Adolphustown Women’s Institute

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Adolphustown Women’s Institute

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The Adolphustown Women’s Institute located in the Township of Adolphustown, Lennox and Addington County, was founded on March 7, 1901 with Mrs. W.S. Duffett as the first President. Twelve members attended the first meeting. The branch disbanded on December 31, 1995. They contributed much of their last funds to the Terry Fox Run and the Loyalist Culture Centre, also known as the United Empire Loyalist (UEL) Museum. In the early years of the branch, there were many educational sessions and debates, often on topics of housekeeping. Other events were also held, such as lawn socials. In later years, socials came in many forms and were used as a fundraiser, a masquerade ball was a unique approach and euchre games were popular. At each meeting, a member brought in a mystery package and tickets were sold for the winner of the package. Bake sales were also a common fundraiser. In 1925, the branch held a box social and movie evening in the town hall. The Adolphustown branch often served tea and competed in displays at the Kingston Fall Fair and the Napanee Fair. Adolphustown branch was a significant promoter of literacy in its community, providing a library for its members in the early twentieth-century. The members went through many stages of supporting the library, dismantling and reinstating it at least once. One of their first fundraising efforts was to benefit their library. They held a concert in 1903 with proceeds to go to acquiring new titles. After realizing their profits, each member was asked to bring in a list of three titles suitable for their library to the next meeting. A librarian was appointed amongst the members and allotted an annual salary of seven dollars. Librarians and entire library boards continued to be appointed over the branch’s first fifty years. In 1907, prizes were given to school children who earned the highest marks in their entrance examinations at each of the three local schools. In 1926, the branch donated sanitary paper towels to each school and continued to do so for many years. Kingston General Hospital received gifts, monetary donations, and items for furnishing a room over the years from the Adolphustown branch. The branch also made donations to Queen Mary’s hospital for Tubercular Children. One of the significant achievements of the Adolphustown branch was the restoration and maintenance of the UEL cemetery. They first proposed action towards its repair in 1909, contributing five dollars to have the yard cleaned and some trees removed. The County Council supposedly contributed ten dollars to the Women’s Institute after their initial efforts to continue their work, specifically to build a fence around the cemetery. This service was of great value to the whole community. The branch continued to pay caretakers of the cemetery for over fifty years. During World War I, the branch’s first act towards supporting the war effort was personal donations towards a box for the Red Cross. They also knit many socks and had sewn articles of clothing. Significantly, they helped to purchase a motor ambulance for overseas. During World War II, Adolphustown branch contributed to the Central Fund for Jam, sent cigarettes to boys serving overseas, and made many items for the Red Cross. Shortly after, they sent funds to the Manitoba Flood Relief Fund and promoted their cause. Many “Short Courses” were held throughout the Adolphustown Women’s Institute history, such as Dress Making and Fashion Focus. However, this branch often sacrificed their courses so they had more time to spend on helping the greater good around the war years. One of the branch’s major accomplishments was their dedication to canvassing for the C.N.I.B.; they donated great amounts to this charity over the years. Locally, they contributed to Children’s Aid Society, Arthritis Society, Ontario Heart Fund, UEL United Church Memorial Fund, and MacPherson House. On the international stage, they also donated to Milk for Korea and U.N.I.C.E.F. Copies of the Tweedsmuirs, Volumes I through VI, of the Adolphustown branch are available on microfilm in the Reading Room of the Lennox and Addington Museum and Archives. However, this microfilm is very difficult to read. Also, the University of Guelph Archives holds a copy of Volumes I and II of the Adolphustown Women’s Institute Tweedsmuirs. Volume I and II of the original Tweedsmuirs are held at the UEL Museum in Adolphustown. The first curator was Miss Lillie Carr, stated in Volume I. The past Women’s Institute Presidents of Adolphustown were: Mrs. W.S. Duffett (1901-1903), Mrs. William Magee (1903-1907), Mrs. Fred Allison (1907-1909, 1918-1919; 1921), Mrs. James Dorland (1909-1911), Mrs. W.D. Roblin (1911-1913), Mrs. E.B. (Edith) Johnston (1913-1914; 1917-1918; 1921-1925), Mrs. George (E.M.) Daverne (1914-1917), Mrs. Russell Cousins (1919-1920; 1925-1927), Mrs. Herbert Trumpour (1920-1921), Miss Majorie Allison (1938), Mrs. Gordon Mack (1938-1940), Mrs. R.M. Roblin (1940-1941), Mrs. Blake (Ada) Humphrey (1942-1945), Mrs. S. Simmons (1945-1948), Mrs. Ross (Evelyn) Allison (1948-1950; 1957-1958), Mrs. Albert (Mary) Steers (1950-1952), Mrs. Roy (Helen) Smith (1952-1954), Mrs. Roland (Grace) Stalker (1954-1957), Mrs. H. (Ann?) Ruith (1958-1959), Mrs. Blake Johnston (1959-1961), Mrs. Charles (Irene) Young (1961-1965), Mrs. Lyle (Judy) Smith (1965-1968; 1982-1984), Mrs. Charles (Edna) Robinson (1968-1974), Mrs. Hugh (Majorie) Allison (1974-1978), Mrs. Howard (Lois) McCullough (1978-1982), Mrs. Phyllis Reynolds (1984-1988; 1992-1996), and Mrs. Eileen Ford (1988-1992).

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