The Bullitt County History Museum

Bullitt Memories: Bullitt County Woman's Club

The following article by David Strange originally appeared in The Courier-Journal on 27 Feb 2013. It is archived here with additional information for your reading enjoyment.


In early 1900's America, change was in the air. On August 18, 1919, after years of effort and sacrifice, the Nineteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution was ratified, giving women the right to vote. But that was just one sign of a growing movement of women not only demanding their rights, but taking responsibility.

Even in the seemingly prosperous "Roaring Twenties," there was much that needed to be done, and women were working to do it. That was true even in little rural Bullitt County.

In 1923, Bullitt County had a population of about 9,400, compared to 78,000 today. Of those 9400, about 2600 were listed as illiterate. Twenty-eight percent of the population could not read. Some people were prospering. But oh so many more were not.

Ninety years ago this year, in 1923, the Bullitt County Woman's Club was born. To be more accurate, the club was first formed as the Woman's Club of Shepherdsville, changing its name in 1927 to "The Woman's Club of Bullitt County," to reflect its county-wide scope, and then finally to "Bullitt County Woman's Club" in 1934.

The club got off to a fast start, focusing partly on self improvement through cultural and intellectual awareness, but quickly taking a lead role in improving the lives of all Bullitt Countians.

Recognizing the dramatic need of better literacy in the county, the club quickly created Bullitt County's first public library in 1924 with 500 books donated by Mr. W.H. Troll, with other books added to the collection by the members.


Dedication of Ridgway Library in 1963

That first small, but oh so major step forward, grew into what is today a county public library system of which we can all be proud. But it took a lot of work and sacrifice for these community-minded volunteers to first get the library on its feet.

The library of books was first housed in a room provided by St. Aloysius Catholic Church, with Woman's Club volunteers serving as librarian. Over the next thirty years, the library moved from the church to the county courthouse, to the First Baptist Church, to the home of Ms. Verna Jones, and to the home of Judge Morrows. Over those thirty years, the Woman's Club bore nearly the entire expense of the library, serving the public good.


Club Meeting in June 1971;
Two ladies in middle (second row) are
Fannie Bell Henderson and Hester Belle Hardaway.

In 1963, thanks to the generosity of the Ridgway family and the leadership and fundraising of the Bullitt County Woman's Club, the library obtained its first permanent home. That year the Ridgway Memorial Library was established and dedicated by Samuel H. Ridgway, Jr., and Billy Howard Smith, grandson of Dr. & Mrs. S. H. Ridgway in the former family home. That house was eventually replaced by a new building located on the same site, and then replaced in turn by an even nicer building just a few years ago.

But as major a contribution to Bullitt County as is the establishment of the popular public library system, it is only one of many community accomplishments of the county woman's club.

The list is far too long to tell you here. There are two large file cabinets full of information at the Ridgway Memorial Library, and a folder of club history at the Bullitt County History Museum.


Bullitt County Woman's Club officers 1978. l/r:
Hester Belle Hardaway, Betty Porter, Libby Bass, Donna Stout, Jill Edison, Beth MacCracken, Penny Pack.

The club established some of the first health units in the county. Club efforts and backing brought the first water and sewage treatment systems to Shepherdsville. Club members did not just ask for these things, but organized, did the paper work, and walked the door-to-door work necessary to make such things really happen.

Over these ninety years of existence, a primary focus of the club has been the youth of Bullitt County. Several playgrounds were sponsored. Books were collected to give to children. Club efforts helped establish the county parks and recreation program in 1972. In recognition of long-time leader Irene Carroll, the Irene Carroll Scholarship Program was started in 1972. Since that time, over $250,000 in scholarships have been awarded to Bullitt County students.


Irene Carroll with 1983 scholarship winners
Monty Edwards, Alice Baggett, and Ronald Pierce.

In fact, the 42nd annual Irene Carroll Scholarship fundraising Luncheon and Fashion Show will be held March 23. You can help this effort by calling Betty Porter by March 4 to make reservations or for more information.

Irene Carroll was a former school teacher of Speech, English, and History at the old Shepherdsville High School. In the mid-1920s, she became a member of the Bullitt County Woman's Club, and remained a part of that organization for more than 63 years until her death in 1988. In 1936 she was named state secretary, and two years later she was president of the Kentucky Federation of Women's Clubs. Her interest in education contributed to the club's sponsorship of college scholarships for local students.

Understanding the importance of remembering our history, the Woman's Club participated in the restoration of the historic Woodsdale one-room schoolhouse.

Recent years have seen active club support of such programs as CASA, Shepherd's Shelter, the Center for Women and Families, and Operation Bright and Beautiful. Fundraisers include an annual chili supper in Shepherdsville, a cake sale in Mt. Washington, and the scholarship program luncheon and fashion show.

