Kentucky Female School Superintendents Prior to School Suffrage in 1912

Harold Peach's picture

In 1912 the Kentucky General Assembly passed legislation giving literate women who otherwise met the same requirements as men, the right to vote in school elections. Sixty-one women in forty-eight counties were elected as County Superintendent of Schools in the years before this legislation was passed. Amanda T. Million was the first female superintendent in Kentucky. She was appointed in 1886 to fill her deceased husband’s unexpired term and was subsequently elected to the office twice. Another 13 women were elected for the first time in 1913, the first election when women throughout Kentucky could vote for superintendent. At least two additional women served partial terms. The entire list of 76 women is shown in the table below by county and election year.

School superintendents served four-year terms. Elections were held in odd years at four-year intervals between 1889 and 1913. Superintendents elected in 1889 took office in September 1890 and those elected in 1893 took office on the second Monday in August 1894. Between 1897 and 1913 general elections were held in November and primaries in August. The winner took office on the first Monday in January of the even numbered year following the election. There were 119 counties throughout the period, except for 1913, when there were 120 counties in Kentucky.

  Election Year

County

Superintendent Name

1889

1893

1897

1901

1905

1909

1913

Adair

Georgia Reed Shelton

    

  

Adair

Pearl Hindman

     

 

Allen

Mrs. Ellen Lewis

   

   

Anderson

Lee M. Campbell

      

Ballard

Miss A. Dee Sublette

   

   

Barren

Nettie B. Depp

      

Bath

Miss Pickett Metcalfe

    

  

Bourbon

Miss Kate Edgar

 

    

Bourbon

Miss Nell B. Bedford

   

   

Bourbon

Mabel Robbins

     

Boyle

Lydia B. Lewis

      

Breathitt

Miss Cappie Little

 

     

Caldwell

Nannie R. Catlett

  

 

 

Calloway

Lucile Grogan Jones

     

Carroll

Mrs. Lucia Smith

  

    

Carroll

Sallie Ford

      

Christian

Miss Kate/Katie McDaniel

 

   

Christian

Jennie West

     

 

Clark

Nora Wilkinson / Nora Scott

  

    

Clinton

Ermon Sloan

     

 

Crittenden

Miss Mina Wheeler

 

    

Cumberland

Cora Simpson Payne

      

Elliott

Mollie Horton Greene

    

  

Fayette

Nannie Gastineau Faulconer

    

Fleming

Anna G. Six

    

  

Fleming

Lute Palmer Williams

     

 

Floyd

Oma Preston

      

Franklin

Miss Lucy Pattie

 

   

Fulton

Dora M. Smith

   

  

Fulton

Virginia Luten

     

Garrard

Eliza J. Lusk

  

   

Garrard

Mittie A. Demen

    

  

Garrard

Jennie Higgins

     

Graves

Lizzie C. McGoodwin

  

    

Grayson

Ella Lewis

      

Greene

Lizzie Y. Graham

   

Greenup

Sophie E. Kitchen

      

Henderson

Bettie Cheatam Muncaster

    

  

Henry

Miss Rose Jesse

   

   

Hickman

Dora M. Smith

    

  

Hopkins

Miss Sallie R. Brown

  

   

Jefferson

Mrs. Rosa A. Stonestreet

  

  

Lee

Miss Lillie B. Mahan

      

Leslie

Mary Hoskins

     

 

Logan

Mrs. A. K. Broderson

  

    

Madison

Amanda T. Million

     

Magoffin

Martha B. Arnett

   

 

 

Mason

Jessie O. Yancey

     

McCreary

Nora E. Alcorn

      

Mercer

Ora L. Adams

    

Montgomery

Miss Mary G. Anderson

  

   

Morgan

Nannie E. Fields

    

  

Muhlenberg

Miss Nannie Jones

  

   

Muhlenberg

Amy M. Longest

      

Nicholas

Mattie Bedford Hamm

   

  

Nicholas

Lida E. Gardner

     

Oldham

Miss Lucy M. Blakemore

  

   

Owsley

Mrs. M. E. Herd

 

     

Pendleton

Mrs. Hattie Orr

  

   

Powell

Kate S. Bohannan

      

Robertson

Mrs. Kate Zollar

  

 

  

Rowan

Cora Wilson Stewart

   

 

 

Rowan

Lyda Messer

    

  

Scott

Mary Bradley

      

Spencer

Mrs. Lucy V. West

    

Spencer

Miss M. B. Miller

   

  

Spencer

Kate B. Beauchamp

     

Todd

Miss Mina Griffin

   

   

Trimble

Carrie Logan Hood

      

Washington

Ella D. Shaunty

      

Wayne

Mrs. M. F. Denney

     

Webster

Mary L. Bailey

    

  

Whitley

Rachel Tye

    

  

Wolfe

Taylor Shockey

 

 

 

 

 

 

TOTAL

  

4

9

18

20

20

18

25

Source: Compiled from reports of the county superintendents published in issues of the Biennial Report of the Superintendent of Public Instruction of Kentucky…; 1889 and 1893 data are from the Biennial Report for 1894, pp. 654-656 & 658-660; 1897 is based on a table listing superintendents for 1898-1902, pp. 798-799; 1901 is based on a table listing superintendents for 1902-1906, pp. 548-551; 1905 is based on the Biennial Report for 1905-1907, pp. 91-185 (Dora M. Smith is listed as superintendent for two districts in this report); 1909 is based on Biennial Report for 1909-1911, pt. I, pp. 18-128; data for 1913, 1915, and 1917 were manually compiled from the reports for these years.

This table includes those superintendents with traditionally female given names and names preceded by Mrs. or Miss. Names with traditionally male given names or names listed with only initials were categorized as male unless other evidence was available to the contrary. When possible counts for a given year were cross-checked against other sources to ensure accuracy. For some years there was no report for a county.