October 4th, 2002 the
family gathered for the first time at the home of Polly Prosser Dodson
in Shelbyville, TN. It was an informal meeting and everyone
to have enjoyed themselves. October 5th, 2002 the fun continued
The Hickory Hill Presbyterian Church in Bedford County, TN. We
Mr. Richard (Dick) Poplin spoke on the history of the area and was very informative about the beginning and settling of Tennessee, especially Middle Tennessee. Mr. Nick Fielder, the State of Tennessee Archealogist, gave a slide show along with a very informative speech on cemeteries and the preservation of them. He was able to share some of the legalities of getting to cemeteries when they are located on someone else's property. We broke for lunch. The program took back up after lunch with Sherry Finchum sharing with us her organizational skills along with the ins and outs of genealogy record keeping. She shared a lot of informative web sites. The last speaker of the day was Donna Prosser. She suggested that if we wanted to organize, now was a good time. By majority vote, the Prosser group assembled together became the "Chestnut Ridge Cousins". The officers were elected and now we are official. The officers are listed are as follows:
Vice President / Events Coordinator---Donna Prosser
Treasurer----------------------------------------Polly Prosser Dodson
Secretary----------------------------------------Kathy Rudd Tipper
Web Site Coordinator---------------------Sherry Sorrells Finchum
Event Historian/Photographer----------Lonnie Prosser
Newsletter Editor----------------------------Calvin Prosser
Cemetery Committee Chairman----------Joe Prosser
Cemetery Committee Assistant ---------Lynette Petty Lawrie
Carolyn Crowley recommended this slate of officers with the motion seconded, it was voted in. The organization voted to begin with a small petty cash start-up fund. Everyone gave $10.00 to get started. The money was given to Polly Prosser Dodson to begin a checking account at a local bank in Shelbyville. We discussed applying with the state as a non-profit organization. Janice Freeman recommended that the executive committee decide where to meet next year. This was seconded by Carolyn Crowley and voted that the committee decide on where to meet within the 4 county area. The group acknowledged the youngest attendee who was three week old Katlin Roswell and the oldest was Gladys Orr at 92 years. Mrs. Orr wasn't present on Saturday, this as a result of overdoing on Friday night's meeting.
No other new business. This concluded the first business meeting and was the beginning of the "Chestnut Ridge Cousins", a non-profit organization.
A thank you was sent to the church for allowing us use of the church.
Kathy Rudd Tipper
The Chestnut Ridge Cousins held their 2nd annual reunion on October 3 and 4, 2003. Festivities began October 3, 2003 at the Morgan School Pavilion Park on Church Street in Petersburg, Tn. A potluck picnic supper was enjoyed by all, along with good conversation of "Life in the Good Ol' Days". Saturday began with the meeting place being at First United Methodist Church, on Elk Avenue North, in Fayetteville, Tn. We were called into business meeting by President Bobby Prosser. We welcomed Kevin Ivey from Garden City, Kansas and who located us on the world wide web. Recognition was given to others of who traveled from far to be with us; Fort Worth, Texas, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Little Rock, Arkansas, Western Kansas, Georgia, Michigan, El Paso and Dennison, Texas, along with Virginia, Kentucky and 2 couples from California. Let us not forget all us home folks from Tennessee. Once again an 11 state representation. A special recognition was given to Julia Molitz as being the most mileage traveled to be with us. She traveled from Newport, California.
A few goals was shared with everyone which are cemetery restoration and preservation; seeing in print the history of the Chestnut Ridge Cousins and increase the sharing of information on the web site. Acknowledgement of us now being a non-profit organization along with us having the non-profit number was given. Discussion was given on us now compiling by-laws. There is a need for a guideline so we can write the by-laws. Alben aka "Al" said he would get with Donna and they would see what they could come up with. He has had some experience in this line. Discussion was given as to how many years officers should serve and or when should we elect new officers. Carolyn Crawley was nominated and woted to Publicity Chair Person. It was voted and agreed upon officers to be re-elected in 2005. A nominating committee was formed which consisted of 3 - Sherry Finchum, Polly Prosser Dodson and Carolyn Crowley. Donna Prosser made the motion for these 3 to decide upon a location to hold our next reunion. Discussion was give to changing of the reunion date from October to June in hopes more would be able to attend. Seems like ballgames which children and grandchildren are involved in this time of year have prevailed. It was voted and agreed upon to meet again the 2nd week in June and then continue yearly in June from then forward. Lonnie made motion and seconded by Betty Freeman of New Hampshire.
