History of Henry County

 

History of Women's Clubs
of
Henry County

This thorough historical record of the Women's Clubs of Henry County, illustrates the dedication to community service, care and respect for those in need and the organization's sincere purpose to make a  positive impact. Their example is nothing less than inspirational. The statements of introduction  below, which outline the beliefs, focus and purpose, are today as valid  a template for good citizenship, as they were in 1921. Indeed this portion of the Henry County 100th birthday celebration of 1921, was not only a record of accomplishment but also a record of the identity of those that lived.

By Mrs. E. M. Copeland

 

History of Women's Clubs
of
Henry County

By Mrs. E. M. Copeland

 

Women have been organizing themselves into clubs for the general purpose of receiving mutual counsel and helpfulness and that their united influence and service might promote educational, civic, social, and moral advancement in the community, county, and state. They have felt that they must establish new and better purpose in life; must believe in and practice sincerity to each other, kindness to all with whom they come in contact, in generous love and strong friendship. They must seek the good in every person, and with charity, truth, and reverence as keywords to life's cipher, must develop to its highest power every capability of mind, soul, and body.  

Then with incontrovertible faith in beautiful and harmonious law and the ultimate triumph of the Divine in man must consecrate themselves anew to the service of God and humanity.  

There are now more than 40,000 women in Georgia who have pledged themselves to greater and nobler service.  

Every true woman wears the badge of service from that of home to that of public good. The club -women are called the unpaid servants of humanity. They are making every effort: to practice thrift as requested by the government.  

They are urging state censorship for movies to secure better and cleaner pictures.  

Modern dress and the modern ways of the youth of today have been protested against.  

Club women are thoroughly interested in every phase of education. It has been said that "man has more faith in life as a teacher - the woman more faith in schools," and she has given ample proof of this faith in sponsoring rural schools, in organizing school improvement clubs in rural districts, cooperating with school authorities in obliterating illiteracy, securing consolidation of schools, and in library work. They have provided a student loan fund for the benefit of girls who are unable to secure educational advantages. About 170 girls have been aided through this Student Loan Fund. They may attend any school in the United States and while most have attended our various Georgia schools many have gone to Columbia, Vanderbilt, Chicago University, and Vassar. They are maintaining a real mission school at Tallulah Falls for the benefit of the mountain children. These children board in the school and are taught in the literary department and also industrial arts. Many wonderful and gratifying results have come from this school, particularly one mountain girl has shown such genius in the industrial arts that she has become a teacher in the institution and has had her expenses paid for special training in New York for the past two summers.  

Last year we advocated some law by which mothers with young babies could receive instruction and care. On December 6th following, the Sheppard-Towner bill was introduced in congress and it is receiving the earnest support of club women all over the states. It will provide just the help for which we asked, but as yet Georgia has made no provision for pensioning widows with dependent children. Many clubs have been instrumental in having medical inspection placed in the schools.  

Citizenship is uppermost in the minds of the new citizens at present and especially the two phases which must receive immediate attention. First, Registration. No time must be lost in conforming to the latter of the law by registering. Second, Preparation for Citizenship. Study citizenship, know its methods. Let the motto be, "Every club a training camp for citizenship."  

Our question today is not whether we want suffrage or not but how are we going to use it? The power has been placed upon us and the club women are going to meet the issue squarely and prepare themselves for their responsibilities. Instead of pleading for what women want, the women can simply decide what they want and secure the promise before the vote in cast for the candidate. The policy of the federation has always been and will continue to be "measures not men, policies not party," but let it be also known, there are 7,000 more women in Georgia than men. We will see that women are not going into their new power to seek to wrest from men the reins of government nor to be their rivals in places of power. It will be the privilege of woman to be in the affairs of state. as she has been in those of the home, his helpmeet, and together they will solve the problems that confront them and together work to make the world a better place to live in.

Henry County Federation

The Henry County Federation of Women's Clubs was organized in February, 1917, for the purpose of stimulating club work in Henry County by mutual counsel and co-operation.  

