Fourth Annual Robert S. Baker Awards Banquet

The Chattooga County Historical Society announces the fourth annual “Robert S. Baker History Awards” named in honor of Chattooga’s distinguished historian. The 2017 banquet is scheduled for 6:00 p.m., Saturday, November 18, 2017 at the Family Life Center of the historic Summerville First Baptist Church.  The program will move along quickly.  Catering will again be by “Classic Fare” from Berry College. 

Historical Society president Gene McGinnis said, “This is our most prestigious annual event.  We always have a good crowd and an entertaining program.  We invite anyone in the county who is interested in our history.  We promise you’ll enjoy it!” 

Awards to be presented include a posthumous and a living category.  Mr. and Mrs. Baker, married almost 70 years, are expected to attend.  The awards honor those who, like Bob Baker, have worked to preserve Chattooga County’s rich history.   

Living Historians 

The 2016 Living Historian Awards go to people who are still busy with their efforts to preserve our history.   

Jim Day, a respected retired high school educator, will be honored in recognition of his outstanding and painstaking research of the county’s Civil War history. Jim has published numerous works on this subject and is a well-respected speaker on all things related to the War Between the States.  His collection of regional Civil War artifacts is unparalleled in our area. 

Jerry and Annamarie Braden will also be honored.  They have taken an active interest in structural preservation in Chattooga County.  The Bradens have restored several historic homes on East Washington Street in Summerville.  They have also moved and restored several endangered log structures in the county, among them the original Herndon cabin where the first child born of a white settler was said to have come into the world shortly after the creation of the county. 

Posthumous Awards 

One of the 2017 Baker Posthumous History Awards will honor the late Emeline Holland Strawn (1904-1996) who kept and passed along worlds of information about the history and people of the Holland community.  “Miss Eme” was a warm and memorable personality.  Granddaughter Jo Bandy Hill will be present to accept the award honoring Mrs. Strawn. 

Also, the late Jessie Salmon Mosley (1890-1963), who kept meticulous records of the people of the Dirt Town Valley/Gore area, will be honored.  Both Mrs. Mosley and Mrs. Strawn contributed columns to the local paper in addition to keeping their own historical records.  Mrs. Mosley’s records are the only source for many early African American family records in the county.  Family historian and previous Baker Award recipient Maxine Mosley West indicates that one of Mrs. Mosley’s granddaughters will be present to accept the award. 

Finally, the tireless Evelyn Kellett Stephenson (1906-1987) will receive a posthumous award.  Mrs. Stephenson’s collection captures history she heard as a child–including her grandparents’ recollections from the 1830s.  She recorded community history that would otherwise have been completely lost.  According to Stephanie Meacham Norton, the award will be accepted by another granddaughter, Beth Meacham Cavin. 

Students Also Honored 

McGinnis announced that historians from the county’s schools (Chattooga and Trion) will also be honored. “Students are asked to submit essays on historic topics related to Chattooga County.  Essays must be submitted by November 4th for consideration.  Contact the Historical Society by email [address below] or through Facebook for additional information.” 

Historical Society program chair Reba Phillips Welch commented, “Whether or not you are able to attend, please consider sponsoring seats for our student honorees and parents or for others who might enjoy attending but who are unable to purchase a ticket.  Sponsored seats may be paid as tax deductible contributions to the Historical Society.” 

Tickets Now Available 

Tickets are available from board members at numbers listed below.  Mrs. Welch continued, “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. Consider sponsoring a table for family and friends.  Paper tickets will not be necessary for those who are on the paid list.” 

Reserve your seats today by email at or by contacting Reba Phillips Welch (770-427-1174), Steve Strickland (404-630-9249) or Gene McGinnis (706-857-7997).  Individual tickets are $25; couples are $45. Tables of eight are $180. Charitable gifts to sponsor seats for students are $25 each. 


Other Historical Society board members include Brenda and Mike Lanier, Ella Cox, Dianne Fulton, Linda Farmer Hawkins, Elaine Patterson Miller, Sue Houston, Tippy Sanford, Maxine Mosley West, Jan and Joe Pullen, Cynthia Hubler, Jane Stephenson Petitt, Sharon Stephens, Rosita Chevremont McCamey and Sam Kohler.