Local News

May 18, 2014

Historical society honors those with a 'love for history'

— Mother and daughter Louise and Nellena Smith weren’t looking for recognition.

They just think it’s important to help document history and pass the information along to others.

The Smiths were recognized by the Whitfield-Murray Historical Society on Sunday for all their contributions and donations of time and resources to preserving history in Whitfield County. They received the 2014 Historical Preservation Award. The Lt. Col. William M. Luffman Camp of the Sons of the Confederate Veterans were also recognized, as well as several others who have contributed to preserving history in the area.

“I didn’t expect anything like this,” Louise Smith said. “I’ve always loved history. It was my favorite subject in school. That’s the reason we’ve taken part, the reason I do history books about the families.”

The meeting was held at Whitfield-Murray History Center and Archives on Chattanooga Avenue.

Historical society member Jan McNeill, who presented them with their award, said the Smiths have spent many years helping with the historical society. They have written books chronicling their family history, spearheaded the rummage sale fundraiser for the society, and they have spent many hours at Prater’s Mill, a grist mill in Varnell that is still operational and a historical site. Nellena Smith, a retired fifth-grade school teacher at Tunnel Hill, developed the site’s Cultural Heritage Days where elementary students learn about the mill and tasks, such as making homemade kites and cooking cornbread.

“(Louise Smith) and I were both at Prater’s Mill for years,” Nellena Smith said. “We were out there one year and Judy (Alderman, president of the Prater’s Mill Foundation) came by and said, ‘What would you think about us bringing our fifth-graders out here?’ and that’s how it all started. We, as teachers, got together and called it Cultural Heritage Day. When we started it was all hands-on. They made cornbread.... Mom came out and quilted with them. One year we did hand-tufting. We did a variety of those type of things.”

The program started 15 years ago, and it has continued and grown so that other schools also attend the program annually.

“My hope was that it would continue and overflow to other schools,” Nellena Smith said. “I always emphasized historical preservation with the students, why we keep these buildings, preserve what we’ve got. Sometimes that kind of thing gets lost.”

She echoed her mother’s sentiment.

“I did it because I wanted to,” she said. “You don’t do it so you’ll get stuff.”

McNeill called her the “rummage sale queen” because of all her time dedicated to organizing it.

“Louise and Nellena are hard workers for the historical society,” she said. “Ellen Thompson (historical society member) once said, ‘You know when Nellena does something, it will be done right.’”

The Sons of the Confederate Veterans were recognized for the upkeep of many Confederate veteran graves in Murray County.

“They have tirelessly cleaned the grounds” of several cemeteries in Murray, McNeill said. “We have a lot over in Murray County, and it takes a lot of work and they have done a wonderful job.”

The organization’s members have placed markers in several cemeteries, planted flowers, improved driveways and markers, pressure washed above-ground vaults and done other maintenance. They have placed a monument for Confederate veterans at the Murray County Courthouse. They also sponsor the annual Confederate Memorial Day service and have hosted tours of cemeteries where they talk about the veterans buried there.

Also, recognized were the society’s scholarship winners.

They are:

• Stephanie Edwards from Murray County High School.

• Alexandria Wilbanks from Coahulla Creek High School.

• William Alderman from Dalton High School.

• Hunter Cox, Rachel Kepley and Timothy Southerland from North Murray High School.

“These are reward scholarships for work these young people have already done in local history,” said society member Tim Howard. “It’s not just about who wrote the best term paper. This is for work they have already done, some for years.”

Eagle Scouts Tracey Findley, Asa Hibbett and David Jewell were recognized and thanked for work they did with the society for their Eagle Scout projects. And the Murray County 4-H Club was thanked for helping at the Chief Vann House each year.

Text Only
Local News
  • Dalton State turtle 4.jpg In the mood for love: Encouraging breeding, saving species

    For one Dalton State College couple, a cool misty shower is more effective than Barry White and candles at turning thoughts to love. And keeping this couple feeling amorous could mean survival of the species.

    August 1, 2014 4 Photos

  • Beaulieu expects 2,000 employees to be affected by week-long shutdown

    About 2,000 employees of Beaulieu of America in Georgia and Alabama will be affected by the company’s plans to conduct an inventory of its buildings and facilities next week.

    August 1, 2014

  • Moral monday 3 mlh.jpg Four ‘jailed for justice’ tell their stories

    Arturo Martinez was just 8 when his family came to the United States from Mexico, and though he is one of more than 500,000 young undocumented immigrants granted deferred removal by President Barack Obama, Martinez said his dream of pursuing higher education is out of reach because of Georgia policies.

    August 1, 2014 1 Photo

  • Tanner Blackton: Diners, servers must show understanding

    Try to imagine this: You’ve been on your feet for hours, hoisting heavy plates, buzzing from table to table, taking orders, running food, refilling drinks. All the while, you have a smile plastered on your face and a go-to attitude, even when people blame you for things that are out of your control, berate you for accidentally mixing up an order, or loudly complain about being seated underneath an air conditioning vent.

    August 1, 2014

  • Bugs and Kisses 1 mlh.jpg Local stores expect tax holiday to create lots of sales

    Local retailers say Georgia’s sales tax holiday weekends mean big business for them, and they are gearing up to capitalize on this year’s tax-free shopping on Friday and Saturday.

    July 30, 2014 1 Photo

  • Esme file mw 2.jpg Still fighting

    Ten-year-old Esme Miller was celebrated earlier this year for the way she’s handled a bout with osteosarcoma, a type of bone cancer.

    July 30, 2014 1 Photo

  • Historical photos of Murray County needed

    Maybe you have a photograph of a well-known preacher from the 1940s. Or maybe you have a photograph taken of a church choir from the 1920s.

    July 30, 2014

  • State DOT wants your input on transportation needs

    As state and national leaders consider alternatives for funding future transportation needs, the Georgia Department of Transportation wants to know what Georgians would like in their 21st century transportation system and how they recommend paying for it.

    July 30, 2014

  • Jail for Justice Tour event here tonight

    The Moral Monday Georgia Coalition, the NAACP-led multi-racial, multi-issue advocacy group, will host an event in partnership with the Georgia Dreamers Alliance, Coalition of Latino Leaders (CLILA), Whitfield NAACP and the Whitfield County Democratic Party at Dalton’s Mack Gaston Community Center tonight from 5 to 9.

    July 30, 2014

  • Two charged with tampering with evidence in drug investigation

    Two people have been arrested and charged with tampering with evidence in connection with the synthetic marijuana bust in February involving a Dalton business owner.

    July 30, 2014