Thursday, March 08, 2018

Thursday Thirteen

Today is International Women's Day, so I thought I'd list 13 notable women from my area. Some are no longer with us; some are.

1. Lucy Breckinridge. Lucy Breckinridge lived during the Civil War and penned a record of her day to day life on Grove Hill Plantation, located just outside of Fincastle, VA. Her diary is one of the best-known volumes about women's life during this period of American History. You can read a little more about her and the book here.

2. Martha Louisa Cocke. This woman, also known as Matty Cocke, was born in 1855 in Botetourt County. Her father, Charles Lewis Cocke, was superintendent of the Female Seminary at Botetourt Springs, a facility which later became Hollins College and then Hollins University. Cocke helped her father administer the college and she taught English, French, German and Math. She was named President of the Institute on May 4, 1901, and was Virginia's first female college president. The school was renamed Hollins College in 1911, under Matty Cocke's stewardship.

3. Mary Johnston. She was a popular writer in the early 20th century. Her most famous novel was To Have and To Hold, which was also made into movies. She was also a suffragist and was the first woman to address the Virginia General Assembly.

4. Lucy Addison. She was an African American educator and has a school named after her in Roanoke, VA (Addison Aerospace Magnet Middle School).  She taught in the Roanoke City Public Schools for 31 years and in 1917 she was named principal of Harrison School, which was the largest state accredited school for African Americans in Virginia to have a female principal. She was also a community activist.

5. Judge Mary R. Painter. Judge Painter presided over traffic court in Botetourt County, VA and was well known to locals as being tough on those who broke the law. Her court was one to avoid. She served from 1934 to 1967 and the only Judge of the County Court for 33 years. She was also the first and only woman in Virginia to hold this position. (Disclaimer: I am a cousin of this woman.)

6. Sharon McCrumb. McCrumb is a best selling author who lives not far from me. She is the author of at least 27 books.

7. P. Buckley Moss. Moss is a famous artist whose museum headquarters is about an hour's drive from me and she lives about an hour from me in the other direction. She is known for colorful landscapes and old-timey looking paintings and offers limited edition prints. (I own several.)

8. Ann Compton. Compton is a former news reporter and White House correspondent for ABC. She graduated from Hollins College and went to work for local station of WDBJ7.

9. Jeanne Larsen. Larsen is a professor at Hollins University (unless she's retired and I'm not aware of it, which is entirely possible). She has published several novels, poems, books of poetry, and essays. She was my favorite undergraduate professor.

10.  Amanda Cockrell. Cockrell is another of my professors at Hollins University, where she established the MFA in Children's Literature Program. She is the author of 12 novels, including a young adult book named one of the best children's books in 2011.

11. Cathryn Hankla. Hankla is another professor at Hollins University (yes, there is a theme here, Hollins is my alma mater) who has published 14 books, many of them poetry.

12. Nancy Dahlstrom is a retired Hollins University professor and artist who lives in Botetourt County, VA.

13. Me. I'm not necessarily notable or important, but I live here and have contributed a great deal to my community through my writing for various local publications (over 10,000 articles in 35 years) and through my work with historic preservation and rural planning and growth. Since I retired I am not as well-known as I used to be, since my name isn't in the paper every week, but I still have the ear of well-placed people and am often asked to advise on various and sundry subjects.


Thursday Thirteen is played by lots of people; there is a list here if you want to read other Thursday Thirteens and/or play along. I've been playing for a while and this is my 540th time to do a list of 13 on a Thursday.


  1. this is a Wonderful Thursday 13.
    Happy Women's Day, CountryDew.
    Are you wearing red today? I am wearing gray sweats and a Red top.

    1. No, no red. Didn't realize I was supposed to wear a color.

  2. Did you learn of most of these during your tenure as a writer?

    1. Many of them, yes. Some are former professors of mine.

  3. I only know 3 on the list, including you!

  4. Happy Women's day. Thanks for sharing your knowledge and insights. I love learning about others.


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