Originally written in February 2013 by David Strange, this story was updated February 2023 for the 100th Anniversary of the Woman’s Club of Bullitt County.
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 85,000 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.
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 of Shepherdsville, 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.
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. Other major branches have been added over the years and a new four-million-dollar Central Library was added in 2022.
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.
Among many activities over the years, 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 one hundred 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.
In fact, the 49th annual Irene Carroll Scholarship fundraising Luncheon and Fashion Show will be held March 18, 2023.
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, and the Bowman's Valley African American schoolhouse, both relocated next to the county school board offices on Highway 44 East.
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.
The Bullitt County Woman's Club's one hundred 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.
Mrs. O.P. Mean *
Mrs. C.C. Hackney
* Mrs. Malcolm Harmon
Mrs. T,C. Carroll
Mrs. Lindsey Ridgeway **
Mrs. Ralph Henderson
Mrs. A.M. Mulligan
Mrs. H.H. Combs
Mrs. Clay Porter
Mrs. Thelma Newman ***
Mrs. Ray Bush *
Mrs. William Russell
Mrs. Henry Buckman
Mrs. James Hardaway *
Mrs. C.H. Hynds *
Mrs. Ethel Newman ***
Mrs. Henry Hamilton **
Mrs. W.T. Finn
Mrs. Ted Lesch *
Mrs. Newton Helm
Mrs. Gabe Bealmear *
Mrs. W.N. Griffin *
Mrs. W.R. Bacon *
Nell Sanders Pike *
Betty Robards Spradlin
Anna Faye Crockett
Penny Pack *
Carol McLaughlin *
Mary Florence Barnes
Elise Givhan Spainhour
Sharon Klosterman *
Lou Ann Moore
|Mrs. Annie Troll||Mrs. Howard Hardin|
|Mrs. C. C. Hackney||Mrs. Ralph Henderson|
|Mrs. Ada Troutman||Mrs. H. H. Combs|
|Mrs. L. L. Burkhalter||Mrs. Louella Schmitt|
|Mrs. Lindsey Ridgeway||Mrs. Newton Helm|
|Mrs. O. P. Means||Mrs. W. W. Griffin|
|Mrs. Ella Chappel||Mrs. Irene Carroll|
|Mrs. Frances Crossfield||Mrs. James Cecil|
|Mrs. Robert Henderson||Mrs. M .L. Major|
|Mrs. Malcolm Harmon||Mrs. Pearl Quick|
|Mrs. Susie Bridwell||Mrs. Ivy McBride|
|Mrs. Thomas Cruthers||Mrs. Tom Givhan|
|Mrs. Pearl Lee||Mrs. Polly Cundiff|
|Mrs. Robert Simmons||Mrs. Thelma Newman|
|Mrs. Ray Bush||Mrs. Mary Shuffett|
|Mrs. Mary Collins||Mrs. Hester Belle Hardaway|
|Mrs. T. G. Harned||Mrs. Ramona Greschel|
|Mrs. Margaret Foster||Mrs. Dorothy Hartsell|
|Mrs. Letitia Wilson||Mrs. Lucille Warren|
|Mrs. Henry Hamilton||Mrs. Willie Maye Hackett|
|Mrs. Fletcher Smith||Mrs. Magdalyn Porter|
|Miss Ethel Newman||Mrs. Jane Sanders|
|Mrs. Ella Hardy||Ms. Nell Sanders Pike|
|Mrs. Mona Tamme|
|1978||Beverly Reeks, James Shepherd, Theresa Vincent|
|1979||Jeff Strange, Eddie Cambron, Charles Smith|
|1980||Doug Large, Carla Washburn|
|1981||Scott Gordon, Jennifer Brown, Theresa Lay|
|1982||Gerald Burba, DeAnna Herr, Robert Kennedy|
|1983||Monty Edwards, Ronald D. Pierce, Alice D. Baggett|
|1984||Troy Thompson, Terry Patton, Kathryn Hennig|
