In April 1922, Mrs. Roxie Dunn announced that she
was running on the Democratic ticket for County Treasurer. In his endorsement Oat Bryson stated, “Much
has been said about the desirability of the woman voter, if we have the women
voter, logically we must have the woman office holder.” Although Mrs. Dunn was defeated in the
primary by Ed Paxton Jr. she did make history as the first women in
Transylvania County to run for a political office.
|In 1921 women were appointed to serve on rural school boards at Blantyre,
Davidson River, East Fork, Island Ford and Selica. Pictured: Selica School.
During this time period the Democratic Party held a
primary in Transylvania County, however the Republican Party nominated candidates
for the general election. In 1928, Mrs. Thelma
Fisher was the first woman nominated as a candidate for the County School
Board. It does not appear that she was elected.
In 1932, Mrs. Rholly Galloway ran in the Democrat
primary for County Treasurer. She was
defeated by O.L. Erwin. The same year
Mrs. Pearl Owen ran on the Republican ticket against Jess Galloway for Register
of Deeds in the general election. She
too was defeated.
Melvin Gillespie was elected as Register of Deeds
in 1940. When he was called for military
service in July 1943 his wife, Eva was appointed to serve as Register while he
was away. She appears to be the first
woman to actually serve in public office in Transylvania County.
In 1944, Mrs. Gillespie announced that she would
run for election as a Democrat. She
defeated her Republican opponent handily, 3033 to 2134. She had the highest number of votes of any
candidate for county office that year.
Mrs. Gillespie did not run for re-election in 1948.
Other women in elected positions in Transylvania
County included Mrs. Marion McMahon as Clerk of Superior Court and Mrs.
Elizabeth Mull as Tax Collector, who were both first elected in 1968.
In Rosman, Edith Osborne served as mayor from
1967-1973. She was initially appointed
to finish out the term of Mayor Sisk after his death.
She ran unopposed for a two-year term in 1969 and was elected again in
Katherine Anderson was first elected to the Brevard
Board of Aldermen in 1975 and as mayor of Brevard in 1986. Jan Bryant was the first woman elected to the
Board of Commissioners in 1976. Trudi Walend,
who was elected to the Board of Commissioners in 1996, was the first woman from
Transylvania County to serve in NC House of Representatives.
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