Current officers are: Gaye Gardner, President; Betty Porter, 2nd Vice President; Louise Cundiff, Secretary; Donna Stout, Treasurer; Jackie Allgeier, Parliamentarian; Trina Summers, Past President.

The Bullitt County Woman's Club's ninety years of active service marks it as the oldest volunteer organization in the county.

Happy anniversary, ladies!

Thank you for the memories that your work has made possible for so many.


Below you will find other information related to the club and its members.

Charter Members: Mrs. Susie Bridwell, Mrs. Ella Chappel, Mrs. Mary Collins, Mrs. C. C. Hackney, Mrs. Malcolm Harmon, Mrs. Pearl Ice, Mrs. Ivy McBride, Mrs. O. P. Means, Mrs. Ada Troutman, Mrs. Letitia Wilson.

Honorary Members: Anna Faye Crockett, Louise Terry, Eva Moser, Helen Underwood, Joan Walker, Roxie Bishop, Rhonda Welch.

Outstanding Club Woman of the Year Award: Helen Underwood (1982), Barbara Plenge (1983), Jane Sanders (1984), Dorothy Hartsell (1985), Cheryl Crenshaw (1986), Glenda Heath (1987), Janet Teensma (1990), Donna Stout (1991).

Past District Governors: Betty Porter, Carol McLaughlin, Donna Simpson, Barbara Wright.

Polly Cundiff - 1987 Kentucky Mother of the Year Award.

PAST PRESIDENTS

*Mrs. O.P. Mean*Nell Sanders Pike Becky Billings
 Mrs. C.C. Hackney  Lucille Warren Glenda Heath
*Mrs. Malcolm Harmon  Dorothy Hartsell Mary Florence Barnes
 Mrs. T,C. Carroll  Betty Robards Spradlin Janet Teensma
**Mrs. Lindsey Ridgeway  Anna Faye Crockett Elise Givhan Spainhour
 Mrs. Ralph Henderson  Betty Porter Debbie Higdon
 Mrs. A.M. Mulligan  Carolyn Waller Donna Price
 Mrs. H.H. Combs  Joyce Crigler Darlene Mann
 Mrs. Clay Porter  Carol Chitwood Cindy Story
***Mrs. Thelma Newman  JoAnn Barr Janet Ratliff
*Mrs. Ray Bush  Barbara Plenge*Sharon Klosterman
 Mrs. William Russell* Penny Pack Barbara Crume
 Mrs. Henry Buckman Beth MacCracken Nancy Stilwell
*Mrs. James Hardaway  Jill Edison Betty Fitzgerald
*Mrs. C.H. Hynds  Jan Stewart Sharon Satterly
***Mrs. Ethel Newman  Ellen Napier Lou Ann Moore
**Mrs. Henry Hamilton  Linda Crosby Barbara Wright
 Mrs. W.T. Finn  Helen Underwood Jackie Allgeier
*Mrs. Ted Lesch  Cheryl Moore Sue Calvert
 Mrs. Newton Helm  Libby Bass Judy Gardner
*Mrs. Gabe Bealmear*Carol McLaughlin Trina Summers
*Mrs. W.N. Griffin  Nan Abell
*Mrs. W.R. Bacon  Karen Robey
* Denote more than one year terms.

IN MEMORIAM

Mrs. Annie TrollMrs. Howard Hardin
Mrs. C. C. HackneyMrs. Ralph Henderson
Mrs. Ada TroutmanMrs. H. H. Combs
Mrs. L. L. BurkhalterMrs. Louella Schmitt
Mrs. Lindsey RidgewayMrs. Newton Helm
Mrs. O. P. MeansMrs. W. W. Griffin
Mrs. Ella ChappelMrs. Irene Carroll
Mrs. Frances CrossfieldMrs. James Cecil
Mrs. Robert HendersonMrs. M .L. Major
Mrs. Malcolm HarmonMrs. Pearl Quick
Mrs. Susie BridwellMrs. Ivy McBride
Mrs. Thomas CruthersMrs. Tom Givhan
Mrs. Pearl Lee Mrs. Polly Cundiff
Mrs. Robert SimmonsMrs. Thelma Newman
Mrs. Ray Bush Mrs. Mary Shuffett
Mrs. Mary CollinsMrs. Hester Belle Hardaway
Mrs. T. G. HarnedMrs. Ramona Greschel
Mrs. Margaret FosterMrs. Dorothy Hartsell
Mrs. Letitia WilsonMrs. Lucille Warren
Mrs. Henry HamiltonMrs. Willie Maye Hackett
Mrs. Fletcher SmithMrs. Magdalyn Porter
Miss Ethel NewmanMrs. Jane Sanders
Mrs. Ella HardyMs. Nell Sanders Pike
 Mrs. Mona Tamme

