Mathews County Woman's Club
Chartered July 13, 1936


Monthly Meetings
2nd Monday, 1:30 pm
1947 New Point Comfort Hwy
P.O. Box 1324
Mathews, VA 23109
[email protected]
Club House Available 
for Rental
Greater knowledge for better service
Intellectual advancement and social and civic betterment


General Federation
of Women's Clubs
Virginia Federation
of Women's Clubs
Lee District


For the past 70 years the Mathews County Woman’s Club has dedicated itself to the intellectual advancement and social and civic betterment of all the inhabitants of Mathews County.  Beginning with the inspiration of Mrs. Mabel Billups, under the guidance of the President of the Virginia Federation of Women's Clubs, Miss Lucille Bland, the Club was officially chartered July 13, 1936 with the adoption of its Constitution and By-Laws. Membership was established in the VFWC and the General Federation of Women's Clubs.  Beginning with seventeen charter members in 1936, Club membership reached its peak in 1989 with over 170 members. Membership as we began Year 2006 stands at 85.

The Club Motto, Greater Knowledge for Better Service, was adopted February 8, 1937. Club colors, White and Yellow, and Club flower, Daisy, were also adopted at that time. A Junior Club was organized November 18, 1939 under the leadership of Mrs. Preston Twigg.

This is an appropriate venue in which to honor those charter members, who are:

Mrs. Mabel Billups, Founder
Mrs. Grover Armistead
Mrs. R. Barclay
Mrs. E.F. Barnes
Mrs. R. Bohannon
Mrs. M.S. Foster
Mrs. E. Clyde Fox
Mrs. John Gill
Mrs. R.R. Hoskins (Mrs. Wm B. Smith)
Mrs. Rodney James
Mrs. T.B. Miller
Mrs. Marvin Minter
Mrs. George Shaw
Mrs. L.M. Somers
Mrs. Gayle Walker
Mrs. W.S. Walker
Mrs. F.T. Weston

The MCWC held its club meetings in the County Library from 1936 until February 12, 1953, when it purchased its own Club House, a building designed by artist and poet Mary Vawter.

Since its inception the Mathews County Woman’s Club has strived to honor its objective of intellectual advancement and social and civic betterment through a variety of activities. Some of the more notable ones include:

  • Financial support for the County Library;

  • Raised relief funds for Chinese, Russian and British war victims prior to U.S. entrance into WW2;

  • Sponsorship of bond drives during WW2;

  • Support for Ft. Eustis Army Hospital during WW2;

  • Held a Victory Clothing Drive to help European and Asian peoples after WW2;

  • Provided scholarships/assistance to school band members, forensic teams, and geography, arts & humanities students;

  • Fund raising and other support for: the PTA, Volunteer Fire Department, Market Days, Volunteer Rescue Squad, Red Cross, Bloodmobile, Coast Guard Auxiliary, Animal Care Society, Girl Scouts, Operation Smile, Camp Easter Seal East, DARE, Peers Educating Peers and Mosquito Control Program.

  • Organized the Mathews County Historical Society as a Club project. The Gazette-Journal of January 23, 1961 commented: "The announcement that an historical society will be formed in Mathews should be received with gratification by those residents who are interested in the preservation of the past. The Mathews Woman's Club is to be congratulated for sponsoring this movement. If carried forward to fulfillment it will plainly meet a great need." As noted further in the Gazette-Journal, on February 20, 1961 the Historical Society's first president, Mrs. Benjamin Monroe Thompson, was sworn in at a meeting held at the Woman's Club.

Additionally, the Club has sponsored Safety, Conservation, Health and Mental Health, and Advocates for Children projects, as well as visits to a Convalescent Center and a Veterans Hospital. It holds a yearly Fashion Show and regular bridge luncheons, and publishes cook books containing Mathews County recipes. These are but a few of the myriad activities carried out over the years by Club members.

Many Club members give unselfishly of their time and abilities to support and carry out the aforementioned programs and activities. It is through their dedication and efforts that the MCWC continues to be an asset to the County. To bring all this together on schedule in an orderly fashion, a comprehensive "Yearbook" is published listing programs, events and membership along with other pertinent information.