|1985||Terry Thomas, Mary Beth Simms, William Edwards|
|1986||Dennis Mitchell, Bobbie French, Angela Roberts|
|1987||Angela Carney, Darla S. Cole, Robert Hickman|
|1988||Kristi Owen, Steven Miller, Melissa Cook|
|1989||Eric Scott Elwell, Steven Miller, Melissa Cook|
|1990||Kimberly Adams, Jessica Hester, Sheila Jordan|
|1991||Travis J. Wright, Leslie Hillerick, Sherry Rafferty|
|1992||Misty Schlatter, Suzanne Wick, Chris David England|
|1993||Jeff Zinger, Julia Feedback, Kerry Weston|
|1994||Julie Roemele, Christopher Hodge, Jason Schmidt|
|1995||LeaAnn Breeden, Jane Richardson, Derek Hall|
|1996||Maggie Schneider, Marcus Bourke, Sacha Dees|
|1997||Karen Hardman, Danielle Herriford, Beth Mudd|
|1998||Amanda Ferguson, William Ray McCrary, Olivia Korfhage|
|1999||Mark Rawlings, Holly Skidmore, Elizabeth Osbourne|
|2000||Stephanie Burden, Phoenix Freeman, Audra Harris|
|2001||Scott Simmons, Heather Clifton, Brooks Skelton|
|2002||Adam Bohannon, Josh Powell, Megan Anderson|
|2003||Chareta Jennings, Josh McDaniel, Noelle Lewis|
|2004||Krystal Light, Angela Cravens, Christy Denham|
|2005||David Denham, Alex Wimsatt, Brittney Roederer, Madison Benock|
|2006||Shelbi Dyer, Dustin Seabolt, Brandy Mason, Chad Perkins|
|2007||Zachary Morris, Samanada Mattingly, Megan Hardin, Elisha Plummer|
|2008||Kayla Pugh, Ashley Thornton, Daisy Lucie, Lori Rutledge|
|2009||Courtney Fletcher, Tanner Greenwell, Christina Dilley, David Martin|
|2010||Katie Saling, Ben Kemble, Lavella Hall|
|2011||Brandon Gifford, Miciah Ocasio, Cameron Deacon, Sherah Fowler|
|2012||Nikole Isabel, Sara Harper, Cynthia Keifer|
|2013||Kourtney Burkhead, Nola Hoffman, Erin Mattingly|
|2014||Alypea Dunn, Joseph Combest, Jessica Roederer|
|2015||Kiley Johnson, Mikayle Kesler, Brittany Compton|
|2016||Eric Sanchez, Mariah Philpot, Nathaniel Decker|
|2017||Brianna Clinard, Frankie Masters, Mandy Rogers|
|2018||Katerin Davenport, Marlene Michael, Christina Sewell|
|2019||Kayle Nutgrass, Taylor Dunton, Katherine Milby|
|2020||Shelby Kover, Brooklyn Cahoe, Shianne Smith|
|2023||to be added soon|
|Bullitt County Art Council Scholarship|
|2008||Ryla Luttrel, Anthony Neace, Austin Jenkins|
BULLITT COUNTY JUNIOR MISS
|1973||Sarah Routt||1990||Susan Bates|
|1974||Debbie Thomas||1991||Amdrea Burden|
|1975||Kim Sewell||1992||Lori Roby|
|1976||Dinah Pike||1993||Krista Webb|
|1977||Susan Farris||1994||Beth Hettinger|
|1978||Denise Corum||1995||Sarah Zinger|
|1980||Glenda Rice Watkins||1996||Julia Sander|
|1981||Jackie Holt||1997||Jodi Harris|
|1982||Theresa Higdon||1998||Tiffany Cobble|
|1983||Renee Hamilton||1999||Leslie Dorris|
|1984||Lisa Raymer||2000||Christine Nugent|
|1985||Jennifer Porter||2001||Stacey Spears|
|1986||no program||2002||Keisha Wooley|
|1987||Robin Reynolds||2003||Ashley Dorris|
|1988||Tiffany Teensma||2004||Chassidy Gibson|
|1989||Emily Bryan||2005||Meredith Brown|
Copyright 2023 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 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday; and from 9 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: 17 Feb 2023 . Page URL: bullittcountyhistory.org/memories/womensclub.html