News Flash

All News

Posted on: March 12, 2021

Clarksville Faces of Women’s History: The Women of Clarksville Federation of Women's Club

First Library

(This is the second in our weekly series of Clarksville Faces of Women’s History profiles for Women’s History Month.)

For Women’s History Month, we are recognizing the faces of Clarksville who have historically broken down barriers for women in our community.

This week’s spotlight is on a group of women who came together in the early 1900’s to establish a permanent public library in Clarksville-Montgomery County.

In the late 1800’s, Judge Tyler kept books in his office, which served as Clarksville’s first library. A permanent home for the library was an afterthought until the courthouse burned in 1900. After the fire, Wilhelmina Barksdale, the wife of former Leaf-Chronicle publisher William Barksdale, suggested that a building be purchased to serve as a library.

Women from across the community-sponsored ice cream suppers, carnivals and concerts to raise money for the building. One early fundraiser, however, didn’t pan out when one of the women pointed out that many of the recipes in a cookbook they were selling contained alcohol and shouldn’t be endorsed, and the project was abandoned. 

Former Woman's Club located on the corner of Main and First Street in Clarksville, TN. The modern day site of the MPEC.Many of the women belonged to the Woman's Christian Temperance Union, but around 1918, 13 other local women's clubs combined, and the Clarksville Federation of Women’s Club was chartered and was in need of a home.

A heated bidding war soon took place for the Elk’s Club building, which was considered prime real estate in downtown Clarksville. The bidding narrowed to George Rawlings and Sallie Hurst Peay, wife of former Tennessee Gov. Austin Peay.

Each time Rawlings placed a bid, Peay would counter by raising the bid by a single dollar. This went on for some time until the bid reached $6,000 ($114,000 in today’s currency) and once again, Peay countered by a dollar.Mrs. Sallie Hurst Peay

“A woman who has nerve enough to raise a $6,000 bid by one dollar deserves to win,” the auctioneer said. “So, I will knock it off to Mrs. Peay.”

With a final strike of the auctioneer’s gavel, Clarksville-Montgomery County had not only a Women’s Club, but a place for the public library after a 20-year wait.

The Clarksville-Montgomery County Library can now be found in its modern home at Veterans Plaza on Pageant Lane. Today, we take time to thank Mrs. Runyon, Mrs. P.L. Harned, Mrs. Albert L. Macon, Mrs. E.E. Laurent and Mrs. Peay, who signed the charter for the original public library nearly a century ago.

It was their dedication and perseverance that secured a public library for the Clarksville community. For that, we recognize them and the women of the Clarksville Federation of Women’s Club as some of the “Clarksville Faces of Women’s History.”

Special thanks to members of the Montgomery County Historical Society, who provided much of the historical information for this article. If you would like to learn more about women who have made history in Clarksville, go to https://bit.ly/3vmsFTG

Facebook Twitter Email

Other News in All News

Linda_Headshot

Linda Gerron named Communications Director

Posted on: September 13, 2021
20201123-Mayor-Pitts-3226

Mayor's Message: Remembering 9/11

Posted on: September 10, 2021
Powell Road Signal

Signalization to be added to Rossview Road

Posted on: September 10, 2021
20210907-Lisa-Canfield-4581

Lisa Canfield named City Clerk

Posted on: September 8, 2021
2021 Riverfest Logo-01

City cancels Riverfest

Posted on: September 8, 2021
CTS-Logo-Maroon

CTS route information now on Google

Posted on: September 7, 2021
District 3 Precinctt

CPD moves into new District 3 Precinct

Posted on: August 17, 2021
MPO logo

Local MPO to meet Aug. 19

Posted on: August 9, 2021
Sylvia Skinner

City Clerk Sylvia Skinner to retire

Posted on: August 9, 2021
Back to School Safety

Get ready for back-to-school traffic

Posted on: August 3, 2021
Cover Page

Transportation 2020+ moving forward

Posted on: July 22, 2021
scales of justice

City court to adopt new orders

Posted on: June 2, 2021
Billy Lee

Billy Lee named City Fleet Manager

Posted on: May 17, 2021
judge-gavel

City to return to in-person meetings

Posted on: April 27, 2021
City of Clarksville blue full (3)

