A history of the Covington Woman’s Club
This history of the Covington Woman’s Club is taken from the minutes of the meetings from 1898 through 1979.
I n the spring of 1895 a small group of ladies met at the home of MRS. J. N. Pace and organized a club named the Flora Cultural Club of Covington with Mrs. E. O. Lee, president. In the fall of 1896 this little group changed the name to Covington Woman’s Club and joined the Federation of Women’s Clubs in 1898.
The club met once a week from 1895 until 1903, then met twice a month to 1915 al year. The meeting, Parliamentary meeting, Current Events meeting and Georgia History meeting or whatever the club decided.
Flower shows were an important part of the club in the early years. The members grew and exhibited the flowers.
One of the first projects of the club was the beginning of a Library for the community. In February 1898 the club chose a Library Committee and asked each club member to bring a book and subscribe $1.00.
When the amount reached $25.00, this Library Committee drew up a charter, Library Association o Covington to run for 20 years. An upstairs room in the Clark Banking Co. (now Banks Insurance Co.) was rented for the Library and Miss Charles Porter was the first librarian and kept the library open two afternoons a week (Not on Saturday or Sunday). Mrs. J. F. Rogers, a club member held a storytelling hour for children two afternoons a week. In April 1900 the building and library books were badly damaged by fire so the club appointed a Library Committee to build a home for the library. The club used many fund- raising projects such as suppers, bazaars, plays and entertainments as well as individual subscriptions.
On July 10, 1909 the club bought a 33 by 100 foot lot from Mrs. C. A. Harwell for $750 – (the lot on which the club building is now located). It was until 1915 that the one story brick building on College Street was built by J. R. McCord at a cost of $2500 and named Covington Woman’s Club Library.
The Masons of Covington gave the Mason’s stained glass window and the club put in the other stained glass window. The Mason’s also laid the cornerstone in 1915. Mrs. C. A. Sockwell and Mrs. J. R. Rogers wrote an article for the club and placed it in the cornerstone. In one of the rooms in the building in the club opened the first public rest room closed in 1963.
The club Library building served as a community house for several years for school banquets, receptions for teachers, meetings of civic interest.
Another of the club’s projects was the placing of a pavilion at Spring Park (Academy Springs Park) and putting swings there for a playground, planting flowers and putting the brick columns at the entrance to the park. These columns are still there.
In 1923 lights and fixtures and water installed in the club building by the country and the city gave the floor lights (lamps).
Paving was put in front of the building in 1926. The club’s assessment for this was $286. The club’s funds were in the Bank of Newton County, which closed in December 1925. The club ladies collected and sold tin foil, served dinners for the Newton County Trade Board and paid the $286. An honor roll of everyone who gave the club $100 was put on the wall in 1923.
An unknown friend in 1925 donated $500 toward getting a second story on the building. The club voted to begin at once but in November 1925 repealed the decision to add the second story. Discussed an annex in 1928 but bids were too high.
Departments of Home Life, Public, Affairs, International Affairs, Education, Arts and Conservation were established in 1928 by the club.
During the war years the members were very active in making sweaters, socks, ditty bags, and instead of meetings they worked on bandages and made things for the Red Cross.
The present Garden Club of Covington was formed from the Woman’s Club in Dec. 1929 with Mrs. E. E. Callaway, President.
The club building had no fans so in 1930 the members voted to discontinue meetings in June, July and August which is still in effect today.
Two personal perpetual scholarships were given to Tallulah Falls School by club members. In 1923 Mrs. P. W. Godfrey gave a $2000 scholarship in memory of her husband and in 1949 the children of Aileen Pitts Corry gave a $2000 scholarship in her memory.
Many discussions were held several years relative to beginning a Junior Woman’s Club. No action was taken until 1945 when Mrs. Frank Nesbit, club president, appointed Mrs. Ann Masten and Mrs. Hoke Randall to organize a Junior Woman’s Club. This club was a Junior Woman’s Club, an offspring of the Covington Woman’s Club. The name has been changed to Covington Service Guild.
The Covington Woman’s Club presented a gavel and scrapbook to this club.
Many donations of bookcases, books and magazine subscriptions were given to the Library throughout the years from the beginning in 1898 until its closing in 1963. At the time of its closing there were about 2500 volumes. These were given to Tallalah Falls School, Newton County School Libraries, Newton County Library, and many to the ministers in the county for their libraries.
Covington Woman’s’ Club and Covington Service guild were hostesses to the Georgia Federation Club Institute at Emory College, Oxford, in 1963. Mrs. W. E. Thornley, both members of Covington Woman’s Club were honored at the Institute by having $100 given to the Boy’s Dormitory Building fund and their names were inscribed on the plaque at the Boy’s Dormitory at Tallulah Falls School.
Extensive remodeling was done to the building in 1962 and the name on the front of the building was changed to Covington Woman’s Club. Mrs. P.W. Godfrey gave the money for this.
A joint celebration of the Diamond Jubilee of the General Federation of Women’s Clubs was held by the Covington Woman’s Club and Covington Service Guild. Members wore yesteryear costumes. At this meeting, Mrs. C. C. King was awarded a pin for 54 years of active service in the Covington Woman’s Club ( In 1979 she has been a member 68 years). Miss Sallie Mae Sockwell, now deceased was given a Citation for 58 years service, 25 years of which she was treasurer.
It was felt that a Junior Club was needed so the in the summer of 1970 a committee appointed by Mrs. H. E. McKenzie formed the present Covington Junior Woman’s Club.
The Covington Woman’s Club placed a water fountain in the park on the City Square in June 1976. Mrs. C.C. King, Mrs. Hugh King and Mrs. L. A. Patrick were honored with Life Memberships in 1976 for their more than 25 years service in the club.
When the Chapel at Tallulah Falls School was completed Covington Woman’s gave the large Bible for the pulpit.
Mrs. H. L. (Marjorie) Cochran of Covington Woman’s Club was elected Mother of the Year for the State of Georgia and was the first winner of the State Contest from this club. She represented Georgia and the Club in the national contest in May 1979.
The Charter of the Library Association of Covington expired in 1929 and was not renewed so in 1978 Attorneys Don Ballard and Donald Stephenson drew up a new Charter made to Covington Woman’s Club. The building and lot were deeded to three Trustees elected from the present club. They are Mrs. R. H. Patterson, Mrs. M. H. Waggoner and Miss Carolyn Osborn.
The Covington Woman’s Club has always been very active in local, district, state and national club work. Many of its members have served on District and State levels. This club has also won many District and State Awards during its 83 years as Covington Woman’s Club.
Looking Back stories are a reprint of historical articles from The Covington News, which has been in existence since 1865.