Donna Prosser talked to us about how much it means to the communities for reunions like us to come. She used the LHA which she is a member of and they had figured up, when they last met they had spent about $40,000.00 not counting any souvenirs which was purchased. Sherry discussed how important it is to get and keep an active list for the website along with how helpful it will be for others. It was helpful to Kevin and we were tickled to have him along with the fact that was how he found us. Just an example of how helpful it can be. Meeting was adjourned.
We were so fortunate to have Mable Tucker, Dora Whisenant, and Jack Towry with us. They are with the Lincoln County Genealogical Society. Ms. Mable has done so much for Lincoln County on this. She is the one that got the ball rolling and they have all done a great job. This was done without any financial help from government programs of any kind. Donations only. They offered some wonderful information and a big "thank you" to them for giving us an opportunity to purchase books with a treasure cove full of information.
Al Simmons of the Bedford
County Historical Society shared an informative talk on the "Ridge" and
its outlets. We broke for free time and to gather back at 6:00 at
the banquet hall at the Best Western Fayetteville Inn for supper and
telling by Dr. Michael Bradley Author and Professor of Social Sciences
at Motlow State Community College.
Kathy Rudd Tipper
Kathy Rudd Tipper
June 10, 2005 the Chestnut Ridge Cousins gathered at Henry Horton State Park for their 4th annual reunion. The evening began with dinner at the restaurant. We then gathered in the meeting room where Mrs. Mabel Tucker also shared with us family Bible record books, which are for sale. Mr. Don Mills from Walsworth Publishing Company spoke to us concerning publishing of books. Walsworth is the 3rd largest publishing company of yearbooks in the country. Mr. Mills put our memories to the test with an interesting game of remembrance. One of the most interesting questions he asked was to the effect off, "If your grandmother were living today, what would her stand be on women’s rights?" There were several other questions, for example, "Do you know the date your great grandmother passed on or her date of birth.?" This was an interesting event.
Jack and June Towry, who worked along with Jim and Jane McNeal, were acknowledged for putting together the Lincoln County Book, which is the largest in Tennessee and possibly the largest in the country. We know they worked hard on this book, and we appreciate all their hard work. We discussed that the final date for stories to be entered in the Heritage Book of Giles County had been extended to June 30, 2005.
We entered into our business meeting
with reading of the minutes from the previous meeting read by Kathy
Tipper. We discussed incorporating and
the cost is $100 to incorporate with the state of Tennessee. An attorney from Shelbyville, TN,
Jody Lambert, would handle it for us without
a charge. (As he is a Chestnut Ridge Cousin.)
There would be a charge for the recording of the documents with
local registrar's office. Discussion was
with the group on the mailing of the newsletter. If snail mail
was being received and thatJulia
is dependent upon members to submit stories for printing;
the stories there is nothing to print.
We elected new officers. Bobby
had 2 recommendtions: Sherry Finchum as
President and Bob Duggan as Vice President. Bob
said he had too many irons in the fire
so he nominatedJack Towry. Sherry and Jack both accepted the
nomination. Kathy Rudd
Tipper to remain as secretary. Nominates
were then seconded by many and approved. The
President and Vice President were the only officers that changed. We nominated Julia Wright Molitz to head up
the new membership drive. The committee
consists of Julia Molitz, Emily White, Bob Duggan and L. M. Sullivan.
Moore County has had a major find as far as books go. Our hats off to Polly as she has helped Moore County get money to take these books, clean them up, and establish a place for them to be kept so the public will have access to the information. The grant Polly obtained for them was $1500 to pay for shelving of the books. We voted to donate $400 to the group to help in the restoration process. Julia made the motion and Linda Bass seconded. So the Chestnut Ridge cousins donated $400 to the group in Moore County. The Chestnut Ridge cousins have $1771 not counting what was collected this weekend. The meeting was adjourned. Present for the meeting was: Lynnette Petty Lawrie of TN, a newcomer, Jim and Jane McNeal TN, Jack & June Towry, TN, Mabel Abbott Tucker, TN, Bobby and Bettye Prosser TN, (Sister of L. M. Sullivan) Edith Felber OK, L M & Peggy Sullivan OK, Jim and Shirley Robert TN, Mark & Sherry Finchum TN, Lisa Cochran Martin TN, John A Foster TN, Dick Poplin TN, Polly P. Dodson TN, Emily White and Alex White GA, Robert S & Kathleen Duggan GA, Donald & Viola Prosser TN, Kathy R. Tipper TN, Ernestine Rudd TN, Betty Jean Graves TN, Linda Bass TN, Sherry Dryden Sorrells TN, Martha Watt TN, Julia Wright Molitz CA, Chrsitine & Karl Pyrdom TN. We had several new comers this year and we are blessed they joined Chestnut Ridge Cousins. Family is what it is all about.
