Third Annual Robert S. Baker History Awards

The Chattooga County Historical Society is excited to announce the third annual “Robert S. Baker History Awards” in honor of distinguished county historian Bob Baker. Baker has received many accolades and has set the standard for both amateur and published historians in the county.  The honorees for 2016 are shown below: the late T. Emmett Nunn, the late Earl McConnell, the late Annie Belle Farmer, the late Mary Jo Logan, Pat Selman and her late husband, Bill, and Tippy Sanford, who will be honored along with her late husband, Carl

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The 2016 banquet is scheduled for 6:00 p.m. Saturday, September 17, 2016 at the Family Life Center of the historic Summerville First Baptist Church. Catering will be by “Classic Fare” from Berry College.

Historical Society president, Gene McGinnis, said, “This is the highest honor that the Historical Society bestows on those who have helped us preserve our Chattooga history. The event is always entertaining, and I learn something new every year. The six awards this year go to personalities many of us know or remember well. Come join us!”

Nunn, McConnell: Extraordinary Photographers

Awards to be presented include a posthumous and a living category. The awards honor those who have worked to preserve Chattooga County’s rich history. One 2016 Baker Award will honor the late T. Emmett Nunn whose decades of photography have captured Chattooga history in motion.

Another renowned photographer to be recognized, the late Earl McConnell, during his years of association with The Summerville News, won many kudos and press awards for photographing happenings in the county. These two gentlemen made thousands of memorable photographs for the local news.

Farmer, Logan: Columnists with Flair

The late Annie Belle Farmer, The Summerville News’ first African American columnist, will be honored for her many years chronicling the history of the black and white families of the area in her Gore News.

Finally, the inimitable Mary Jo Logan will receive a posthumous award. Mary Jo’s column called Rambling Around entertained readers for many years and described delightful—and sometimes quirky—events in the county.

Tippy Sanford and Pat Selman

The 2016 Living Baker Awards go to two ladies who are still busy with their efforts to preserve our history. In particular, they and their late husbands are to be honored for their efforts in the preservation of the structural heritage of our county.

First, Pat Selman, who was the driving force in the creation of the Chattooga County Historical Society, and her late husband, William Penn Selman Jr., will be honored in recognition of their outstanding restoration of Bill’s ancestral home, Penn Place, one of Chattooga’s few properties recognized by the National Register of Historic Places. Using family photographs, records and stories, the Selmans painstakingly restored the beauty, dignity and hospitality of this splendid nineteenth century home. Penn Place appears today much as it did when completed by James and Jane Ham Penn in the 1850s. Bill Selman was a civic-minded man who also served actively as the third president of the Historical Society.

Tippy Sanford and her late husband, Carl Sanford, are to be recognized for their meticulous historical restoration of the 1830s Samuel Finley Plantation home in the Chattoogaville-Holland area. Other than an extension of the original peaked and pillared front porch to create a graceful veranda—and thereby eliminated the threat of further foundation damage—the home would be quite recognizable to the Samuel Finley family today, as well as to the many African American families who lived and farmed here down through the years. Like the Selmans, the Sanford family has graciously opened their home to the Historical Society in the past, and plan to host the group again in 2017.

Student Historians

Amateur historians from the county’s schools (Chattooga and Trion) will also be honored. An essay contest is well under way, with winners to be announced at the banquet.

Ticket Information

For tickets, call Reba Phillips Welch at 770-427-1174, or Gene McGinnis at 706-857-7997 or Steve Strickland at 404-630-9249. Mrs. Welch, Historical Society program chair, said, “Individual tickets are $25.00 or two for $45.00. Seating is limited so respond early! Every effort will be made to honor seating requests that are made at the time of the ticket purchase. We hope that you can join us! We promise a memorable evening.”