Bladen County Courthouse; purchase a post office box for mail; request the return of the old meeting minutes and organization’s checkbook; and take a look at the by-laws to determine if changes will be necessary.
Smith also had one other area of importance on his mind.
“My main concern is selling books,” he said. “We’ve had a lot of requests for those books and we’ve probably burned the bridge at Bladen Office Supply, where we used to sell the books.
“But we’ll start repairing those areas and get back on track,” he added. “It’s just going to take some time.”
The group voted to meet on the second Tuesday of every month at the library, setting the next meeting for March 13 at 7 p.m.
W. Curt Vincent can be reached at 910-862-4163 or firstname.lastname@example.org.