Glimpse of the Past: Women’s Clubs Make a Difference In Our Community

The Reporter... Hillsboro Texas... Thursday, May 1, 2014

Women's Clubs Make A Difference In Our Community

The early days of our city were truly frontier... and rough: muddy (or dusty) streets, horses, wagons, scores or saloons, wood-front stores that looked like the set of grade B movies. Churches and schools were sparse. Ladies did not leave home unaccompanied, and children were kept close.

The 1880's brought the railroad, a new wave of commerce, and King Cotton. By the early 1890's women and mothers observed the unrefined character of our hometown.

In 1893 a group of nine formed the first women's study club to be known as The Sesame Club (photo shows Sesame Club members in 1953 in historic dress for the Hill County Centennial.) Their goals were personal improvements through the study of literature, art and the classics, and civic improvement as they sought to bring culture to a raucous environment.

The year 1895 saw the organization of a second club: Monday Review. The new club also urged personal study and developed strategies for improvements in the city.

By 1898, the "club bug" had swept the nation. That year the Texas Federation of Women's Clubs was organized, and Sesame members, as a pioneer Texas club, joined this new federation.

Monday Review by 1899 had joined the Texas Federation of Women's Clubs, and in 2014, was the only Hillsboro club associated with TFWC.

Pause for a moment and reflect: 1893---1895----1898/99. All of this and yet women could neither vote nor hold office, and they possessed few legal rights.

By 1913 a third group formed to sew for the needy and to chat. Their name - Les Causeuses (the charming chatterers) - was suggested by attorney Green Duke Tarlton in whole home the ladies gathered. We today revere the historic structure on North Pleasant as the Tarlton House. By 1932 Les Causeuses became federated, ever-strengthening the influence of local women.

Sesame, Monday Review, and Les Causeuses jointly supported worth-while community efforts. Through the years, projects have included organizing to protect the architectural integrity of the Hill County Courthouse in 1930's revisionist phase, supporting school and city bond elections, formation of Philotechnos Kindergarten and Girl Scout Troop, renovation of the Hillsboro Public Library that was formerly the Post Office, restoraion of the courhouse following the 1993 fiew, and outfitting the childrens' interview room for the Advocacy Center. And the influence continues......

Glimpse of the Past: Women's Clubs Make A Difference In Our Community