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By Bev Odom/The Red River Sun—
WELLINGTON — Collingsworth County Museum Director Doris Stallings and Sallie O’Hair, staff, have spent hours upon hours researching women and preparing the display for the 100th anniversary of women earning the right to vote in all elections held in the U.S.
“From the time George Washington was elected the first president of the United States of America in 1789, most female citizens were denied the right to vote until the 19th Amendment to the Constitution was signed in 1920,” wrote local historian Rudie Tate.
Stallings recalls many women that made a difference in Collingsworth County both before and after females could cast a ballot.
Early pioneer women such as Emma Cocke Richards, the first schoolteacher in Collingsworth County and Jennie Desert Holcomb, city secretary for many years, helped pave the way for women’s rights.
“We plan to display portraits of many of these women in our Ellis Art Center,” said Stallings. “Also, on exhibit are paintings by women artists.”
Gay Reeves McAlister, Sharon Campbell Starkey and Patricia Overton, and the late Alice Hefley Henard, Ethel Breeding Coleman, Mary Ellen Ross, Sallie Monroe “Rosie” Estes Yarbrough, Katherine C. Boverie, Nan Lawrence Henard, Olivia Templeton Hill, Mildred Stafford Tyler, Louise Powell, Frances Hill Schmidt and Peggy Johnson McKinnon are only a small sampling of females who have made an impact on the rural way of life in the Wellington area.
Tate references the April 1, 1921 issue of the Wellington Leader in an article encouraging citizens to get out and vote in the Wellington School Board election.
“But there is a different condition of affairs in this year. One never known in Texas before. At our next school election, women will not only be eligible as trustees but everyone who has performed her patriotic duty by paying her poll tax may have a voice in the school election and register her choice for trustees.”
Currently, Carly Ward and Alison Strickland serve on the WISD Board of Trustees. Terri Morris previously served many years.
Diane O’Rear held the position of Wellington Elementary principal followed by Marcy Sessions. Now Deidre Kane serves in this role.
Candy Canada Powell serves as Collingsworth General Hospital (CGH) administrator; Cassie Colson, RN, Family Nurse Practitioner, CGH and Collingsworth Family Medicine (CFM); Bethany Pickard, M.D, CGH and CFM; Mary White, CGH long-term nurse aid; Holly Landess, Parkview Manor Assisted Living administrator; Val White, Zephyr Foundation philanthropist; Amy Dickerson, Wellington Care Center (WCC) administrator; Dorothy Massey, WCC long-term activity director; Pat Needham, EMT and retired school personnel; Jessica Hall, Bluebonnet Home Health and Hospice RN; Dian Souder, Wellington ISD business manager; Debra Belew, Greenbelt Electric Cooperative office manager; Julie Collins, OJD Engineering office manager; and Juda Nation, Wellington Activity Center event specialist.
Other local women impacting everyday life include Joyice Hamby, Collingsworth County jail administrator; Shelly Brim, Wellington Opportunity Center, Inc. director; Linda Duke, Ritz Theatre manager and Home Delivered Meals director; Jackie Johnson, County/District Clerk; Genarah Manuel, Tax Collector; Gina Harris, County Treasurer; Vicki Decker, Collingsworth County Library director; Amanda Sanchez, Dollar Store manager; Carol Bodine, Market Square Supermarkets office manager; and Jo’Ann Johnson and Lori Barnett, Allsup’s managers.
Many women own or co-own businesses such as Cheryl Tarver, Collingsworth Abstract Company; Nancy Adair, Nancy’s Place of Cosmetology; Sandra Cooper, A&K Meat Processing; Lameda Black, Cut and Curl; Jackie Pratt, A House of Beauty; DeeDee Needham, DeeDee’s Daycare; Lisa Hamby, JD’s Auto Supply and Repair; Tina Souder, M.Ed, LPC, Wellness and Counseling; Lisa Wilhelm, Plas-Mac, Inc.; Kelly Bawcom, Bawcom Supply; Ashley Lemons, 1st Wellington Agency; Kassie Neeley, No Knots Massage; Carrie Warren and Dana Hughs, TBerrys; Mandy Rodriguez, Mammy’s Daycare; Debra Pennon, Come & Get It; Gina Warren, The Gettin’ Spot Café; and a recent addition on the courthouse square, Shannon Rollins, Rollins Chuck Wagon.
A handful of women home business owners are Margret Wood, Rodan+Field, D’Lynn Faulks, Lularoe and Madison Anglin, Dry Creek Designs, but several more exist across the county.
Females currently serving in the armed services are Bridgett Pena, U.S. Army Staff Sargent, Lorena Granados, U.S. Marine Corp and Dani Ponder, Texas Army National Guard.
A hometown girl, Keri Jo Cummings Wellborn, serves as a family doctor at Childress Regional Medical Center.
What a difference the female population creates in Collingsworth County, from the year established in 1890 through the time that women gained the right to vote in 1920, to the present day.