From the archives: Leon Farm Women’s Club

From the archives of the Leon Farm Women’s Club, the late Anna Lee Douglas wrote the history of her membership in the Farm Women’s Club, later to be the Home Demonstration, Extension Homemakers and CEOS.

“I grew up on an 81-acre farm in the Upper Flats-White Church Community in the northern part of Mason County. My father was Alonzo (Lon) Roush and my mother was Cora Stewart Roush. I have an older sister, Eleanor who was always cooking and sewing with our mother. I was the ‘tom-boy’ spending much of my time out on the farm helping my dad. My sister and I were both very active in our local Hill Billie’s 4-H Club.

Virginia Parsons was the Home Demonstration Agent in Mason County in the 1930’s and she came to our community and helped organize the Pocahontas Farm Women’s Club. My mother became a member. She loved going to club meetings, the county meetings and to Jackson’s Mill. At that time meetings were in the member’s homes so I always enjoyed attending. I especially enjoyed the meetings in our home.

I graduated from Point Pleasant High School (PPHS) in 1943 at the age of 16 years old. The secretary in the Mason County Extension Office, Blanche Wedge had resigned to join her husband in the Navy (World War II). I had taken a commercial course in shorthand, typing and business at PPHS, so I applied and was hired.

At that time there was a county agent, assistant county agent, home demonstration agent and a 4-H Club agent.

I was familiar with the 4-H programs and the Farm Women’s Club Program — and being a farm girl, I managed the job and enjoyed working in the office for four and half years.

In October of 1947, I married Gus R. Douglass in a ceremony in Kansas City. Gus was finishing his tenure as a national Future Farmers of America president. The Presbyterian Church was filled with young men and women from all over America wearing their blue jackets.

Gus took me to Grimm’s Landing farm, the most southern end of Mason County. Our next door neighbor, Mrs. Bessie Sayre was a member of the Leon Homemakers Club. She invited Gus’s mother, Mrs. Fannie Grimm Douglas, and I to join their club and we were very happy to do so and I have remained a member of the club for over 60 plus years. I have enjoyed the fellowship with so many wonderful women, both locally and county and state-wide.

There have been many changes in programs through the years. Each member in the early years were required to take a Better Living Project pertaining to self improvement, family and home improvement. The name of the organization was changed from Farm Women’s Clubs to Homemakers Club, to WVU Extension Homemakers Club and finally, Community Education Outreach Service (CEOS Clubs).”

Anna Lee concluded her story: “I am very proud to say that my mother, Cora Roush was the Mason County President in 1944-1945 and I served as the Mason County President in 1999-2001. I will continue to be a member as long as I am able to do so.”

Anna Lee Douglass, 88, of Leon, passed away Wednesday, Oct. 15, 2014, at C.A.M.C. General Hospital in Charleston. It was on Thursday, March 19, 2015 at Cabell Huntington Hospital that her husband, Gus, a retired West Virginia Agriculture Commissioner, passed away as result of a fall at his home.

Submitted by Alice Click.