I was very impressed with the special edition on this year’s Women of Distinction. What a beautiful, caring, talented group of ladies. Some of them I have known for many years and have always admired. What a privilege to be introduced to the rest of them and to put a face to a name. Congratulations to all and especially to Nancy Fishering who was voted Woman of the Year by the other candidates! Ladies, keep up the good work!
From the town’s beginning, it has been the women of the town who have come forth to make sure our city is, and remains, a civilized place. They give the softer touch.
From the get-go, the pioneer women insisted that a Sunday school and a school would be started; however, being tethered by the Victorian code, they knew that an individual woman could accomplish very little; thus the organization of the Cliolian Club in 1895.
In those days, husbands “wore the pants,” so to speak and wives were very loyal to their husbands. It seems there was a political dispute between a couple of male leaders in the community, Mr. Sherman and Mr. Kyle. Mrs. Mary Sherman, a charter member of the Cliolian Club, told before her death how she came to organize the Reviewers Club in 1897. Soon after the Cliolian Club was organized, the name of Mrs. Kyle, a very lovely lady, was proposed for membership. Sherman black-balled her. Mrs. Dalrymple, the Cliolian President told Sherman that she would either have to take back the black-ball or resign. Sherman chose to resign and promptly organized the Reviewers Club.
Later, although she was very proud of the Reviewer’s Club and their accomplishments, she showed that she regretted her actions, saying “Politics made not only strange bedfellows, but mortal enemies.”
Members of the Reviewers Club did countless positive projects for the town. They bought books to donate to the “Reading Room,” the town’s first library, while individuals from the club each took turns volunteering their time to keep it open. In 1922, it was the ladies of the club as well as other women in town who pushed for a new City Hall (the current building) and library.
The Reviewers joined other clubs in furnishing the Lions Club House with dishes, tables, chairs and other necessities. They also aided the DAR (Daughters of the Revolution) in establishing the Chipeta Memorial, precursor of the current Ute Indian Museum.
In 1913, the Colorado flag was made under the direction of Mrs. Eric Anderson, then presented to National Guard Company D when they were called out during trouble with Mexico.
It was the Reviewers Club who spearheaded the first “green movement” in this area. When loved ones died, it formerly was the custom to send flowers to the bereaved; women of the Reviewers voted instead to donate blocks of trees for reforestation.
During World War I, the club gave generously to the Red Cross, Furlough Camps, American Relief, Salvation Army, etc.
Member Nellie Lacher summed it up very well in her address at the Reviewer’s 50th anniversary: “The club has never been bound by tradition and has always been willing to accept the new. The 19th amendment widened women’s horizons and she accepted the challenge. Today, women are interested in all national and world affairs. She wants to understand these problems because only by understanding will they be solved. The woman of today wants to live so that the world of tomorrow will be better than it is today.”
And that was in 1947! Doesn’t it pretty much embody what today’s Women of Distinction revealed in their interviews as well as in what they are accomplishing?
Marilyn Cox, a native of Montrose County, grew up on a farm and was always surrounded by countless family members who instilled the love of family and history. She retired from the Montrose County School District and, for 21 years, served as curator of the Montrose County Historical Museum.