ENGLISH WESTERNERS' SOCIETY

REPORT OF THE 

48TH ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING

 HELD ON SATURDAY 9TH OCTOBER 2004

AT OVER-SEAS HOUSE

The Meeting

The Annual General Meeting was held on Saturday, 9th 0ctober 2004. An unusually large number of members and guests were expected to celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the organisation’s founding and this year lunch was taken in the Wrench Room at Over-Seas House, St. James’s, and the meeting itself was held in the Mountbatten Room. A total of  18 members and 8 guests took lunch.   The diners were: Dr. John Bloom (Arizona) and his wife, Joe Tice Bloom, the President of Westerners International; Ray Buller (London); Barry Corbett and a guest (Bristol); Reg Dawson and a guest (Swindon); Kevin Galvin (Kingston-upon-Thames); Stephen Goldsmith (Tadworth); Peter Harrison (Southampton); Derek Hodges and a guest (Wickford); David Jackson (Surbiton); Leon Mould (Thornton Cleveleys); K R. Robinson (Sittingbourne); Rex Pope and a guest (Reading); Richard Pratt (Stockton-on-Tees) and two guests, including the co-founder, Frederick Nolan; Joseph G. Rosa (Ruislip); Peter Russell (Bexleyheath); Francis Taunton and a guest (Bromley); Tom Wanless (Chippenham); and Bob Wybrow (Bromley).

Following lunch the diners adjourned to the Mountbatten Room where they joined other members including: Dennis Bailey (London); Jeff and Shirley Burton (Gosport); Colin Crocker (London); Dave Griffiths London); Allan and Marion Radbourne (Bridgwater); and Stuart Tucker (Ashtead). Altogether there were 26 members and 8 guests, making this one of the largest attendance for many years.

There was little business discussed this year and the Chairman, Richard Pratt simply advised members that with the exception of Tom Wanless, the other committee members would remain in post and he would deal with the production of the Tally Sheet, in addition to his duties as Chairman.  Those present stood in silence in memory of two very long-standing members who had died since the 2003 AGM; Dr. Michael Hancock and Vice President Colin Taylor.  The death of Colin Taylor overshadowed what would otherwise have been an afternoon of warm nostalgia.  Joe Rosa and Fred Nolan, who both delivered short talks on the early days of the organisation and, in Joe’s case, his links with American members, mentioned Colin’s membership of the Society: he had joined the Corral in 1955 when he was 17 years old. Colin Crocker, a fellow Indian enthusiast, also paid an emotional and impromptu tribute to Colin’s work in the field of Indian Ethnology. Colin Taylor had been scheduled to talk to the meeting about the life and work of John C. Ewers, the leading Ethnologist, whose life he had celebrated in a book he had co-edited: The People of the Buffalo, which several members had purchased..  We were fortunate that John Bloom had known Jack Ewers in the days when both were members of the Potomac Corral and he stepped in to say a few words about him. Finally, the President of Westerners International, Jo Tice Bloom, gave her own warm tribute to the high standard of research and published work that our members have carried out during the past half century, exhorting us to “carry on with the good work.” The Custer Association of Great Britain and our two remaining Founder Members, Joe Balmer and Kay Sharp had sent us congratulatory letters, and these were read to those present.

Reminiscences and tributes over, we enjoyed the main talk of the afternoon.  Our celebrated expert on the Apache Wars, Allan Radbourne, gave us a highly interesting discourse, accompanied by slides, on the life and times of Arizona scout, Mickey Free. 

The meeting itself finally finished at 6 p.m. but nearly a dozen of us lingered in the atrium until around 8 p.m. and five, including Jeff and Shirley Burton, Leon Mould and Allan and Marion Radbourne finished the evening with a meal in the Buttery in the tradition of those days long, long, ago when the Society held meetings throughout the country, one of which lasted throughout the entire night! (FBT.) 

A note on the AGM: All members are entitled to attend the AGM free of charge, irrespective of whether or not they take lunch.  (There is a buttery on the premises, which serves snacks and a three-course meal).  We take lunch in our own room partly because in this way we avoid a room-hire charge, and also because this furnishes us with an opportunity to enjoy a meal together.  But, please do remember, everyone is welcome to attend the meeting even if they do not take lunch!

