ENGLISH WESTERNERS' SOCIETY
REPORT OF THE
59TH ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING
HELD ON SATURDAY, 3RD OCTOBER 2015
AT DOGGETT'S COAT & BADGE
Doggett’s was once again the venue for our AGM and although the weather started foggy, the sun soon burned through to leave us with a pleasant day, neither too cold for socialising on the balcony nor too hot so that we had to have the windows open. The sound of city life often makes it difficult to hear those giving their talks. Thank you to the staff at Doggett’s, to the members who attended, and to those who entertained and educated us so magnificently.
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 CHAIRMAN’S REPORT OF THE DAY
Members and guests had started to congregate for morning coffee and tea in the Terrace Bar at Doggett’s around 10 o’clock and by 11 o’clock. twenty-one members and two guests had assembled in the conference room for the business part of the meeting. We were particularly delighted to welcome Mike Bell, together with his American guest Mac Blewer, author of Wyoming Outlaw Trails, and Andy Doonan and his wife, to their first AGM. Having stood in silence in memory of our late President, Joe Rosa, I circulated a composite Report for the year ending 31 August 2015 and various matters were discussed with members. That concluded, all the officers were re-elected to serve for another one-year term, apart from the Chairman, Francis Taunton, who was re-elected for a third two-year term in office. With the production of two major Special Publications in the past year, the committee co-opted Peter Russell to assist with copy-editing and proof reading. Peter joins the committee as an assistant editor.
The official part over, we handed the floor to Mike Bell at 11.25am who regaled us for nearly ninety minutes on the exploits of Butch Cassidy and his celebrated Wild Bunch; a most impressive performance. This was followed by lunch, taken by nineteen members and two guests. By the time of our annual photo-shoot at 2.15pm, another seven members and four guests had joined us and this heralded the start of the afternoon’s programme. Owing to technical difficulties, Brian Keefe’s talk had to be temporarily postponed, but Allan Radbourne came to the rescue with an interesting look at members of the Pawnee Battalion. The auction that followed raised no less than £195 this year – a truly magnificent sum. Tea, taken shortly after 4 o’clock, was followed by Brian’s weighty presentation – without slides or illustrated support - providing a valuable insight into the origins of the Cheyenne, referring to the communality of belief and folklore with Asiatic and Caucasian peoples of the distant past and speculating on its origin and causes. At 5.20pm the day’s events came to an end, and the meeting cheerfully dispersed, though some hardy folk adjourned after 6 o’clock to other bars at Doggett’s to continue their discourse on the Old ‘Wild’ West into the evening.
A really remarkable day, which was clearly enjoyed by everyone present! FBT
THE SECRETARY’S REPORT
The membership at this time totals 156, which is made up of 113 UK members and 43 associate (overseas) members. The membership therefore remains stable.
There have been few enquiries about the Society during the year, though we do have three new members.
Last November, the Society held its first provincial meeting outside London when a few members gathered for lunch at the Burlington Hotel in Birmingham city centre. This was an informal meeting and discussions focussed upon visits to locations in the West, and the sharing of photos. Another meeting is planned at the same venue this November.
Once again the Society has entered the contest for the annual Heads Up Award held by Westerners International as part of its annual awards each autumn. The category we are in is for the Overseas Corrals and it is given for one or a combination of the following: programmes (meetings), membership, publications, activities and community contributions. The Award has now been achieved by the Society twice in recent years. It is felt that the EWS publications have played a decisive part in the awards decisions, together with the Langney Primary School Wild West report in 2014. (This would come under the heading of community contributions.) Also, it is likely that the stable Society membership which the Society maintains, even though it is not vast, is a contributing factor. RC
The Brand Book: The Brand Book programme remains up to date and we have material in the pipeline for the next year or so, although I always welcome new contributions. As is often the case, my main editorial difficulty is maintaining a balance of subjects, whilst still trying to publish members’ papers within a reasonable timescale.
The last three Brand Books (volume 48, numbers 1, 2 & 3) were Corporal Edward Scott, Frontier Cavalryman by Allan Radbourne, Black Elk, Mexican Joe & Buffalo Bill: The Real Story by Tom Cunningham and Edge of Darkness – The Final Days of Ben Thompson by Doug Ellison. Doug’s paper has won a prize from the Ben Thompson Preservation Foundation and other recent publications have contributed to us winning two Heads Up Awards from Westerners International.
The first Brand Book of volume 49 will be Reminiscences of Sam Graham, the recollections of a Texas Ranger, edited by Chuck Parsons. That article is likely to be followed by a paper on 7th Cavalry Trooper John Stuart Forbes by Peter Russell and a further instalment of Keith Robinson’s Fist Fighting Out West articles. Further contributions from Francis Taunton, Phil Robinson, Chris Penn, Susan Forsyth, Allan Radbourne, Roy O’Dell, and others are in preparation. I appreciate that some authors have waited quite a while for their work to be published and I wish to express my gratitude for their patience.
Special Publications: The Diamond Jubilee Publication proceeds apace. The first volume, Peter Harrison’s Monahsetah, was published last December and has been well received. The second volume, Deadly Days in the Old West, was published last month and has also elicited a very positive response. The final volume, dealing with the Indian Wars, is in a more inchoate state awaiting further contributions. The content of that volume is yet to be finalised. Other potential Special Publications are in the pipeline, including what promises to be a ground-breaking paper on the Fetterman Fight by Francis Taunton.
Finally, I would like to thank Francis Taunton and Bob Wybrow for their continuing help and support with the production of the Brand Book, as well as their work – together with Peter Russell – on the Special Publications. I also congratulate Michelle Pollard on the high standard that she has maintained with the Tally Sheet. GML
Tally Sheet: The Tally Sheet continues to showcase the articles, book reviews and interesting items provided by members. Thank you for your contributions; I look forward to reading more in the coming year. As with the Brand Book, there is a constant need for balance within each edition so, like Gary, I will always encourage contributions. We know from our member’s list that we have a wide range of interests and we hope to reflect that in the publications we produce.
I would like to extend thanks to Gary Leonard for the time and effort he puts into both the Brand Book and also our Facebook page, which, at the time of going to press, has 485 followers. Although we realise that this is not necessarily a commodity used by all our members, it forms a huge part of advertising our Society and promoting the History to the outside world. MP
SOCIETY MEMBERSHIP: This remains stable with a current membership of 156 made up as follows: Honorary Officers – 0; Founder members – 1; Committee members – 8; Secretary to the Committee – 1; Full UK members – 103, Overseas associates – 43.
Executive Committee -20015/2016
Note: Although no longer serving on the committee, Mary Christian, with the help of her husband Mike, kindly continues to mail our publications to members as before for which the committee are extremely grateful.