Friday, March 12, 2010

Fearless Females - Prompt 12

March 12 - Working girl: Did your mother or grandmother work outside the home? What did she do? Describe her occupation.

Once again, my subject in this series is my maternal grandmother, Emma Taylor Hopkins. Until I read this prompt, it had never really occurred to me that she was the only female direct ancestor I have who worked outside the home. She had several different jobs over the years including working at the Post Office, at a bank and teaching school all before she married my grandfather a few days before her 20th birthday.

Emma had always wanted to be a teacher but was too young to take the teacher's exam when she graduated from high school in 1916. She went to work at the Post Office until she could take the test. She passed the teacher's test on her first attempt and got a job in a neighboring county for for the 1918-19 school year. She was enjoying teaching until the flu caused schools to be closed in February that year and she never taught full time again. She returned to work at the Post Office and before long the Postmaster came down with the flu and his Assistant left to join the Navy. So at the age of 18, Emma was running the Mt. Vernon Post Office. By 1920, she was working at Peoples Bank as an Assistant Cashier but resigned when she got married.

Emma behind the counter at the Loyall Post Office.

In March, 1937, Emma became Postmaster at Loyall, Kentucky and held that position until September, 1941. She was the bookkeeper for a small coal mine for a couple of years after that and then about thirty years after the flu cut her only year of teaching short, she returned to the classroom as a substitute teacher.

Fearless Females is a series of daily prompts for March in honor of Women's History Month created by Lisa Alzo at The Accidental Genealogist.


  1. Linda - I wondered as I made my post for this same prompt "how many will have photos of their working female ancestors at work?" This is a fantastic gem and I think we're both very lucky to have them.

  2. I agree with Cindy...this is an amazing photo. My grandmothers both worked before marriage but not after. My own mother worked before she married and for a brief time after two of us left home married. I have no photos of any of them.