Saturday June 11, 2005 began with
Mark and Sherry Finchum speaking to us on the Cherokee Indians.
We all learned a lot about the Cherokee and
their difficulties. We also learned how
Mark and Sherry are doing a lot of work in their area to help
I know their area is very thankful to have
Mark and Sherry there to lend their helping hands and hearts. We
then broke for lunch and the afternoon
was given over to everyone to share information with one another or to
out to the community for research. That
evening we gathered back for dinner and our evening speaker was Don
Lewisburg, TN, who spoke on TN Land Grants.
I think everyone enjoyed himself or herself and I think we all left
new information to add to research. It
was a good reunion. The speakers were
good and I think we are all looking forward to next year.
On June 9, 2006, the Chestnut Ridge Cousins gathered together for the 5th annual reunion. The meeting place was Henry Horton State Park and began with a "Meet and Greet" session while enjoying the seafood buffet at the Park’s restaurant. Once everyone was through with the meal we moved to the meeting room to welcome Patsy West, Ph.D., from St. Louis, MO, to hear her presentation on “Establishing Proofs for Lineage Society Applications: A DAR Case Study”. Mrs. West was very informative on how to go about filing for DAR status. Her handout is informative including not only several suggested sources, but also includes several genealogy resources located on the Internet. She included some guidelines for analyzing our evidence, which "has to be without any reasonable doubt" in order to apply for DAR recognition.
Saturday morning after breakfast everyone gathered for our annual business meeting. Sherry Finchum called our meeting to order and after an introduction of the officers to our newest members, Kathy Tipper, secretary, gave a summary of the previous years minutes. Polly Dodson treasurer was unable to attend the meeting but Bobby Prosser was placed on the check signatures and he reported an estimated balance of $2000. Old business was discussed; we are approved and have the state charter for non-profit status, along with being incorporated. We do not have a tax-exempt status through the state. This was discussed and agreed upon for Sherry and Polly to work together and take a look at the process along with cost of filing for tax exempt status. Sherry is also our webmaster and she was kind enough to create a list of the actual mailing list from the web. The list was passed around and anyone who wasn’t listed was able to sign up to receive e-mails from the list. The calendar of events on the site was explained and if anyone has an event, which hasn’t been listed, can just e-mail it to Sherry and she will get it on the calendar. Election of officers won’t happen till next year being they are elected for 2-year terms.
Changing the meeting place next year was discussed along with Jack Towry making a motion to meet in Lincoln County next year with him handling the set up for the meeting. Kathy Tipper 2nd the motion. Janice Freeman made motion to meet on the 2nd weekend in June which is the 8th & 9th and John Foster gave the 2nd. Janice also made motion for the executive committee to make decision to meet elsewhere if Lincoln County doesn’t have accommodations for us next year. It will be here before we know it. Remember just 6 months till Christmas.
Survey results was discussed and Julia Molitz, newsletter editor, placed a request for more stories and even asked for book reviews. If anyone has read anything interesting lately please send a review to Julia. I am sure we have a great number of readers in the group or we wouldn’t be doing genealogy to begin with. Bettye Prosser will be taking recipes so maybe we will be getting a future cookbook. Please send your recipes to Ms. Bettye.
A big discussion was done on cemetery laws and future projects. There is a bill being introduced concerning preservation of cemeteries and has been sent to the Senate. Please notify your current representative and ask them to support this bill. Maybe we can get stricter laws governing this area and just maybe they will get enforced. A future activity was discussed, maybe next year everyone taking a tour of the ridge together. A bus rental was discussed but nothing set in stone. Just unsure if a bus can maneuver around easily on the ridge.
