At the annual meeting of the Bradford County Historical Society on Oct. 4, 2021, Society President Henry G. Farley opened the program by introducing the trustees of the society: Buddy Crockett, Athens Township; Wm. Alan Shaw, Towanda; Mary Skillings, Wyalusing; Janet R. Ordway, Troy; Joyce M. Marr, Lake Wesauking; Joseph D. Jones, Stevensville; Steven Benjamin, Durrell; Sue Roy, Wysox; Margaret Walsh, Bentley Creek; J. Kelsey Jones, Wells Township; and Rita Carey, Camptown. He then introduced Matthew Carl, executive director of the society and Denise Golden, library clerk. He further recognized emeritus trustee of the society, James E. Parks.
Society volunteers were introduced: Cindy Brown, Tom and Ann Carl, Kay Fulmer, Lois Ball Martin, Janice Otis, Diane Pelton and Sue Roy. Volunteers who have completed 50 or more hours this year were: Diane Pelton, Janice Otis, and Cindy Brown.
Minutes from the 2020 meeting were approved and Farley was again appointed editor of The Settler, the quarterly publication of the society.
Margaret Walsh, chairperson of the Nominating Committee, presented the names of Janet Ordway, Troy; Mary Skilling, Wyalusing; Buddy Crockett, Athens Township; and Wm. Alan Shaw, Towanda for re-election as trustees for a three-year term to expire in 2024. They were unanimously approved.
While Walsh was at the podium Farley took the opportunity to recognize her for her 25th anniversary as a trustee. This occurred in 2020, but due to the Covid shutdown, this honor was reserved for 2021.
In the report of the executive director, Carl reviewed operations to include improvements to the facility, live-streaming of event capability, credit card processing equipment, new lettering on the doors and office furnishings donated to the society by TREHAB from the former C&N building.
Programming and community outreach: Friday Night at the Museum was produced online in 2020 and the society returned to onsite programing in July of 2021.
The Century Farm Historic Marker was installed on May 1 after waiting five years. Carl has been doing outside speaking for groups now that regulations for the pandemic are not as stringent. The society participated in Barclay Mountain Heritage Day with Farley presenting a program on the Irish of Barclay Mountain.
Print and Electronic Outreach: Four issues of The Settler were sent out this year along with the yearly issue of the Annual. There was a mass mailing to several zip codes, which resulted in new members. Digital members now total 66, which is one-fifth of the current membership. The society was featured in local newspapers over 150 times. The website has been used by 6,100 people over the last year. The Facebook page has 1,995 followers, up 198 since the 2020 annual meeting. The Twitter page has 91 followers, and the YouTube channel has 90 subscribers, up 44 since the 2020 meeting.
Museum: Carl reported that he worked several months last winter designing 24 panels that tell the 150-year history of the Bradford County Historical Society; the exhibit opened June 7. College intern, Jonathon Gulyas, was the tour guide this year in the museum. Many compliments were received on his detailed tours of the exhibits.
There were 500 visitors to the museum this season, which was much shorter than usual. Visitors came from 17 states, and there were group tours that included St. Agnes School, Towanda Elementary School 5th grade, and Towanda High School Summer School. There were contributions of manuscript or artifact from 50 donors since the last annual meeting, along with many more boxes of records from the courthouse attic and a large collection of interesting pieces for museum exhibits from Richard and Grace Talada.
At the end of his report Carl recognized Farley for his 30 years as a trustee of the society.
The trustees of the society purchased a 4x8 brick in front of the Keystone Theater in Towanda to recognize his dedication and service.
Denise Golden, library clerk, reported that there were 167 registered library patrons from 18 states since the last annual meeting. There were 344 volunteer hours logged with 33 surname searches completed, the library volunteers completed archival record and photograph organization filing, indexing, mailings, transcribing diaries, and yard work.
Farley then presented the Clement F. Heverly Outstanding Service Award to the LeRoy Heritage Museum and The Leo. E. Wilt Historian of the Year Award to Golden.
After the awards presentations the floor was turned over to Michael Burrell, Carrie Hooper and Gary Tucker who presented a program on Philip P. Bliss organized and sponsored by David Lenington. Special thanks to the P. P. Bliss Songwriter’s Museum for loaning the society the Bliss melodeon for the event.