Thursday, April 3, 2014

A to Z April Challenge: C is for Courtney



My theme for the A to Z April Challenge is “In-Laws and Out-Laws – Friends of the Family.”  I will be researching friends, colleagues, neighbors - those people who came and went touching my family’s lives in both small and large ways. 


 is for Courtney Thurston Garland.

Courtney’s pictures are dotted throughout the college scrapbook of my grandaunt Velma Davis Woodring.  Since Courtney was born and raised in Chase City in Mecklenburg County, Virginia, it is safe to assume that Velma and Courtney met as first year students at Harrisonburg Teachers College (now James Madison University).  

One of the pictures was taken outside Wellington Hall, so probably Courtney lived in this dorm where Velma lived as well. 

Courtney Garland and unknown Nov 1924 Harrisonburg, VA
Left:  Courtney Garland
Right:  Unknown
In the background is Wellington Hall
November 1924

Courtney was a beautiful girl who took an active leadership role.  Like many others, she joined the Athletic Association and YWCA.

Courtney Garland 1924 Harrisonburg, VA
But she wasn’t so much an athlete as a Renaissance woman equally at home in the arts. She was a member of the Choral Club and secretary of the Glee Club. She served as president of the Page Literary Society during the third quarter in 1925.  Courtney put her writing skills to work when called on to write the Class Prophecy – in poetry form.

She must have been very social as well since she was a member of the Cotillion Club which was responsible for hosting dances throughout the year.   In what looks like a “superlatives”-type election, her class dubbed her both Most Original and Most Accommodating.  But her crowning achievement was earning the trust of her class who voted her Class Treasurer.

The quote assigned to her under her graduation picture was “I live in crowds of jollity.”  Sounds about right!

Courtney Garland 1924 Harrisonburg, VA
24 Mar 1907 - 5 Aug 1976


Courtney graduated from the Harrisonburg Teachers College in 1926. This daughter of a general store salesman put her college education to work immediately.   In 1930, she was a public school teacher boarding in Boydton, a town in her native Mecklenburg County. 

By 1940 she was married to Everett Kyhn and they were parents to a 3-year old daughter.  Everett’s work as executive secretary to Virginia Petroleum Industries necessitated a move to Richmond, Virginia.  Even though Everett was quite successful in his career and served on numerous statewide committees, Courtney continued to work.  She taught many years for Henrico County, in particular Ginter Park Elementary School as a classroom teacher and later as the school’s librarian. 

May 1975
Richmond Times Dispatch
Genealogybank.com
accessed 26 Mar 2014

Courtney was a life-long learner.  In May 1975, she wrote a letter to the editor of the Richmond Times Dispatch thanking the governor and General Assembly for allowing senior citizens to take college courses for free.

She died the next year while a resident at the Hermitage, an assisted living facility run by the Virginia United Methodist Church. 












Count on my comrades at the A to Z April Challenge for clever and creative contrivances.

17 comments:

  1. Wendy, this is fascinating - I love family history and I'm an avid watcher of programmes like 'Who Do You Think You Are?' (I know you now have a USA version and we've been getting it over in the UK on repeat - I have a few sitting on my SkyBox because I like to watch them when I have time to sit and make notes. They're great for fiction ideas!)
    Courtney sounds like a great friend to have. I think with a change of tense, 'I live in crowds of jollity' would be an inscription I'd happily have on my gravestone. Very impressed by your research Wendy :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for visiting and for those comments. Yes, I think Courtney sounds like a terrific gal.

      Delete
  2. What a fantastic lady and always learning. I love the outfits of the 1920's as well.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I love those sleeves. In one, they look like lace evening gloves or something.

      Delete
  3. I adore the quote beneath her picture. What a great way to live!

    ReplyDelete
  4. This is as fascinating to me as if it were my own family. I got a kick out of her "Most Accommodating" award. Not sure I'd want that title in this day and age.

    I admire lifelong learners. Sounds like she was an enjoyable gal!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Now that you mention it, "accommodating" can be taken many ways. Let's just assume it meant she was easy to get along with.

      Delete
  5. Velma and Violetta surrounded themselves with smart girls! She sounds like a wonderful person. Great information Miss girl!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. They did, didn't they. As I was digging into Courtney's life, I was impressed that she continued to teach even though her husband was wildly successful. In her generation, most women stayed home, and she could certainly have afforded to. He was a mover and shaker not just in his company but on the state level as well. I imagine they moved easily in the best social circles. Yet, she stuck with teaching. Go Courtney!

      Delete
  6. Just when you think you have gleaned as much as you can from your own Family and the well has run dry or a brick wall puts a stop to a relative...a fountain of information and interesting folks appear. Your aunts photos of friends is certain proving to add to her life and history. I'm really enjoying this approach to the AtoZ Challenge and it is inspiring.
    Sue at CollectInTexas Gal

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm rather liking my theme too because it's so liberating. I've had all these photos but no way to use them. I'm not obligated to do a full genealogical workup on anybody, so a short little bio is just fine. And yes, even then I get a little insight into my aunts' lives too.

      Delete
  7. It sounds like Courtney was a wonderful person. And I too love that quote assigned to her under her graduation picture.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Every time I ran across her photo I thought she was cute, but after researching the bits and pieces I could find about her life, I like her even more.

      Delete
  8. Courtney is very beautiful and sounds wonderful. One of those girls everyone would love to meet and be friends with. Her quote is pretty cool.

    ReplyDelete
  9. I am behind in my blog reading.... I think you are a glutton for punishment to participating in this 30 day challenge again, Wendy! And yet, you always create such interesting posts that are fun to read.

    I love that you have dated photographs of Courtney so we can observe the clothing that was popular at the time -- not models in magazines or advertisements, but that a real person wore. I think it's amazing that you were able to trace her through the rest of her life until her death. And how fun that you found a newspaper article with her letter. Good job!

    ReplyDelete
  10. I love your college photos. It must have been so fun to go to college back then.
    Happy A-Z April!

    ReplyDelete