June Towry had received a phone call from someone whom claims to have found the original deed and will, belonging to Joseph Greer. Bobby Prosser made the motion to donate $400 to Lincoln County to help with the purchase or preservation of the papers with the following condition: We would have to be convinced the papers are authentic and are the originals. Barbara Wayman offered a 2nd then Janice suggested to authorize the executive committee to have the power to make the final decision based on the participation of Lincoln County. The man with the Bible is Terry West located in Bedford County. Voting commenced and the motion carried.
Jack Towry is ordering more Heritage Books from Lincoln County. If anyone is interested just get in touch with Jack and he can hook you up. Betty Vine has put together a new book, “Mt. Hermon Baptist Church 1830-1930”, which is membership from Bedford, Lincoln, and Moore Counties in Tennessee and includes Charity Church, 1840, and County Line Church, 1912. It includes church records never before published or microfilmed and biographical sketches, a brief history, membership lists, ministers, and minutes. Motion made to adjourn and we were on our own till 2:00 where we came back together for Dr. George Schweitzer.
Dr. Schweitzer’s presentation was wonderful. His presentation in uniform put the icing on the cake. Everyone not only learned all the new places to look for our past family war hero’s but also learned a get deal about the war itself. I know I did.
We then returned for dinner at the restaurant and enjoyed Martha Gerdeman, current President of the Middle TN Genealogical Society, speak on using the TN census records. I know there were some present who didn’t realize there had been so many separate censuses done. This was a very informative presentation on the many different censuses, which have been completed, and the information they have available to the many researchers throughout the area.
We want to welcome our newcomers; John and Dorothy Hoag, of TN; Debbie Prosser Edwards of TN; Larry and Evelyn Foster of California; Mark, Sheri, and Brandon Prosser of TN; and Mark, Anne and Max Warrell of VA. Ohers attending were Julia Molitz CA, John Foster TN, Betty Prosser Glass, CA, Bobby & Bettye Prosser, TN, Lanny & Louise Bradley, TN, Alben (Al) Simmons, TN, Betty Jean Prosser Graves, TN, Ernestine Prosser Rudd, TN, Kathy Rudd Tipper, TN, Jim & Jane McNeal, TN, Jack & June Towry, TN, Janice Robbins Freeman, AR, Sherry Dryden Sorrells, TN, Barbara Prosser Wayman & Terry Harshaw, TN, Ed & Jean Cosby, TN, Robert & Kathleen Duggan, Ga, Patsy West, Missouri, Don & Vi Prosser, TN, and Linda Prosser Bass, TN.
Respectfully submitted,Kathy Rudd Tipper, Secretary
The business meeting was conducted Saturday morning, October 25, 2008. The meeting was called to order by the President, Sherri Finchum. The minutes by Secretary Kathy Tipper were read by Bettye Prosser. Jack Towry made a motion to accept the minutes. Bobby Prosser seconded the motion. Polly Dodson, Treasurer, gave a financial report. The checking accounting balance as of October 20 was $1217.51. Under old business the 501C-3 status was discussed. Under new business, applying for grants was discussed. Polly Dotson will investigate both matters and keep the membership involved.
The same officers were re-elected for the next 2 years. They are Sherry Finchum, President; Jack Towry Vice President; Polly Dotson, Treasurer; and Kathy Tipper, Secretary. The motion to re-elect these officers was made by Betty Glass and seconded by Jane McNeil. It was suggested that Christine Prydom be named as Historian; Carl Prydom, Cemetery Project Chairman; Jane McNeal, Registrar; Bettye Prosser, Electronic Newsletter Editor; Bobby Prosser, Event Historian; Carolyn Crowley, Publicity Chairman; and Sherry Finchum, Webmaster. Jack Towry made the motion to elect these officers and Bobby Prosser seconded the motion. The motion to adjourn the business meeting was made by Jack Towry and seconded by Jim McNeil.
Bobby Prosser made a motion to hold the next Chestnut Ridge Cousins Reunion on November 13th and 14th, 2009 in Fayetteville, Tennessee. The meeting will be held in conjunction with the Fayetteville “Christmas Past Celebration”. Betty Glass seconded the motion.
Saturday afternoon, Carl Prydom served as van driver and tour director of an enjoyable ride through the Chestnut Ridge and surrounding area.
Ron Westphal, Curator of History at
Tennessee State Library, was out the guest speaker.
His subject was 19th Century Farming. He gave a very
informative talk on crops and livestock of that time period. He
also brought models of early farm