Minutes of Meeting

Coppell Historical Society

January 9, 2010


Present:  Barbara Lee, Tom Botzau, Nan Botzau, Pat Lambert, Jean Murph, Dave Murph, Joy Onstott, Joanne Smith, Delbert Onstott, Kevin Mote, Barbara Webster, Pete Wilson.


President Barbara Lee called the meeting to order at 10:25 a.m.


Minutes of last month’s meeting were approved as corrected.  (Kevin Mote had been listed as president of the Cemetery Committee; Pat Lambert is the president.)


Dave Murph gave a treasurer’s report which showed one expenditure of $325 to Cornerstone (Peggy Riddle) and one item of income, the $5,000 grant from the City of Coppell.  The current balance is $56,801.68.


Dave Murph suggested that we invest a portion of our cash in short-term CDs or something similar since we will not be needing all our cash immediately.  Our expected upcoming major expenditures will be for outfitting the Kirkland House, but a number of items have already been purchased, and the delay in restoring the house will mean that the other expenditures may not take place for a while.  It was agreed that Dave will look into the best choices; he was authorized to invest up to $30,000.  Moved by Pete Wilson; seconded by Barbara Webster.


Barbara Lee reported on her efforts to acquire the unclaimed funds (slightly over $3,600) that belong to the defunct Historic Bethel Cemetery Association.  She met with State Representative Jim Jackson and solicited his help.  Mr. Jackson doubted that there is anything that can be done, but he promised to look into the matter.  Pete Wilson explained that the problem is that the non-profit association was dissolved in 2007 by the State of Texas when there was no response to at least two letters which were sent to the association’s official corporate address, which, of course, was the address of Mary Evelyn Mobley, who had passed away.  We have already addressed the matter by sending a letter to the Secretary of State, explaining the situation, signed by the three former members of the association and Barbara Lee, Pete Wilson, and City Manager Clay Phillips.  But the State responded that the funds could not be handed over to us.


Jean Murph suggested that perhaps we should organize a number of people to complain to the state about this matter.  Although there are legal complications, it is obvious that these funds should not revert to the State and that they should be used for the purpose for which they were raised.  After all, it is not difficult to establish that our Society, or at least the City of Coppell, should be able to claim these funds and use them for maintaining Bethel Cemetery.


The new cemetery committee will be addressing the maintenance of all Coppell cemeteries, and, specifically, the maintenance of the Historic Bethel Cemetery.  One option to consider is for our Society to purchase a new lawnmower to replace the one now out of service at Bethel Cemetery.  However, it is logical that the committee will discuss city maintenance first, before we assume that responsibility.


Don Carter was not present at the meeting to give a report of his committee, the nominating committee.  We will hope to elect new officers within the next couple of months.  New officers are installed in May.


Pat Quinlan was not present at the meeting to give a report of the Kirkland House committee, but members present reported that Peggy Riddle is working diligently to find the interior hardware we need, such as doorknobs and lighting fixtures.  Delbert Onstott mentioned that he has several antique doorknobs that might work and that we would be welcome to use them.


Work on installing the façade of the old service station onto the building owned by Michael’s Wood Floors will begin this month.


Peggy Riddle says that she has everything she needs to complete our display case that will be in the new Senior Citizens’/Community Center.


The group recognized the outstanding article in the Citizen’s Advocate last week about concern for preserving the Bullock Cemetery in light of present development.  Kevin Mote’s comments were relevant and timely.


There was discussion about publishing a map that shows Coppell historical sites, such as the town cemeteries, the Kirkland house, Grapevine Springs Park, etc.  This would satisfy our need to spend some of the recent city money given to us for educational purposes.  If cemeteries are included, we may need to wait until street development takes place around the Bullock Cemetery.


Work on the video about Coppell’s history has been delayed, partly by the weather, partly by a need to re-record some video already made, and partly by a need to re-write some of the script to reflect recent information that has come to light about the identity of George Coppell.  However, Pete Wilson reported that the work will resume shortly.


Yearly membership dues of $10 are due now.  Pete Wilson will send out a message to persons who are on our email list.  Barbara Lee emphasized the need to increase our membership.  Nan Botzau commented on a need to involve younger persons and on the importance of historical preservation for the good health of a community.  It was decided not to drop names from our email list or from our mailing list, even if persons do not renew by paying dues.  Some interested persons may be unable to travel to meetings; others may like keeping up with our activities through reading our minutes and might be of assistance to our Society at a later time.


We will set up a table or booth at each of the upcoming market days at the Farmers’ Market:  January 16, February 20, and March 20.  Barbara Lee, Pat Lambert, and Joanne Smith will take charge of this activity.


There was some discussion about the fact that once the new Senior Citizens’ building is opened and the present one is closed, we may have trouble finding a place for our monthly meetings.  The City has already established guidelines for the use of the new Senior Citizens’ building, and a substantial fee is required each time a room is used.  However, if we pursue the matter, the City might make some sort of provision for our Society, especially since we have been included in the building’s interior design:  the major display case for which we are in charge.  There was discussion about the fact that Coppell seems to build at taxpayers’ expense facilities that are for citizen use, but then the fees that are required to use them often make the buildings sit empty.


The next meeting of the Coppell Historical Society will be February 13.


The meeting was adjourned at 11:45 a.m.



Wheelice (Pete) Wilson, Jr.

Recording Secretary

Coppell Historical Society

Cell 972-741-3894

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