Jeff Bishop is Newnan-Coweta Historical Society’s executive director.
He received his Master’s in Public History from the University of West Georgia. His master’s thesis examines new ways to restore authentic Cherokee voices to the telling of the Trail of Tears story. While at the University of West Georgia, he worked with the National Park Service to develop wayside exhibits that interpret the Trail of Tears in Georgia and writing a new Georgia Trail of Tears map and brochure. He is the author of historical novel “A Cold Coming” relating chilling events in a west Georgia family during the early 1900s. He also was commissioned to write a new play relating events of the John Wallace murder trial that led to the book and movie “Murder in Coweta County.” The new play “Flies at the Well” was debuted by Newnan Theatre Company at Newnan’s Wadsworth Auditorium in spring 2016. In April 2017 he was appointed by Gov. Nathan Deal to the Georgia Historical Records Advisory Council. Bishop lives in Newnan, GA with his wife, Barbara. They have five children.
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Jessie Merrell joined the NCHS staff in January 2015 as a curation specialist and was named curator in 2016. Merrell is a graduate of the University of West Georgia with a Bachelor of Arts in History and English Literature and is continuing her studies in public history as a graduate student. She also has an Associate’s Degree in Business Administration from Gordon College. “I look forward to using my degree and love of history in my new position with the historical society,” she said of being named curator. “Working with the community and Jeff Bishop will be exciting and fun and I hope together we can create exciting exhibits and programs.”
Her interest in history began with researching her family history and relating their events to the world around them. That led her to a greater appreciation for the letters, photographs and other items that helped to tell their stories. She served in summer of 2014 as the Research and Archives intern for Newnan-Coweta Historical Society. “I hope to be able to preserve the important documents that will help tell the story of Newnan for future generations and to help give insight into what life was like for those before us!” she said.
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Ellen Corker is the newest staff member of the Newnan-Coweta Historical Society.
As part of her duties she assists with managing the historical society’s office at McRitchie-Hollis Museum, coordinating the historical society websites and social media, and other staffing needs. Corker is also involved with exhibitions and events at the society’s two downtown Newnan facilities, McRitchie-Hollis Museum and the Depot History Center.
Her new position was approved at the Nov. 3, 2015, meeting of the NCHS Board of Directors. Corker had been overseeing the NCHS website and Facebook pages as a volunteer since October 2014. She has been active with the historical society since retiring as news editor for The Newnan Times-Herald, where she spent 37 years serving the community bringing information with an emphasis on local news coverage. She saw the newspaper grow from a weekly to a bi-weekly and a daily publication during her tenure.
“Ellen has been our most outstanding volunteer this year and we are thrilled to have her on board as our newest staff member,” said NCHS Executive Director Jeff Bishop of Corker in 2015. “The skills she developed for years in the news business are a perfect fit for us when it comes to increasing outreach and getting the word out about all the great things we have going on at the Newnan-Coweta Historical Society,” he said.
A native of Atlanta, Corker has lived in Newnan with her husband Tom since joining the Times-Herald in 1977. She is a graduate of the Henry W. Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication at the University of Georgia with a BA in journalism. She attended Henry W. Grady High School in Atlanta.
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