Remember When: Women folk in Andalusia

Published 12:00 am Saturday, July 13, 2019

A female folk singing ensemble was popular in the 1963-1966 time frame. The group known as “The Womenfolk” hailed from Los Angeles, California but made their debut and became established in San Francisco. They signed a recording contract with RCA during the folk revival boom of the 1960s releasing several albums. The group which consisted of five women who all played the guitar performed regularly at the “Hungry I Nightclub.” One of their record albums was titled “Womenfolk” which was also the name of their most prominent song of the day recorded live at that location.

     Some of the words of this “women’s lib” song, I will call it, described the freedom movement during that historical time in our nation’s history. “The times, they are a’changin’” Bob Dylan sang! Here are the lyrics whether you menfolk like it or not!

     “The first man created was Adam, then Eve from his rib was designed. Since then man’s made woman his backbone. All over the world you’ll find – Womenfolk, Womenfolk, tending the sows; Womenfolk, Womenfolk, pushing the plows; Womenfolk, Womenfolk, milking the cows.”

     “A woman is meant to be courted, so gallantly on bended knee, but after the courting is over, in every man’s home you’ll find – Womenfolk, Womenfolk, down on all fours; Womenfolk, Womenfolk, scrubbing his floors; Womenfolk, Womenfolk, doing the chores.”

     “Since Eve was created from Adam, the bearers of life have been we, and we in creating all mankind, create our own misery – Womenfolk, Womenfolk, mothers of sons; Womenfolk, Womenfolk, hell is homespun; Womenfolk, our lives they run; Womenfolk, Womenfolk, What have we done?”

     Another of their albums from 1964 was called “Never Underestimate the Power of The Womenfolk!”

     “The Singing Sisters,” a folk singing group at the Andalusia High School, must have thought that idea true as well since the “Womenfolk” song was part of their repertoire as they performed at many hootenannies in south Alabama during the 1964 and 1965 years.

     Women have definitely made their way through the years  establishing business careers and serving in leadership roles – social, religious, educational, governmental, cultural, medical, and political, in our hometown of Andalusia and across the nation. Since the early 1900s, local women founded many civic clubs even before there were automobiles to drive in. They established the public library, landscaped the public square, and formed a number of garden clubs. They were also active in women’s suffrage and afterwards urged women to register to vote in the early 1920s.   

     There were a lot of “firsts” that eventually came along when women blazed the trail – First Woman D. A., First Woman City Council Member, First Woman Police Officer, First Woman Chamber of Commerce President, First Women on the Jury, First Woman Principal, First Woman School Superintendent, First Woman Newspaper Editor, First Woman Funeral Director, First Woman County Clerk, First Woman Probate Judge, First Woman Tax Collector, First Woman Sheriff (Yes, there was one!). The list goes on and on.

     The picture featured today shows a fine group of “ladies” posed on the front steps of the old First Baptist Church in the early 1930s. The church at that time was located on Crescent Street at the curve behind the Covington County Courthouse in what is now a parking lot south of Magnolia Cemetery. It was razed in the late 1950s to move to a location on East Three Notch Street, because more room was needed for a growing church membership. Additional parking was desperately needed at the time which was not needed in 1911 when that brick structure with three towering steeples and stained glass windows was built.

    A caption under that old photo reads, “Styles change through the years, but one’s devotion to their church never does.” Women have historically played important roles in the life of all the Andalusia area churches in their Bible Study Circles, Missionary Unions, Church Choirs, and other committees. However, not surprising, there were no women listed on the dedicatory program as being members of the Building Committee on June 7, 1914.

     A chapter of the Camp Fire Girls in Andalusia was organized in 1919 by Mrs. Trammel E. Henderson, nee Ara Snead. Another photo featured here is a 1921 group of young ladies taken behind Mrs. Henderson’s house on the corner of East Three Notch and 4th Avenue. The Camp Fire Girls, a national organization, was organized in 1910, the same year that the Boy Scouts got started. Its programs emphasized camping and other outdoor activities. In 1975, its policy was changed to being co-ed. Just like girls wanting to be Boy Scouts, the Camp Fire Girls had some boys wanting to join their organization!

     In August of 1959, forty years after the Camp Fire Girls of Andalusia began, a grand reunion was held at the Robert D. Burgess cottage on Gantt Lake. The reunion was to honor Mrs. Henderson for her leadership role of the organization.  Besides the sixteen “grown-up” girls that attended, telegrams and cards were received from those former Camp Fire Girls who could not attend for various reasons.

     According to Eunice Parker Cook’s notes about the occasion, Mrs. Henderson’s life history was given by Alma Burgess who told the leader’s interest in the girls of Andalusia not having an organization where the boys had scouts. A few names of the “alumnae” present which readers today might recognize included Myrtice Malcomb Benson, Rosalind Prestwood, Thelma Moates, Marcella Driggers Jones, Mary Benson Mathews, Alma Carson Burgess, Evelyn Finley, and Louise Pelham Taylor. The program ended with the presentation of a gift to Mrs. Henderson of a beautiful black leather handbag and white kid gloves.

     The Camp Fire Girls almost always referred to their outfits as costumes rather than uniforms. One of their costumes is now a significant artifact on display at the Three Notch Museum on Historic Central Street.

     Womenfolk and menfolk, browse through the 1981 “Progress Edition” of The Andalusia Star News, and one can confirm and Remember When that the times, they were (certainly) a’changin’!


     Sue Bass Wilson, AHS Class of 1965, is a local real estate broker and long-time member of the Covington Historical Society. She can be reached at