The co-operative spirit of the clubs is gratifying and helpful. The definite work now planned is that each club shall endeavor to organize one School Improvement Club during each year until every community shall have been reached, thus securing better schools, school facilities and general community improvement in towns and outlying districts. We are glad to report that Hampton, through Miss Emily Griffin, has organized such a club near them and is planning to organize a School Improvement Club for their school. The other clubs are making similar efforts in this direction.  

County exchange library system has also been planned, beginning in clubs already organized, and extending to others as they shall be organized, hoping by this movement to lay foundation for a County Circulating Library.  

Mrs. John Brown, of Locust Grove, was first president; Mrs. Rosser Ward, of Stockbridge, succeeding her. The office at present is 4eld by Mrs. E. M. Copeland, of McDonough, with Mrs. R. H. Daniel, secretary and treasurer.  

The county presidents have visited the clubs and have found splendid enthusiastic organizations with capable, efficient leaders, who have proven themselves a tower of strength to the Federation. Three county conventions have been held with distinguished club women addressing the assemblies, among whom were the late lamented Mrs. Nellie Peters Black, then president of the Georgia Federation; Mrs. Samuel Lumpkin, national chairman of Thrift; Miss Templeton of Library commission, and Mrs. Alonzo Richardson, state chairman of Citizenship.  

The Federation through a petition to County Road Commissioner, helped to secure a splendid highway between McDonough and Locust Grove, also asked officials to remove old carpet from the court house stairway and remove other objectionable features to which request they courteously complied. Federation made donation of $100.00 to Tallulah Falls School.  

The representatives of the Federation met with the teachers at their County Institute in December, 1920, and tendered to them co-operation in every possible way and in turn the teachers pledged co-operation in the school improvement work which was very gratifying, as this work must be accomplished jointly in a sympathetic understanding way. At this meeting the Federation served a delicious luncheon to the teachers and the two parted in hearty good will.  

The Federation is designed to be a real power in club work and we feel that it is beginning to fulfill its object.

Women's Club of Stockbridge

We will begin by paying tribute to the mother of all club life in Stockbridge, Mrs. Harriet Tucker Hawkins, feeling the need of something worth while and uplifting for her community, conceived the idea of forming a study class known as the Mildred Rutherford Historical Circle.  

In 1916 Mrs. R. H. Hankinson, president of the Sixth District Federation, addressed the Circle on importance of joining the State Federation which they decided to do, becoming Stockbridge Woman's Club. First meeting was held at home of Mrs. Augustus Swann where constitution and by-laws were adopted and officers elected, Mrs. Edward Austin being first president, Mrs. Augustus Swann following and Mrs. Rosser Ward now holding that office.  

The charter members were, Mrs. S. C. McWilliams, Mrs. R. H. Hankinson, Mrs. Harriet Hawkins, Mrs. Ed Austin, Mrs. Augustus Swann, Miss Ward McWilliams, and Mrs. Berry Hinton.  

Miss Ward McWilliams represented the club at state convention held in Macon in October, 1916. Mrs. Augustus Swann and Mrs. Rosser Ward represented the club at Griffin, May 22. 1918, at district convention.  

The first work undertaken was beautifying the school grounds by planting pecan trees and making other improvements which the club continues to do from year to year. In 1917 a civic committee was appointed which immediately formulated plans for clean-up-week, this custom has been strictly adhered to since.  

In response to patriotic call the club invested in war savings stamps and Liberty bonds, and sent a box to Belgian sufferers. Later Red Cross work was taken up at which members labored untiringly, also sending boxes of jellies and delicacies' to the hospital at Fort McPherson.  

Twenty dollars was contributed to Red Cross and a war orphan was adopted by club. The club also contributed to the purchase of a piano for school. Regular contributions have been made to Tallulah Falls School, Student Aid Fund, and Ella F. White Memorial.  

