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Historical society banquet welcomes all

The Natchez Historical Society will host its 60th Annual Membership Banquet at 6:30 p.m. Jan. 28 at the Grand Hotel, 111 Broadway St. The cost is $35 per person for dinner and dessert. Please make your reservation by Jan. 14 by calling 601-446-5742.

Featured as part of this year’s Membership Banquet is a musical program by Natchez musicians Burnley Cook and David Troutman titled “The Story of Bud Scott and His Music.”

Clarence “Bud” Scott Sr. (1876-1938) was a lifelong resident of Natchez. According to a biography compiled by the Mississippi Blues Trail Commission, Scott led one of the most popular dance bands in the Mississippi-Louisiana area during the early part of the twentieth century.

He performed for three U. S. presidents. The 1938 Federal Writers’ Project named him among the six most nationally prominent Mississippi-born musicians. A multi-instrumentalist, Scott was proficient on guitar, banjo and mandolin. His grave is one of the historical attractions at the Natchez City Cemetery.

The Natchez Historical Society was officially chartered in January, 1954. Under the leadership of the society’s first president, Edith Wyatt Moore, the society focused its goals on the preservation and collection of historical materials.

To carry out its mission, the Society purchased the historic Coyle House on South Wall Street in 1960. Through a successful fundraising campaign, the society accomplished a complete restoration of the house with furnishings and landscaping.

During the 1980s, the Society operated a museum in the Memorial Hall building on South Pearl Street, exhibiting a collection of donated artifacts representing many aspects of local history.

Important collections acquired by the society include the Scharff Collection of prints and the Natchez Printing Collection.

In 2002, the Society published Natchez Images 1880-1960, a book featuring numerous illustrations on printing blocks from the Natchez Printing Collection. The society also contributes funds to numerous community history projects and preservation efforts, including Armstrong Library, the Judith Sargent Murray historical marker, Natchez City Cemetery, Historic Jefferson College and Historic Natchez Foundation.

With its Preservation Award, the society has recognized the outstanding preservation efforts of more than 31 individuals and organizations since the award was established in 1973.

One of the society’s most ambitious projects was moving the George and Elizabeth Miller Memorial Fountain back to its original location at the corner of Main and Commerce streets from the fountain’s “temporary” site on the Natchez Bluff. The City moved the fountain to the Bluff in 1926 during a street repair project and never followed through in putting it back.

Society members conducted research on the fountain’s history and contracted with a stonemason to accomplish the task.

In 2006, the society launched an annual lecture series in honor of local preservationist and civic leader Grace MacNeil.

The Natchez Historical Society hosts monthly meetings, except during June-August, with informative programs by guest speakers on a variety of historical topics.

 

Jim Barnett is publicity chairman for Natchez Historical Society.