SCHOLARSHIP RECIPIENTS

1972Vickie Craddock
1973Debra Ray
1974Carolyn Coleman
1975Barbara Owen
1976Lowena Coleman
1977Tim McConnel
1978Beverly Reeks, James Shepherd, Theresa Vincent
1979Jeff Strange, Eddie Cambron, Charles Smith
1980Doug Large, Carla Washburn
1981Scott Gordon, Jennifer Brown, Theresa Lay
1982Gerald Burba, DeAnna Herr, Robert Kennedy
1983Monty Edwards, Ronald D. Pierce, Alice D. Baggett
1984Troy Thompson, Terry Patton, Kathryn Hennig
1985Terry Thomas, Mary Beth Simms, William Edwards
1986Dennis Mitchell, Bobbie French, Angela Roberts
1987Angela Carney, Darla S. Cole, Robert Hickman
1988Kristi Owen, Steven Miller, Melissa Cook
1989Eric Scott Elwell, Steven Miller, Melissa Cook
1990Kimberly Adams, Jessica Hester, Sheila Jordan
1991Travis J. Wright, Leslie Hillerick, Sherry Rafferty
1992Misty Schlatter, Suzanne Wick, Chris David England
1993Jeff Zinger, Julia Feedback, Kerry Weston
1994Julie Roemele, Christopher Hodge, Jason Schmidt
1995LeaAnn Breeden, Jane Richardson, Derek Hall
1996Maggie Schneider, Marcus Bourke, Sacha Dees
1997Karen Hardman, Danielle Herriford, Beth Mudd
1998Amanda Ferguson, William Ray McCrary, Olivia Korfhage
1999Mark Rawlings, Holly Skidmore, Elizabeth Osbourne
2000Stephanie Burden, Phoenix Freeman, Audra Harris
2001Scott Simmons, Heather Clifton, Brooks Skelton
2002Adam Bohannon, Josh Powell, Megan Anderson
2003Chareta Jennings, Josh McDaniel, Noelle Lewis
2004Krystal Light, Angela Cravens, Christy Denham
2005David Denham, Alex Wimsatt, Brittney Roederer, Madison Benock
2006Shelbi Dyer, Dustin Seabolt, Brandy Mason, Chad Perkins
2007Zachary Morris, Samanada Mattingly, Megan Hardin, Elisha Plummer
2008Kayla Pugh, Ashley Thornton, Daisy Lucie, Lori Rutledge
2009Courtney Fletcher, Tanner Greenwell, Christina Dilley, David Martin
2010Katie Saling, Ben Kemble, Lavella Hall
2011Brandon Gifford, Miciah Ocasio, Cameron Deacon, Sherah Fowler
2012Nikole Isabel, Sara Harper, Cynthia Keifer
Bullitt County Art Council Scholarship
2007Holly Riggs
2008Ryla Luttrel, Anthony Neace, Austin Jenkins

BULLITT COUNTY JUNIOR MISS

1973Sarah Routt1990Susan Bates
1974Debbie Thomas1991Amdrea Burden
1975Kim Sewell1992Lori Roby
1976Dinah Pike1993Krista Webb
1977Susan Farris1994Beth Hettinger
1978Denise Corum1995Sarah Zinger
1980Glenda Rice Watkins1996Julia Sander
1981Jackie Holt1997Jodi Harris
1982Theresa Higdon1998Tiffany Cobble
1983Renee Hamilton1999Leslie Dorris
1984Lisa Raymer2000Christine Nugent
1985Jennifer Porter2001Stacey Spears
1986no program2002Keisha Wooley
1987Robin Reynolds2003Ashley Dorris
1988Tiffany Teensma2004Chassidy Gibson
1989Emily Bryan2005Meredith Brown
  2006Kaitlyn Peace

Copyright 2013 by David Strange, Shepherdsville KY. All rights are reserved. No part of the content of this page may be included in any format in any place without the written permission of the copyright holder.


The Bullitt County History Museum, a service of the Bullitt County Genealogical Society, is located in the county courthouse at 300 South Buckman Street (Highway 61) in Shepherdsville, Kentucky. The museum, along with its research room, is open 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday; and from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Thursday. Admission is free. The museum, as part of the Bullitt County Genealogical Society, is a 501(c)3 tax exempt organization and is classified as a 509(a)2 public charity. Contributions and bequests are deductible under section 2055, 2106, or 2522 of the Internal Revenue Code. Page last modified: 12 Sep 2017 . Page URL: bullittcountyhistory.org/memories/womensclub.html