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By Word & Example


A Bicentennial Project of the Episcopal Church Women

Guidelines for Submitting a “BY WORD & EXAMPLE” Sketch



November 24, 1921 – March 29, 2005

by Elizabeth G. (Bett) Hargrave, Grace Episcopal Church, Lexington, NC, 2016

Winifred Noble (Winsie) BlantonWinifred Noble Blanton, “Winsie” to all who knew her, was a true pioneer in forging social justice in a rural, Southern town. She was clear about her values of equality for women and African Americans and she worked diligently in her church and other community organizations toward achieving these goals.

Don and Winsie moved to Lexington in 1957 and were leaders in their parish, Grace Episcopal Church for almost 50 years. Winsie sang in the choir, served on the Vestry, was active in the ECW, and the Adult Planning Committee that conducted a popular Sunday School Forum for adults. Her passion was social justice and she was a perennial member of the church’s outreach program, the Social Concerns Commission. She was involved in the church’s Refugee Resettlement Program which brought a number of Cambodian refugees to Lexington to help them build new and productive lives.

Winsie’s commitment to social justice was extended into the larger Lexington community. She helped found the local Meals on Wheels program and was a loyal Grace Church volunteer for many years. She was instrumental in the establishment and ongoing activities of the Lexington Ecumenical Social Ministries, an important inter-denominational agency serving the disadvantaged population by providing emergency crisis Assistance. She was among the first volunteers to be trained and help in the Lexington Domestic Violence program. In the beginning she contributed to the telephone help line for victims and, as the program grew, led the effort to establish a permanent shelter.

One of her more important contributions was as an advocate for Davidson County Community Action, Inc., an organization that was designed to be an incubator for new and innovative programs. As an active board member, in addition to fundraising, she helped establish programs like the Neighborhood Youth Corps, Head Start, Community Food and Nutrition, Drug Prevention, High School Drop Out Prevention and Day Care Centers.

Another of Winsie’s passion was women’s rights. She was the first woman to run for political office by filing for a seat on the Lexington City Council in 1962. Although unsuccessful in winning a seat, she raised the consciousness of many in the community to advocate for women in politics. As a founding member of the Lexington Women’s Political Caucus, she paved the way for the first woman to be elected to the council in 1981 and the first woman to be elected to the county commission in 1982. She was one of two women sent by the Episcopal Diocese of North Carolina to participate in the national Task Force on the Concerns of Women.

Winsie Blanton was an inspiration to all who were fortunate enough to know her and work with her.



May 9, 1920 – October 9, 2012

by Gertrude Murchison, St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church, Winston-Salem, 2016 

Laura Louise HooperMiss Laura Louise Hooper, a lady who shared her gifts, was the daughter of Thomas Harrison Hooper and Willie Taylor Hooper of Winston-Salem, North Carolina. She was a lifelong member of Saint Stephen’s Episcopal Church, Winston-Salem, where she was dedicated to the ministry of the church, spiritually, physically and financially. Her earliest memory of the church’s clergy was that of the Rev. Joseph Theodore McDuffie, who served the congregation from 1924 to 1927.

Laura was trained early to work in the church. She washed the church’s linen, sang in both the youth and adult choirs and played the organ for many congregational ministries. She taught Sunday school for several years and motivated many young people. She grew flowers for the beautification of the outside of the church and taught flower arranging to the church women. Along with doing calligraphy for the church and the Episcopal Church Women, she was the “go to person” when historical information about the church, the Episcopal Church Women and the Diocese of North Carolina was needed.

Laura developed her talents in oil acrylic painting and a range of sewing skills from quilting to knitting and crocheting. She also taught the church women these skills, and they made aprons and kneelers. She served the Women’s Auxiliary/Episcopal Church Women as a youth advisor, Christian Education leader, a Christian Social Relations member, and was the branch ECW Treasurer for many years. She also served as a member of the St. Stephen’s Vestry.

At the diocesan level Laura participated in many ways, including service as a Lay Delegate to several Diocesan Conventions and ECW Annual Meetings. She mentored many of Saint Stephen’s church women and women in the community. The Episcopal Church was very dear to Laura Louise Hooper’s heart and she was an inspiration to all she met.



