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The Rankin File www.rankinfoundation.org
Winter 2001 Volume 22, No. 3

Memories of Jeannette Rankin
By: Wendell Dawson

“As a youngster growing up in Oconee County, I knew ‘Miss Rankin’ as a neighbor. I visited her home and heard stories about her experiences in the U.S. House of Representatives. I was a member of several public school classes that she spoke to from time to time. Other neighborhood children and I now often trade Jeannette Rankin stories.

Once as a college student, I accompanied her to Clemson University to speak to the Cosmopolitan Club. She spoke of peace and pacifism at every opportunity. I remember and was probably influenced by some of her thoughts. In many ways, some of us thought she was ‘ahead of her time’ in her efforts, but she was truly a pioneer in equality of women and peace issues.

I initiated the effort to place the historical marker at her home site on Mars Hill Road in Oconee County. I also, as a ‘country lawyer,’ encouraged the developer of her property to remember her. The entrance road is named Rankin Road and the Rankin Springs Apartments on Mars Hill Road were named after her.

While Miss Rankin’s bequest was a limited amount in today’s dollars, her life was one of courage and energy and distinction. I have always been proud of my association with the first congresswoman.

Just wanted to share some local color and memory of this outstanding woman.”