City to reopen driver services window

Posted on: March 26, 2021
Customer Social Media Posts (CTS)_LinkedIn 792x528 (App)

CTS to unveil technology upgrade

Posted on: March 18, 2021
Mask order lifted

County Mayor to lift mask order

Posted on: March 16, 2021
Clarksville Fire Rescue on scene

Franklin Street closed overnight

Posted on: March 3, 2021
Cpt. Chandler 3

More vaccination sites now available

Posted on: March 2, 2021
James Halford

Faces of Black History: James Halford

Posted on: February 27, 2021
Mask Graphic 2.27

County mask order extended to March 27

Posted on: February 26, 2021
City of Clarksville blue full (3)

County, City offices to reopen Monday

Posted on: February 21, 2021
City of Clarksville blue full (3)

City Revenue Office open Saturday

Posted on: February 19, 2021
scales of justice

City Court to resume in-person on March 16

Posted on: February 18, 2021
City of Clarksville blue full (3)

Mayors ask citizens to avoid driving

Posted on: February 14, 2021
Jimmy Terry Jr

Clarksville Faces of Black History 2

Posted on: February 12, 2021
Cover Page

Mayor to present transportation strategy

Posted on: February 9, 2021
City of Clarksville blue full (3)

Many City facilities to reopen Monday

Posted on: February 5, 2021
Wanda Smith

Clarksville Faces of Black History

Posted on: February 5, 2021
DJI_0013

Mayor offers his case for The Roxy

Posted on: February 2, 2021
Wear a Maskv9

County mask order extended to Feb. 27

Posted on: January 27, 2021
forrester

City leaders remember Bill Forrester

Posted on: January 20, 2021
JudgeSmith

Charles W. Smith takes oath of office

Posted on: January 4, 2021
City of Clarksville blue full (3)

City offices to close New Year’s Day

Posted on: December 31, 2020
20201221-John-Hilborn-3497

Hilborn promoted to City Project Manager

Posted on: December 29, 2020
Wear a Maskv8

County mask order extended to Jan. 29

Posted on: December 28, 2020
2020 Annual Report Cover

Mayor presents Clarksville Annual Report

Posted on: December 22, 2020
FaceMasks

Mayors urge businesses to stress masking

Posted on: December 16, 2020
Wear a Mask v7

County mask order extended to Dec. 29

Posted on: December 9, 2020
scales of justice

City prevails in Greenway lawsuit

Posted on: December 9, 2020
iPhone - Menu

City releases new mobile app for website

Posted on: December 8, 2020
Parks Poster on Bus

CTS honoring Rosa Parks this week

Posted on: December 1, 2020
City of Clarksville blue full (3)

City offices to close for Thanksgiving

Posted on: November 24, 2020
Wear a Maskv6

County Mayor extends mask order

Posted on: November 18, 2020
City of Clarksville blue full (3)

City tax payments are due by Feb. 28

Posted on: November 13, 2020
CFR Garage

CFR breaks ground on maintenance garage

Posted on: November 12, 2020
Veterans Day 2020

CTS buses to roll on Veterans Day

Posted on: November 9, 2020
Wear a Maskv5

UPDATED: County Mayor extends mask order

Posted on: October 27, 2020
SPOOKY SPECIAL 2020

Spooky Special ready to roll again

Posted on: October 26, 2020
Good bags

Street Department offers fall cleanup

Posted on: October 7, 2020
City of Clarksville blue full

Mayor, Council work on revised 2021 budget

Posted on: September 29, 2020
Civitan Map

COVID-19 testing site to change hours

Posted on: September 18, 2020