1860 – 1955

by Charles Hall Ashford, Jr., MD, Christ Episcopal Church, New Bern, NC, 2016

Caroline Ann Winder HughesCaroline Ann Winder Hughes was born in Raleigh in 1860, the daughter of Maj. John Cox Winder and Octavia Maria Bryan. Her father was a civil engineer and Vice President of the Seaboard Air Line Railroad. Her mother was born in the James Bryan house on Pollock Street in New Bern.

Caroline’s grandfather Bryan purchased pew No. 26 in Christ Church New Bern for $250 in 1825 to help fund the building of the “new Episcopal Church.” He practiced law and was a trustee of the University for 45 years. In 1838 he moved his family to Raleigh to have better access to education for his twelve children. Her other grandfather, Gen. John Henry Winder, was a graduate of West Point and his father was Gen. William Henry Winder who became a prominent lawyer in Baltimore.

Caroline married Francis Wade Hughes, MD in Christ Church, Raleigh, in 1883 and moved to New Bern. He graduated from Princeton University and the University of Pennsylvania School Of Medicine. His father, Isaac Wayne Hughes, MD (1804-1881), graduated from the Medical Department of the University of Pennsylvania and moved from Pennsylvania to New Bern in 1825. After his father’s death, Hughes joined his uncle (James Bettner Hughes, MD) in their medical practice in New Bern.

Caroline Hughes was a faithful member of Christ Church. Her home was the Judge Donnell house (1819) on Craven Street from which she could walk her children and grandchildren to church. She sat on the left side of the center aisle a few pews from the front. Her pew had individual kneelers and a wired earphone to aid the hard of hearing. She also taught Sunday school to the children of the Long Wharf section of New Bern in All Saints Chapel on Pollock Street and was responsible for many baptisms.

The Hugheses greatly enlarged the Donnell house to the rear adding a large dining room, kitchen, pantry and laundry room. Also added were commodious bedrooms and porches on the first level and several large apartments on the second. At any one time, multiple children with family would be accommodated for extended periods and all join for midday dinner. (The dining table had five leaves!) Caroline was the true matriarch, especially during the Depression years.

When Caroline Hughes died in 1955 she was 95 years old and her mind was clear to the end. She was buried in Cedar Grove Cemetery. As members of Christ Church the Hugheses were buried in Cedar Grove, which had been opened by Christ Church in 1800 when the churchyard had been overfilled with graves.

Caroline was a bright, involved, happy and fun great grandmother and was known to her family and friends as Carrie.



b. May 19, 1926

by Audrey Congdon Harris, St. Mary’s Episcopal Church, High Point 2017

Colleen Ivey HartsoeActive church members Colleen and Charlie Hartsoe raised their children at St. Mary’s where she is a member of ECW, St. Cecilia’s chapter, and served as President in 1975. Colleen participated in ECW Diocesan Convocations, Annual Meetings and was instrumental in the establishment of the Lex Matthews Scholarship Fund. Her famous ‘Cosmic Women’ skit was enjoyed by many. Always advocating for children, she organized and recruited teachers for the nursery, preschool, Sunday School, and Vacation Bible School, and taught children’s Sunday School for many years. When asked why she didn’t bring donuts like another teacher replied, “he feeds their stomachs, I feed their souls.”

Following her stint in children’s ministry, she led the Adult Forum and initiated the first Women’s Bible Study. A groundbreaker, she was also the first woman chalice bearer at St. Mary’s, an early female member of the Vestry, frequent delegate to conventions, and in our original EFM class.

Talented writer, poet, and artist, Colleen is known for her illustrated Christmas cards. Interested in women’s issues, and as the St. Mary’s ‘Premier Historian’, Colleen authored books including: Dear Daughter, Letters from Eve and Other Women in the Bible, The Church Women—A Woman’s Guide to Church Membership, and A History of a Church. As church newsletter editor for three decades, parishioners looked forward to her weekly synopses of Scriptures to be read in church, for which she studied and prepared thoroughly. ‘Did you knows?’, tidbits of ecumenical knowledge and information, highlights of our own parish and the diocese were reported with flair. Her kids’ quotes, gleaned from outside sources and her Sunday School Classes, were hilarious. One definition of the Columbarium: “Sure, you know, it’s that place when people die, they call ‘em and bury ‘em!”

