BIOGRAPHIES of HENDERSON COUNTY


MARY ELIZABETH (KEY) BUTLER

Mary Elizabeth Key Butler came to Lexington in the fall of 1938 to serve as Home Demonstration Agent. In 1945 she married Woodrow Butler and continued to work as home agent until 1948. From 1948 until 1955 she taught sixth grade at the Lexington City School. In 1955 she returned to home demonstration work and remained in that position until her retirement in 1975. Some of Mrs. Butler's responsibilities included helping, rural homemakers learn the "arts" of homemaking. One of her more interesting projects during 1941 and 1942 was that of helping families make their own mattresses out of compacted cotton and ticking supplied by the government. More than 4,000 mattresses were made in those two years. Each family got 50 pounds of compressed cotton and enough ticking for a full sized mattress. After the ticking was sewn, the cotton was put inside and beaten with a broom to be fluffed and distributed. It was then necessary to take a long sharp needle and tuft the cotton to the mattress. During this process injuries could occur. Sometimes the families had not "beaten" the cotton enough to break up the hard clumps, and these clumps could cause the needle to turn as it went upward through the mattress. That turned needle came through the top of the mattress into Mrs. Butler's hand hard enough and frequently enough to draw blood. In 1959 Mrs. Butler traveled to New Orleans, LA, to receive an award for her work with rural families.
Source: Jerry Butler - Rootweb World Connect - Henderson County Tennessee, A Pictorial History" by Brenda Kirk Fiddler, copyright 1996

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