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Moments back in time...

HISTORY OF THE WALKER COUNTY EXTENSION HOMEMAKERS CLUBS 1911-1982

 (Article written in 1982 by Willie Barton about the earlier years in Walker County-with notes on the Walker County Homemaker Extension Council submitted by Willie Barton)

 

In the early days life centered around the farm. Father passed his knowledge on to his son and Mother taught the girls homemaking skills. Dreams were ever present for a better life. Out of these dreams the Land-Grant College (Auburn) came into being and through this program the farmer and the homemaker began to get information to make their roles an easier task. Farmers in Alabama began receiving help from county agents in 1907. In 1911 the Girls' Tomato Club was founded. This group was formed to teach the younger females how to raise and can tomatoes. Any woman over 21 might become a member. The only distinction between the older and younger tomato club members was, the younger ones were allowed to compete for prizes.
 
Some of the earlier records have been destroyed, however, the first available record of a home agent is dated 1928. Lucille Braswell was the agent then with eleven communities active. There were 5 clubs with 97 women as members. By the end of 1929 Mrs. Braswell listed 8 clubs with 183 members.
 
In July 1930 Achievement Day (then called Women's Rally) was held at the Methodist Church in Jasper. Eighty women attended. Seventy of these women entered dresses they had made (55 dresses in the Voile Dress Revue and 15 dresses in the Sack Dress Revue). Mrs. F. L. Knight of Thach won 1st place in Voile with Mrs. W. T. S. Burns winning 2nd prize.
 
Clubs during this time frame were Providence, Jasper, Union Chapel, Boldo, Prospect, Redmill, Sulphur Springs, Slate Creek, Manchester, Curry, Lupton, Kansas, Brown, Oak Grove, Nauvoo, Thach, Eldridge and Nix.
 
This period of homemaking was very difficult due to the Great Depression. Yet the women were diligent in their club work. They would walk several miles on dusty roads to attend a meeting, their youngster in tow. Sometimes the home agent would stop and pick up passengers in her car. Once the seats were filled the 'left-overs' jumped up on the running board and hung on for dear life as the agent drove to the next meeting. When the council met three times a year they met on a Saturday morning. That was when the husband came to town and he would give his wife a lift in the wagon to attend her meetings while he shopped and visited with other farmers.
 
During World War II the women were very busy with stamp sales, bond drives and saving bits of scrap metal for the 'war cause'.
 
By 1950 the number of clubs had increased to 37. But, the number had dropped to 22 by 1982.
 
Some of the demonstrations given during these years were:
'Tie Dyeing and Dyeing' (the Nauvoo Club dyed 297 garments in one day. )
'Princess Slips'
'Dry Cleaning'
'Foundation Corselets'
'Hot water bath canning'
'Making cotton mattresses'
'Making magazine racks'
'Care of the bed during childbirth'
'Landscaping'
'Scrap Drives'
'Developing your Personality'
'Lightning'
'Family Religion'
'Teenagers Still Need Parents'
'Preparing a Will'
 
           WALKER COUNTY EXTENSION HOMEMAKERS COUNCIL PRESIDENTS

Mrs. H. S. CORBIN
Mrs. E. E. RUSSELL
Mrs. J. R. HAWKINS
Mrs. EARNEST NUNN
Mrs. HOWARD BROWN
Mrs. C.M. STEPHENSON
Mrs. W.H. CALDWELL
Mrs. BILL KELLEY
Mrs. HOUSTON SNOW
Mrs. ALONZO RICHARDSON
Mrs. BOBBY STOVALL
Mrs. WILLARD DRUMMOND
Mrs. BUDDY HOOBLER
Mrs. WAYNE PARKER
Mrs. ANITA PATE
Mrs. WILLIAM WOLFE
Mrs. PERRY WARREN
Mrs. JIM BEASON
Mrs. ELBERT BARTON
 

                                                                               
 
                        WALKER CO. EXTENSION HOMEMAKERS TIMELINE
 
1911 - Tomato Clubs organized
1928 - Lucille Braswell came to Walker Co. as Home Agent
1930 - Pearl Rowe was appointed as Home Agent
1930 - The Walker County Council was organized
1937 - Mary Dell McCain came as Home Agent
1943 - Jeannette McPhail was appointed Home Agent
1949 - Sarah Thompson took over as Home Agent
1950 - Margaret Poole started as Home Agent
1958 - Jeannette McPhail Argo returned as Home Agent
1965 - Name changed from Home Demonstration Clubs to Extension Homemakers Clubs
1971 - Outstanding Service Awards program set up
1972 - Extension Homemakers Councils in Alabama became an organization independent of the Extension Service
1975 - Arts and Crafts Show set up as an annual event
1980 - Walker Co. Extension Council won 1st place at District meeting
1981 - Walker County Homemakers won 13 State Awards
1982 - History of Walker County Homemakers written
1982 - Shirley Whitten takes over as County Agent