Reports

The Secretary’s Report

New Members’ Information Pack

Information packs have been sent to all new members since 2000.  These include the latest edition of the Brand Book (but not Special Publications), the latest Tally Sheet where available, promotional material for the sales of publications, shirts and ties and an Order Form for back issues of our printed publications.  Since this system was introduced 52 members have joined the Society, of which 9 have subsequently left.  We have, of course, also lost long-standing members during this period, either through death or loss of interest.

 Web-site

 The site was last updated in May and is therefore currently out of date.  This was due to pressure of other commitments. The site is now being updated and will return to regular updates early in 2005.  We plan to put a selection of past articles on the web-site during the coming year to give potential members an idea of what we publish in the Society. During the year, in conjunction with Westerners Publications Limited and the Custer Association of Great Britain, we have renewed the website domain name for a further two years.  

Westerners International

The point of contact for Westerners International has been changed from the President (who attended our recent AGM) to the Secretary and a limited number of their publication the Buckskin Bulletin has now been received.  We are considering including details of the activities of other Corrals in future editions of the   Tally Sheet.  We are also seeking an updated list of other Corrals so that we can exchange news of our respective activities and also so that details can be posted on our web-site. (KEG)  

Associate Secretary's Report

There have been three mailings this year, with the usual combination of Tally Sheets, News and printed publications.  With over 200 copies of everything being sent to our members in seven different countries, there is bound to be an occasional problem with something not arriving safely.  One of our American members even had his Society mailing stolen from his post book – obviously by someone who was desperate to read our thoughts on his nation’s history, but who did not realise how reasonable our membership fees are!

During the year, I took possession of several boxes of Western magazines and journals, previously held by one of my predecessors.  The Committee is considering ways in which our members can most easily use the resources in the more academic of these publications. But the magazines (which varied from pure fiction to ‘true stories’ – some of which seemed fairly reliable, whilst others were of dubious authenticity) were sorted out and offered for sale to our members.  These proved very popular and all have now been sold, raising some funds for the Society and giving some of our members a great deal of pleasurable reading over the summer months. (MC)  

Editorial Reports

The Tally Sheet

Two issues of Volume 50 of the Tally Sheet have already been mailed to members and the final issue will be mailed early in the next Society year.  Each issue has contained articles of varying length, together with the usual collection of book reviews.  I am pleased to report that two members who have not submitted articles and reviews in the past have been included in the contributors for Volume 50.  I have always been pleased when members who have never contributed to Society publications have submitted articles and reviews.  The Society does belong to its members and without your contributions the organisation would soon cease to issue publications.

One thing which is causing me concern and which I mentioned last year in my report is that review copies sent by publishers seem to be in short supply.  This year I have received just one unsolicited copy.  This may be due to a decrease in the number of publications of Western Americana, of possibly publishers are reducing the number of review copies they have available.  Increasingly, therefore, I am relying on members to submit reviews of books they have bought for personal use.  The demise of the Rocky Mountain House, and their catalogues, has also had an effect on the availability of books published in the U.S.A.  Members relied on Jim Dullenty for information on what was available and there seems to be no other source which can take Jim’s place.

Regretfully, the third issue of Volume 50 will be the last Tally Sheet, which I will edit.  Having served on the committee for almost forty years, first as secretary, and then as associate editor and editor, I feel it is time to retire gracefully from office holding.  I would like to thank all those members, both passed and present, who have made life so much easier by submitting articles, reviews and comments on the publications I have edited.  Your efforts and remarks have been appreciated and I will miss your letters and e-mails, but I trust that whoever takes over my position as editor of the Tally Sheet will continue to receive support from members.  To all of you who have submitted articles and reviews that have not yet been published, please rest assured that my complete files will be passed on to my successor and their work will see the light of day in due course. (TW)

Printed Publications

The Brand Book

During the year only one Brand Book has appeared. Contributions for forthcoming issues include an intriguing piece from a member of the legal profession that suggests that our view of the Oglala Sioux may have been ill-served by populist contemporary reportage.  New findings indicate that Red Cloud and Crazy Horse did not necessarily have the last word on matters of tactics and tribal policy.  In addition Bob Wybrow has offered an account of the Pinkerton raid on the James’ family ranch and Francis Taunton is working on an account of the Big Hole battle of August 1877 involving Gibbon and the Nez Perce.  In addition, one of our West Country members has advised that he has put together some of his own personal research notes with a view to producing a work involving a fellow Cornishman (‘Keam of Keam’s Canyon’), who was present during the early days of Arizona history.

