Jan. 2023 Mini News Letter

by Sandy Hershey, Board Member

2023 January Mini Newsletter 

The Reaser family from Gilmer County, West Virginia. I live on Sinking Creek Road today. Have been neighbors to them for 32 years now. A number of their photos have come up missing while under possession outside the family. They’ve been asking for any photos anyone may have of their relatives so they can identified their relatives by older members of the family who are still able do this. If you think you may have any in your possession, please contact us. Thank you. Sandy

    We had our monthly meeting on the 18th and our customary 8 member turn out.  Our new  membership total isn’t official yet for 2023 but looks promising at 90+  members.  An increase of approximately 50 paying members, some new and some returning.  We also had two guests in the Annex with us, one doing research in the library on genealogy and the other setting up our new digitizing computer.  I’m so excited about getting our photos in order.  It will be a huge job for sure.  

    Our treasurer’s report has proven hard work produces progress.  A gracious Thank You is in order for numerous donations given this past year from anonymous donors, local residents and businesses which totaled approximately $19,000 for operational costs and special events like Folk Festival,  cleaning and organizing the Holt House Museum, Pumpkin Roll Fund Drive, leasing of our Annex Library for private groups, the Farm Bureau and the Gilmer County Fire Department (they sponsored a wonderful Gingerbread House building contest), and a History lesson for the very young and their parents while enjoying a breakfast with Santa! (thank you Martin Hess). The American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA)  awarded us $20,000 through our very own Gilmer County Commissioners, for a roof replacement and water damage. Also an additional $14,000 from the Town Council for an AC/Heating unit in our Annex Library meeting hall. Wow, that’s one impressive paragraph!  All this has made a large impact on our group and our community.  Though this was an exceptional year, I hope we will keep improving in 2023 for the benefit of us all.

    The rest of the meeting was filled with electing our new President, Peggy Wentzell and new board member, Sandy Hershey.   Wonder what we’ll fill our calendar with this year? To be seen. 

Here’s where I invite everyone to try to attend a meeting or two in 2023.  If the time of day for meetings is a problem for you, start by letting us know.  We’ll be willing to make changes to the time if enough people show us what our members’ needs are. And for the new members who came in to help during events and share fresh ideas, we all benefited.  Just 4 hrs a year of everyone’s time can make a huge difference to those who carry the load for all.  Please think about it.  We’ll try to post this years activities early enough so you may pick the ones that best suit your interests.  

Steve Ostaff, Board Member sent some photos and bits of information he’d like to share with everyone:

Winter is for weaving, my Studio loom was made by Newcomb in Iowa during 1930s.  The wool yarn is made from wool I sheared off my sheep and sent to a mill to be carded and spun.  The three colors are natural off white undyed from the sheep,  black from a  black sheep, and another breed that had both colors which I then had  mixed to make grey.  My goal is to make one blanket per winter.  A full size blanket is two identical three foot wide blankets, that I hand sew together to make one. The lengths vary. 

Woven wool blanket made by past member ????? who donated it to the GCHSociety. Steve Ostaff, president at the time, accepting the gift.

During our November 2022 Annual Meeting, we had  Rick Sypolt as a guest speaker on the English Chestnut trees and the history of their decline in West Virginia.  He was a fascinating speaker on the subject of how we are helping our state to repopulate the trees through hard work and research.  There has been an increase in areas of West Virginia where propagation has made in an impact on the increasing acreage of this majestic tree.  Steve shared a picture of an antique 1902 chest of drawers made from the English Chestnut to show the sturdiness and beauty of the wood grain.   Thanks Steve. 

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