The Club holds monthly meetings, September - May, each designed to educate and enlighten members on a wide variety of topics. Speakers from such varied backgrounds as Members of the Virginia House of Delegates, the Sheriff, Artists, Interior Decorators, State Senator, Military Staff Officers, College Professors, Diplomats, Commonwealth Secretary, County Officials, Doctors and Historians have shared their experiences during those meetings.



Following is a tribute to the partnership the Club has enjoyed with the County Library since the early days of its existence. The data has been culled from Club records and from the local newspaper.

The Mathews County Woman’s Club of Mathews, Virginia formed a link with the Mathews Memorial Library right from the beginning of each other’s existence. On June 25, 1936 Mrs. Mabel Billups invited seventeen women to her home. They decided to form a club for civic, social and intellectual advancement. A committee was appointed to interview the Library Committee to obtain permission to hold the Club meetings in the Library. Permission was granted and the Library became the meeting place for the Club until it bought its own clubhouse in 1953. In appreciation for being able to use the Library, the Club promised to donate a sum of not less than $100 yearly.

At that time the Library was in the present Sheriff’s Office building on the court green. Ground breaking for this new building had taken place in August 1929. Through the early 1930s the County was still fund-raising to complete and equip the Library. People were anxious to reduce the library debt and get the facility open. There was concern, however, that there was a lack of grass-root support—that out of town donations exceeded what was being generated locally. Then the hurricane of 1933 flooded the several hundred books that were stored on the floor awaiting the new shelving. It was painfully apparent that the facility could not possibly open in the near future and certainly not “debt free” as planned.

Then the Mathews County Woman’s Club entered the scene. The Library was made the Club’s first civic project. The members took over the project of retiring the debt of the Mathews Memorial Library. Mrs. W.M. Minter secured a donation of green shades for the library windows from the American Legion and the Legion Auxiliary. The Club purchased 24 walnut finished folding chairs to be used in the Library and for Club meetings. A benefit card party was given in the Library on April 2, 1937. The net proceeds ($26.50) were presented to the Library Committee to be applied to its indebtedness. On May 10, 1937 $365 was due on the Library debt and members volunteered to give $100 to reduce it.

A June 3, 1937 article in The Mathews Journal tells of the members of the Mathews Woman’s Club being active that week on a drive to retire the debt for the Mathews Memorial Library. “Committees in all sections of the County are soliciting contributions to the fund and letters are being written and mailed to several hundred former residents of the County now residing elsewhere. While the Woman’s Club sponsored the project, that organization did not attempt to do the job alone, but solicited the cooperation of other groups in the County." The Mathews Journal of June 17, 1937 said that Mrs. W.M. Minter, along with Mrs. Mabel Billups, directed the drive.

In July of 1937 there was an article in The Mathews Journal titled: "Time for Kudos, Woman’s Club Library Drive Nears Finish, Workers have done splendid job and are complimented." The article goes on to say that the "Woman’s Club of Mathews did a splendid job in the drive, which is a project of the club."

The first issue of the combined Gloucester Gazette-Mathews Journal was published November 11, 1937. In it was an article stating that the $10,000 Mathews Memorial Library, which was erected by popular subscription, was dedicated that afternoon with appropriate ceremonies held at the main entrance of the building and at the courthouse nearby. The Library was presented to the County by L.L. Smith, Chairman of the Library Committee, and was accepted by Holland L. White, Chairman of the Board of Supervisors.

