ENGLISH WESTERNERS' SOCIETY
REPORT OF THE
49TH ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING
HELD ON SATURDAY 1ST OCTOBER 2005
AT OVER-SEAS HOUSE
Miles Gilbert presenting his talk on the world of the Buffalo Hunter (KEG)
This year we reverted to the Rutland Room for our lunch and meeting. A total of 13 members and 3 guests took lunch. These were: Mike and Mary Christian (Kendal); Kevin Galvin (Kingston upon-Thames); Peter Harrison (Southampton); David Jackson (Surbiton); Gary Leonard (Southampton); Alan Micklewright (Middlesbrough); Leon Mould (Thornton Cleveleys); Rex Pope and a guest (Reading); Richard Pratt (Stockton-on-Tees) and two guests, including our speaker Miles Gilbert and his wife; Joseph G. Rosa (Ruislip); Francis Taunton and Bob Wybrow (Bromley). (Several members joined the meeting after lunch, but unfortunately the list showing their names has mysteriously disappeared! Sorry!)
When the meeting opened, the Chairman, Richard Pratt, advised members that all the committee members would offer themselves for re-election and he would continue to deal with the production of the Tally Sheet, in addition to his duties as Chairman. Reports from the various office-holders were received and points raised by the members were discussed. Those present then stood in silence in memory of two very long-standing members who had passed away since the 2004 AGM - Michael Harrison and Brian Pohanka.
The business part finished we were entertained by Miles Gilbert who gave a fascinating insight into the world of the Buffalo Hunter, an aspect of the West not usually covered by us in our publications. After his lengthy talk, the meeting culminated with our annual auction, which raised £70 for Society funds. The proceedings ended at 5.15 P.M., but several of us (including our guest speaker and his wife) lingered in the cocktail bar, chatting until around 7 P.M. (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!
The Tally Sheet
I took over from Tom Wanless as Associate Editor in October 2004 after he resigned from office as of the Golden Jubilee Publication date. I should like to thank Tom for the enormous amount of work that he has given to the publication of the Tally Sheet and to the Society over many years.
My first Tally Sheet was Volume 51, number 1, the Golden Jubilee Tally Sheet of Autumn 2004 and numbers 2 and 3 have followed to complete the programme. The Golden Jubilee issue was a “one-off” and expensive in comparison to the other issues. I have to thank Bob Wybrow for his work on the Golden Jubilee Issue during my extended vacation following the 2004 AGM. All three issues in Volume 51 have now been mailed to members. I plan to add illustrations to the Tally Sheet, subject to monetary constraints. I have sufficient material at present but would urge members to keep submitting the same, like articles and book reviews. I have started a “Letters Column” for members to write to me on aspects of the West, etc. and am continuing with the News section and the “Wants and Sales” facility for members. This service is completely free to members.
From the technical point of view of production, I have to thank my other committee members for their work and support and especially to Francis Taunton and Kevin Galvin. (RJP)
The Brand Book
Black Twin is now published and, although a slim volume, is expected to achieve a controversial response insofar as it points to a disturbing lack of completeness in the approach of the original chroniclers of the Old West. Indeed, it poses the question: were Red Cloud and Crazy Horse really the most important warrior leaders of the Oglalas during the Indian Wars? Following on, we had Bob Wybrow’s My Arm Was Hanging Loose, which is more familiar territory, insofar as events of an oddly parallel nature have taken place in recent times. It concerns the bungled raid on the James’ Farm by the Pinkerton Detective Agency. In the pipeline we currently have a piece by Brian Keefe dealing with the Crow and Sioux wars, shortly before the Army arrived on the Plains in main force, entitled Battle at Rainy Butte. This features a major battle, based on material drawn mainly from Crow tribal interviewees of the author’s acquaintance. Roy O’Dell tells me is at work on a new outlaw study. Finally, “twinkle, twinkle little star” quoth the poet, “how I wonder what you are.” Is it a Black Hole? – I hear you ask. No, friends, it is actually a Big Hole by Francis Taunton, but it appears to be still some light years from Earth at the time of this report! (PH)
The Society was 50 years old in November 2004, and to commemorate this half-century of achievement we are publishing one or more special Golden Jubilee Publications. The first volume, entitled Vignettes in Violence, was dispatched to members in May 2005, in lieu of the second and third issues of the Brand Book for 2003-2004. With four articles on various gun-fighting themes, and with 120 pages, this is one of the longest volumes that we have ever produced. A second volume is planned to appear in 2006-2007 featuring contributions on the Army and Indian Wars. (FBT)
The Secretary’s Report
The point of contact for Westerners International was changed from the President to the Secretary and a few copies of their publication, the Buckskin Bulletin, are now received on a regular basis and passed to committee members only as these contain only news of other Corrals and not articles. UK members may request a copy from me, which will be photocopied and charged for including postage and packing. (My address appears elsewhere in this Report.) It has been suggested that following the change of Tally Sheet Editor, we include an article on news from other Corrals, obtained from the Buckskin Bulletin. We also plan to submit a report to them on our own activities. A list of all Corrals has been received, and the Vice-Chairman plans to communicate with them and circulate a list of our available publications.
New Members’ Information Pack
Information packs continue to be sent to new members and include the latest edition of the Brand Book (but not Special Publications that have been issued in lieu of Brand Books in the past two years because they significantly increase the cost of postage.) 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 are also included in the Pack.
The site is updated regularly and the aim is for monthly updates, though this will depend on my other commitments. The process of including past articles has now begun, the first being posted in November 2005. I intend to put a selection covering various topics relating to the American West onto the web site during the next 12 months after consulting with the authors of the articles concerned. (KEG)
Associate Secretary’s Report
Associate Secretary is an impressive title for what is really a very straightforward job of stuffing envelopes and posting them off to Members. This year saw the two mailings with the usual mix of Tally Sheets, Brand Books, Special Publications, News for members, and special offers of books, Society ties and shirts. The majority of our members live in the U.K., but we also send to 50+ U.S. members, as well as a few members in Poland, Switzerland, France, Germany and as far away as Australia. The mailings have gone fairly smoothly this year; members are very good at telling us about changes of address, etc. Inevitably a few packages get lost and duplicates are sent. Thanks once again this year to Richard Pratt for printing the address letter and to my husband Mike (“Assistant Associate Secretary”) for carrying all the boxes of envelopes to the Post Office. (MC)
The Treasurer’s Report
There was a loss last year of £213. The reasons are complex: there was a decline in membership income, exacerbated by the adverse dollar/sterling exchange rate earlier in the year, together with a decline in sales of publications. We also spent more on the new style Tally Sheet, especially the Golden Jubilee issue, a special Report of the AGM and mailing costs, including a loss on the distribution of the second volume of the People of the Buffalo. Much of this expenditure is non-recurring and we anticipate that the out-turn for 2005-2006 will be healthier. We carried adequate reserves at the end of the year. In terms of membership, we ended the year with 183 members (2004: 189), as follows: Honorary Officers: 3; honorary members – 1; Founder members – 2; Committee members – 6; members and associates – 171. The gradual decline in membership totals has been a growing trend and partly reflects the average age of the membership. In 2002 the membership totaled 194. (RJW)
Stocks of Society Publications, polo shirts and ties are not include in
the financial statements above
Executive Committee -2005/2006
English Westerners' Society