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2015-2016 Activities

PRESIDENTS Annual Report

It has been another rewarding year for the Lower Altamaha Historical Society, highlighted by outstanding lecture programs, an active Board of Directors and increased use of the LAHS history archives. The mission of the LAHS to collect, preserve and disseminate the history of McIntosh County and the lower Altamaha River valley has been considerably furthered in the last year, following and adhering to the pattern established by the Society’s founding in 1979 by a group of local individuals who saw the wisdom of protecting and maintaining an ongoing connection to our region’s culture, history and ecology.

In the last year, we have further solidified our close partnership with the Fort King George Historic Site, as well as established a similar linkage with our nearby neighbor, the Hofwyl-Broadfield Historic Site across the Altamaha River. “Altamaha” is part of our name and therefore our focus on the history, culture and environmental aspects of the Altamaha River basin has been an integral part of our mission since William G. “Bill” Haynes suggested, with great acumen and foresight, the use of the river’s name as the bedrock of our organization and what it stands for. The “river” is what we are, and will continue to be. It is thus fitting that the LAHS maintain a close and productive affiliation with both Fort King George and Hofwyl, which are both uniquely situated astride the river and provide distinct aspects of education and interpretation for locals and visitors alike.

Similarly, our strong partnerships with The Ashantilly Center and the Friends of Sapelo have been expanded and amplified as reflected in joint programming and other initiatives.

The efforts of Jim Bruce and Yvonne Carter have made tracking our membership rolls and dues collection more efficient than ever before. Jim has upgraded the LAHS website to include useful tools such as the PayPal system by which members can pay their annual dues online and members and friends can order items from the LAHS booklist online. Carole Williams continues to provide her valuable services as the editor of our Altamaha Echoes newsletter for which we are continually grateful.

The annual Buddy Sullivan Scholarship of $1,000 to a deserving local graduating high school senior continues to help fulfill the implementation of our educational outreach initiative.  Jennifer Gale, McIntosh County Academy, was the 2016 recipient.

The LAHS Archives has benefited from the receipt of additional materials through donated books, and in particular, a useful set of historical research maps of Georgia provided by Dan Good. Linda Daniels has assumed oversight of the Archives volunteer program and we appreciate her efficiency in this regard. Also during the past year, the LAHS Board decided to streamline the operations of the Archives by which the facility is now open only on the third Thursday of each month, and by special appointment as necessary from individuals unable to utilize the facility on that day.

Harriet Roberson organized two highly interesting field trips for participating members, one to McRae to visit the home of former Georgia Governor Eugene Talmadge last fall, and this past spring a day trip to Sapelo Island. The Friends of Sapelo provided assistance for that event as well as helped arrange lunch at the Reynolds Mansion.

As your president I would like to especially thank our Board of Directors for its enthusiasm, support and efforts on behalf of the Society throughout the year. We continue to be in need of a permanent Program Chairman. In that respect, the Board extends to the general membership an invitation to make suggestions for speakers for future programs at our monthly meetings.

            Our lecture series, as always, had an array of outstanding speakers and presenters, including: August 2015, Steve Smith on the growth and development of the Massie Common School of Savannah as a prominent center of education; September, Harriet Langford, with a review of activities at Ashantilly, future initiatives and a discussion of William G. Haynes and his continuing legacy to the Altamaha region; October, Dr. William J. Morton on boundary surveyor Andrew Ellicott; November, Chris Milner, John Crawford and Buddy Sullivan made a joint presentation on the story of the timber raftsmen on the Altamaha; January 2016, Dr. Michael Morris spoke about the Southeastern Indians and their interaction with colonial traders; February, Valarie Ikhwan of Fort King George gave an update on educational and volunteer activities at the site as well as an overview of the colonial history of the fort; March, Buddy Sullivan reviewed the history of Sapelo through images and commentary; April, The Nature Conservancy staff provided an update on its various projects in the Altamaha River and environs; May, Jo Hickson discussed the Coastal Georgia Greenway bicycle trail and the efforts to raise public and private funding to continue the trail’s construction along the coast; June, Sudy Leavy provided a fascinating first-person perspective of the late Miss Ophelia Dent of Hofwyl-Broadfield, highlighting Miss Ophelia’s passion for protecting the Altamaha against development, dams and barge traffic.                                         

 Buddy Sullivan
 LAHS President