The Club has continued its support for the Library over the years. In the 1938-1939 club year a magazine subscription drive was undertaken to benefit the Library, with $51 earned. In 1941-1942, a Club bookshelf was financed by $10 from the Club treasury. After personal books were read by Club members they were turned over to the County Library. In September 1946 the Mathews Memorial Library was cited as one of the outstanding rural libraries of the state. The Chairman and Secretary of the Library Board of Trustees were Club members. In 1947-1948 the Club, in cooperation with elementary school teachers, arranged an exhibit of artwork of Mathews County Schools, which was shown at the Mathews Memorial Library. In the 1951-1952 Club year the Mathews Memorial Library received $602 from a Library Drive, which was sponsored by the Club. In November of 1954 the Club promoted a "Know Your Library Month," an exhibition of prints and watercolors from the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts. The Club Education Committee arranged for posters to be displayed for National Library Week in the 1957-1958 year. There are many notations in our archives about money being donated, about publicizing “Know Your Library Month,” arranging for various exhibits to be held in the Library throughout the 1960s, 1970s, 1980s and 1990s and of the importance of supporting the Library.

The Library today is in a former bank building and recently completed an extensive renovation and enlargement. The Woman's Club joined many civic groups and individuals in supporting that endeavor.



1936-37----------------------------Mrs. Rodney James
1937-38----------------------------Mrs. R.Y. Barkley
1938-41----------------------------Mrs. E.F. Barnes
1941-43----------------------------Miss Jessie Hopkins
1943-46----------------------------Mrs. E.F. Barnes
1946-48----------------------------Mrs. Howard Sadler
1948-50----------------------------Mrs. Thomas Emory
1950-52----------------------------Mrs. D.D. Forrest
1952-54----------------------------Mrs. Clark K. Fales
1954-56----------------------------Miss Dahlia Callis
1956-57----------------------------Mrs. D.D. Forrest
1957-59----------------------------Mrs. R.B. Bowles
1959-61----------------------------Mrs. J.A. Mickelborough
1961-63----------------------------Mrs. G.H. Vogel
1963-64----------------------------Mrs. Temple G. Bass
1964-66----------------------------Mrs. Howard League
1966-68----------------------------Mrs. Benjamin Thompson
1968-70----------------------------Mrs. Beauregard Turner, Jr.
1970-72----------------------------Mrs. G.H. Vogel
1972-73----------------------------Mrs. Hallett B. White
1973-75----------------------------Mrs. W. Duffy Marchant
1975-78----------------------------Mrs. Arnold C. Ripley
1978-80----------------------------Mrs. Waverly B. White
1980-82----------------------------Mrs. J. Samuel Hudgins
1982-84----------------------------Mrs. Hallett B. White
1984-86----------------------------Mrs. John H. Bell
1986-88----------------------------Mrs. Dorothy Hudgins
1988-90----------------------------Mrs. Robert Turner
1990-92----------------------------Mrs. Dorothy Hudgins
1992-94----------------------------Mrs. Ernest Thayer
1994-96----------------------------Mrs. J. Samuel Hudgins
1996-98----------------------------Mrs. Steven Davis
1998-00----------------------------Mrs. W. Jackson Galbraith, Jr.
2000-02----------------------------Mrs. Roger R. Gamble
2002-02----------------------------Mrs. William J. Harden
2002-04----------------------------Mrs. Roger R. Gamble
2004-06----------------------------Mrs. William J. Harden
2006-08----------------------------Mrs. Larry More

2008-09----------------------------Mrs. Stephen Wilson

A scrapbook has been prepared each year almost from the beginning of the Club. Each is filled with pictures, descriptions of activities, fashions and other information about the Club's yearly activities. Those scrapbooks are kept at the Club House and are available to be viewed at any time. They are being copied to CD discs for preservation purposes.

During the Historical Society's February 17, 2005 annual dinner and election of officers, President Mildred Harden and Project Manager Jera Gamble presented to the Society a two CD collection of the Club's Scrapbooks. The CDs, which contain all the information in the Scrapbooks from 1940 to 2004, plus an introduction detailing the history of the Club and a recent picture of the Club House, will be housed in the Historical Society archives in the Mathews County Library. Copies of the CDs will also be stored in the Club House for use by Club members.



Student Scholarships
Mathews County Library
Volunteer Fire Department
Volunteer Rescue Squad
Dr. Seuss Program
Operation Smile
Camp Easter Seal East
Mathews Market Days
Advocates for Children
Conservation, Health and Mental Health
Students' Art Exhibits
Water's Edge Cookbook


Updated October 6, 2006