From parishioners: “She has given so much to our church, willing to challenge and question things she not necessarily understands or agrees with”, “A sleuth of the Episcopal Church, researching it’s history and purpose, a voice for the role of women in the Church.” Also: “A smart, gracious, inspirational, welcoming woman”, “Great teacher and scholar”, and: “Her wisdom and knowledge comes into play every time she meets with us, discussing different angles – thought provoking.” She told one parishioner that she never marched or demonstrated for women’s rights and issues, and that her calling was to simply write about them.

In the community, Colleen was involved in the inception of the Developmental Day Care Center and kept their books for a time. An active member of Church Women United, she once served as President. A long term member of her book club, Colleen provoked stimulating dialogues. She and husband Charlie have been faithful Mobile Meals delivery volunteers for about 20 years.

This collection of memories & recollections is gathered from friends and church family at St. Mary’s, and written with LOVE, about a significant woman who always dedicated her work to God and those who inspired her.



January 10, 1903 – April 24, 1991

by Barbara Sue Oglesby Nicholl, St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church, Erwin, NC, 2016

Maude Elizabeth Graham BostThe life of Maude Graham Bost is inextricably intertwined with the history of St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church. St. Stephen’s was built in 1905 under the leadership of W. A. Erwin, on land he contributed. Mr. Erwin, the founder of Erwin Cotton Mills Company, is still a benefactor of St. Stephen’s through a legacy in his will. The wooden church burned on New Year’s Day in 1922. Senior Warden Edwin Heathman Bost led the church in the construction of a brick structure, consecrated by Bishop Cheshire on October 14, 1923. This building is still in use as a living historic church of the diocese.

Edwin H. Bost was the plant manager of Erwin Mills from 1919 to 1955. His first wife, Grace Coley Bost, is memorialized in the stained glass window above the altar of St. Stephen’s. Grace and Edwin had three sons, Henry Bost, James “Buck” Bost, and Edwin McLeod Bost. After Grace’s death, Mr. Bost married Maude Elizabeth Graham in 1940, and the couple had two sons, Robert Bost and Samuel Fraley Bost. Edwin H. Bost died in 1956, and Maude continued rearing their family in the church.

Maude quietly, yet purposefully, thoughtfully, and capably, devoted her entire life to her family, the Town of Erwin, and St. Stephen’s. The St. Stephen’s Church Directory, published in 1991, contained this tribute in memory of Maude. The author is Martha Smith.

The parishioners of St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church lovingly dedicate this directory to the memory of Maude Elizabeth (Graham) Bost, who for five decades epitomized for the people of St. Stephen’s and the citizens of Harnett County the love of God demonstrated in service to others.

Residents of Erwin and Harnett County – especially those whom she taught to read – honor Maude, Erwin’s first “Woman of the Year,” for her service to the Harnett County Literacy Council, the Erwin School Board, the Good Hope Hospital, and the Red Cross.

Her fellow parishioners knew the strong leadership that she offered the vestry, the Episcopal Women of the Church, the Episcopal Young Churchmen, and the women of the convocation, whom she served as treasurer.

All fondly recall her wit, the depth of her friendship, and the courage, commitment, and good humor with which she enriched all our lives.

Maude was born in Jonesville, Virginia, and taught school for many years, prior to her marriage. Her interest in education led to her being the first woman ever elected Chairman of the Erwin School Board. She helped pilot the Erwin Friendship Club for senior citizens retired from the mill. Maude was a genuine friend and always welcomed newcomers by visiting in their homes.

Maude’s husband was instrumental in founding St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church and served on its vestry for many years, but it is because of Maude’s service throughout the years and her wonderful and gracious wit that she is fondly remembered today by older church members. Fittingly, tower chimes given in her memory ring out every Sunday from St. Stephen’s as a call to worship.