It therefore appears that we will have an interesting publishing schedule once the Golden Jubilee Publications have appeared and will thus continue to provide worthy material for our members and possible future members.  (PH)

Special Publications

Our 10th Special Publication, entitled More Sidelights of the Sioux Wars, was published in March and mailed to members in lieu of the Brand Book for 2002-2003.

The Society will be 50 years old in November 2004, and to commemorate this half-century of achievement we shall be publishing one or more special Golden Jubilee Publications. The first volume, entitled Vignettes in Violence will be distributed to members in lieu of the second and third issues of the Brand Book in 2003-2004.  It contains four articles on various gun-fighting themes and will be one of the longest volumes that we have ever produced. Publication is anticipated sometime next Spring. A second volume is planned to appear in 2004-2005 featuring contributions on the Army and Indian Wars. (FBT)

The Treasurer’s Report   

Although some of the amounts shown in respect of costs are still provisional, it is not anticipated that these will change significantly.  The size of the 2004 surplus is affected by the treatment of the transactions relating to The People of the Buffalo.  The cost and estimated sales for both volumes of this work are shown below as it had originally been anticipated that both would have appeared during the year ended 31st August 2004.  In the event, only one volume appeared due to circumstances outside the control of the Society.  The second should appear in the current year.

Generally, costs remain stable. We enjoyed a high level of income from the sales of Society ties and shirts; back issues of Brand Books; the British Custeriana Series; books and magazines donated by former member John Payne, and finally magazines from the Society’s archives. Sales from all of these sources are likely to continue in the current year. The number of members has shown a net increase during the year. At 31 August 2004 the state of the Society membership was as follows: Honorary Officers - 4; Honorary members - 1; Founder members – 2; Committee members – 7; members and associates – 175. Total:. 189 (2003:185).  The number of honorary officers has subsequently fallen to 3 following the tragic death of Colin Taylor. (RJW)

Income

2002

£

2003

£

2004

£

Members subscriptions

2,240 2,104 2,133

Sales of publications

250 512 389

Miscellaneous income

192 190 1,877

TOTAL INCOME

2,682 2806 4,399

Expenditure

Printed publications

1,220 995 1,075

Tally Sheet

515 535 550

Administration/POB and Society Clothing

189 374 1,891

Mailings

585 473 811

TOTAL EXPENDITURE

2,509 2,377 4,327

ANNUAL SURPLUS/DEFICIT

173 429 72
       
STATEMENT OF ASSETS AND LIABILITIES AT 31 Aug 02 31 Aug 03 31 Aug 04
ASSETS
Cash at Bank 4,306 3,790 4,552
LIABILITIES
Publications (1,863) (882) (1,658)
Other Creditors (322) (213) (417)
Subscriptions received in advance (433) (439) (302)
NET ASSETS 1,688 2,256 2,175
RESERVES
Special Publications Fund 1,726 1,880 1,689
Members, Funds (Deficiency) (38) 376 486
TOTAL RESERVES 1,688 1,952 2,175

Note: Stocks of Society Publications, polo shirts and ties are not include in the financial statements above 

Executive Committee -2004/2005

Chairman

Richard J. Pratt

51 Hartburn Avenue, Stockton on Tees, TS18 4ES

Vice Chairman

Francis B Taunton

90 Babbacombe Road, Bromley, Kent, BR1 3LS

Associate Editor

Peter Harrison

19 The Avenue, Southampton, Hants, S01 2SQ

Treasurer

Robert J Wybrow

15 Hurstwood Drive, Bromley, Kent, BR1 2W

Secretary

Kevin E Galvin

130 The Keep, Kingston-upon-Thames, Surrey, KT2 5UE

Associate Secretary Mary Christian 7 Kirkbarrow Lane, Kendal, Cumbria, LA9 5DF

English Westerners' Society