Last week Picturing the Past covered local events leading up
to the ratification of the 19th Amendment giving women the right to
vote in 1920. Election Day 1920 appears
to have been a typical Transylvania day—rainy.
|This photo shows the library beside the courthouse and provides a perspective
of the line for women voters. The library was a common spot downtown for
women to gather in the early 1900s.
An article in the Friday, November 5, 1920 Brevard News
begins, “Transylvania County probably polled the greatest ballot in its history
in spite of a steady downpour. At a very
early hour on Tuesday morning a stream of the new voters (the fair sex) were in
line stretching from the public library to the polls and on the opposite side
stretching from Macfie’s corner stood the old timers.”
It continues, “Never before has Transylvania shown
as much interest in any election and for hours the voters of both sexes waited
patiently to cast their ballots. It is
reported on good authority that Mrs. Cos Paxton cast the first Democratic vote
and that Mrs. C.B. Deaver was the very first women in Transylvania County, or
at least in Brevard Township to ever cast a ballot.”
A later correction reported that Mrs. T.H. Hampton
actually cast the first vote among the women of Transylvania County.
The article goes on to state, “There was very
little excitement, but much interest and the men of old Transylvania proved
beyond the shadow of a doubt that the ladies would have nothing to fear because
of any ungentlemanly conduct. There was
no (bug juice) in sight.” Apparently
partying and drunken behavior was common at the polls and there was a concern
of women being exposed to such behavior.
The article ends by stating, “The Republican Party
carried the County by an overwhelming majority and elected all their candidates
with the exception of ‘Tude’ Stamey who had no opposition for the office of
Constable of Brevard Township.”
Next week Picturing the Past will look at women in
elected positions in Transylvania County.
and information for this column are provided by the Rowell Bosse North Carolina
Room, Transylvania County Library. Visit the NC Room during regular library
hours (Monday-Friday) to learn more about our history and see additional
photographs. For more information, comments, or suggestions contact Marcy at