Mrs. Augustus Swann and Mrs. Bessie Ward were representatives to district convention in Macon in May, 1919. Mrs. Rosser Ward attended district convention at Round Oak, and also was delegate to state convention in Atlanta in 1920.  

The club entertained the County Federation at home of Mrs. S. C. McWilliams April 21, 1920. Mrs. Samuel Lumpkin and Miss Charlotte Templeton being among the distinguished guests. The club entertained the chamber of commerce with officials of Radcliffe Chautauqua at a luncheon hoping to create interest in the chautauqua movement to be given under auspices of Woman's Club.  

To stimulate interest in club work visitors from other clubs were invited to meet with them. The club joined with the County Federation in giving a luncheon to the teachers of the County Institute at their December meeting in McDonough, thus stimulating interest along educational lines and pledging co-operation with the teachers and trustees of our schools. Nineteen members are enrolled at present.

Hampton Civic League

The Hampton Civic League was organized in 1915 by Miss Celeste Parish for the purpose of interesting the women in the upbuilding of their school. It was federated later.  

Since that time the Club has been one of the most active organizations of the town under the leadership of the following presidents: Mrs. C. N. Fields, Mrs. Tyman Bowden, Mrs. Rome Moore, and Mrs. Grady Fears. It has always stood for the highest civic interests of the community as well as for the highest good of home, school, and children. It has grown steadily in numbers and influence and has accomplished much that is valuable to the town.  

During the war club members did active and effective war work, Red Cross activities, and sent many delicacies to soldiers at Fort McPherson. Supported a French orphan during the war and co-operated with the government in all of its requests to bring peace as quickly as possible.  

To Near East Relief it has contributed $20,00. has provided medicine and clothing for a needy family, and furnished one picnic dinner for the convicts; also makes yearly donations to Tallulah Falls School.  

Much time and effort have been devoted to educational work lectures and lyceum numbers of the club. Special interest has been taken in the upkeep and beautifying of public school building and play ground. A library, book cases, a lavatory, and other necessities have been installed in school building. School grounds have been improved by cement walks, flowers, hedges, and play ground equipment.  

A club of county women has been organized and fostered, also a troop of girl scouts is being sponsored by the club, and club is co-operating with county chairman of registration.  

On the 22nd of April the club entertained the County Federation at the home of Mrs. J. O. Turner. This meeting was of great interest and Mrs. Alonzo Richardson charmed the assembly with her delightful manner and the very practical message which she delivered on Citizenship.

Locust Grove Woman's Club

The Locust Grove Civic League was organized in 1913 as a result of a union prayer meeting of the Methodist and Baptist Missionary Societies for the purpose of civic improvement.  

In 1914 quite an interesting event was the first "clean up" day when all the members turned out in full force, serving a delightful basket luncheon at the noon hour. During the rest hour the mayor and pastors of the churches made short addresses commending the splendid public spirit of the club, and always since this time the organization has met with the heartiest co-operation of the men of the town, who realize that the club stands for the highest good of the community.  

Mrs. Claude Gray was first president and served until the civic league federated in 1917, when its name was changed to Locust Grove Woman's Club. Mrs. John Gardner became president and has been succeeded by Mrs. John S. Brown who now fills that office.  

The club fulfilled its patriotic duties during the great war by entering into all of the activities to which the women were called, and the record made will ever be a matter of pride because of the devotion and sacrifices so freely offered in the cause of liberty to- secure the safety of the' world.  

The club each year donates $5.00 each to cleaning of public buildings and parks. Hedges have been planted around the school grounds and trees are planted where needed.  

Flowers also have been planted to beautify many barren spots and seats have been placed in parks for the comfort of the public, also swings for the pleasure of the children.  

Arbor Day was observed this year. Quite a number of trees were planted and an appropriate program was rendered by pupils of the Gramman School. The club donated $75.00 for this work.  

The club contributed regularly to Tallulah Falls School.  

The social service committee visits the sick and cheers them with gifts of flowers.  

Means of raising funds for civic improvements are many and varied - mostly by entertainments consisting of programs. A George Washington party netted quite a neat sum. Yearly a Halloween party is given -which is the largest social affair. The whole town is invited and the largest building of the town is secured to accommodate the merry makers.  

The usual Halloween games are played and many things are sold from the gaily decorated booths. This entertainment nets about $100.00.  

Many books have been bought each year and donated both to Grammar School and Locust Grove Institute. Through this means and other ways the Institute has acquired quite a nice library which is used by the town at large.  

This club has a membership of sixty-two loyal and willing workers whose past achievements are but the promise of a fuller and brighter future - when the women, who have come into their own, will be a great uplifting force in every phase of community, county, and state life.

McDonough Woman's Club

McDonough Woman's Club was organized through special efforts of Mrs. Paul Turner, at her home, April 18, 1916. Mrs. Bruce Jones, of Macon, the president of Sixth District Federation of Clubs, presided at this meeting and also federated the club at that time. There were thirty-eight charter members, and Mrs. R. H. Hankinson was first president. Later she was succeeded by Mrs. E. M. Copeland. Mrs. Adam Sloan now holds the office.  

The first and possibly most important work done by the club was founding a library. Beginning with a few volumes donated by club members and interested friends, it has grown through the years by donation and purchase until 1,300 volumes have been accumulated. Homeless at the beginning it was provided for at various times by courtesy of Copeland-Turner Mere Co., First National Bank, and T. A. Sloan & Co. Outgrowing its quarters from time to time necessitated many moves. At last more commodious quarters were offered by the County in its splendid court house, which the club gladly accepted, feeling now that a permanent home had been procured. Some spacious rooms have been fitted up in the basement - beautifully cleaned, calcimined, shelved, and painted - providing not only library space but a room for county club meetings and a much needed rest room for the visiting ladies from other parts of the county. The rest room has been made comfortable by some furnishings done by the club but much more will be done in the near future.  

A beautiful and substantial wall has been built about the park at the instigation of the club, part of the funds being raised by the club.  

County and club working in co-operation have made this the greatest civic improvement of the town.  

Flowers have been planted about the court house and seed have been supplied by club for planting city park, which adds much to the appearance of the town, also civic pride has been stimulated by public clean-up days.  

Through club efforts a curtain for stage in the school auditorium was secured and material for decorating the stage was donated at one time.  

The club has the honor of fostering the Red Cross movement in McDonough, securing its organization through earnest and patriotic effort. The club women during the war period gave themselves entirely to war work, not alone to Red Cross, but to Belgian relief and conservation - holding two canning and substitute food demonstrations. Also at the government's request making house to house canvas to get food conservation cards signed and selling Liberty bonds, and Thrift Stamps. In fact, co-operating in every possible way to bring victory to American arms and thereby peace to a war-torn and broken- hearted world.  

Of the $1,448.00 raised by the club in the past five years, contributions have been made to the State Federation causes - Tallulah Falls School and Student Aid Fund.  

A war orphan was supported during the war period and a substantial contribution was made to Near East Relief Fund.  

Over $400.00 in bonds and thrift stamps have been set apart as pledge to the Memorial fund, which cause has been temporarily suspended because of stringency of the times.  

During these years regular study courses have been carried on - Parliamentary Law, History of Georgia, History of the Great War and Its Outstanding Figures, and latterly, Citizenship in Many of Its Phases.  

Many distinguished club women have been guests and have delivered addresses before the body, among whom were Mrs. R. L. Berner, of Macon; Mrs. Nellie Peters Black, of Atlanta; Mrs. J. E. Hayes, of Montezurna, president of Georgia Federation; Mrs. Hugh Wellett, of Atlanta, director of Tallulah Falls School, and Mrs. Samuel Inman, State Director of National Federation Club entertained the Sixth District Federation in May, 1917, at the Presbyterian Church. Many state officers were present and club members had opportunity to meet and hear these veterans of club service, gaining both information and inspiration.

By Mrs. E. M. Copeland

1921

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