Lillian Whisnante, a member for seventy-five years, remembers the beginnings of her club membership. "I used to go to the meetings with my mama who was a member. Each month the county agent would come to one of the members' houses and teach us about canning, gardens and sewing, and we would have a lunch. This was the beginning of the Pine Grove Woman's club. When I was 18 and a new bride, I became a member." It was 1935.
Present day Pine Grove Woman's Club has 31 members including six with over 50 years of membership. They meet once a month in their clubhouse next to Pine Grove Presbyterian Church. Members come from Covington, Social Circle, Mansfield, Monroe and Newborn. Membership has been revitalized in recent years from newcomers to the area.
Their concrete block clubhouse sits on property donated in 1955 by the Cooper family whose farm was across the road at one time. "The women of the club cooked for the Mansfield Lions Club and Newton County Dairy Association, sold cookbooks and held yard sales to buy the materials to build the clubhouse," said Jewel Hitchcock, a member since 1952. Jewel is very active and tells how she approached and got the Snapping Shoals EMC to fund a new roof for the clubhouse two years ago.
Margaret Ozburn, who joined in 1958, described the club's activities. "Our special project is visiting the Covington Manor Nursing Home in October and bringing the residents snacks and flowers from our gardens. We also celebrate all our birthdays at a yearly birthday party exchanging ten dollar gifts. Each August, we go to nearby Burge Plantation where our original meetings were held and have a salad luncheon. It sounds like all we do is eat."
Eating, recipes and monthly-themed programs are enjoyed by the membership, but it is the obvious friendships that have held the club together.
Whisnante explained that she is still canning up to 50 quarts of tomatoes each year from her son's garden and tells how she gets the seeds out before canning. Hitchcock who used to be a 4-H adviser disagrees with her on the tomato seed issue. You can tell these women have known each other for a long time; all this disagreement is all in fun.
Jean Elder, a "new" member of only 15 years, hails from the Pittsburgh, Pa., area and is excited about the 100-year anniversary which will be celebrated Saturday. "We are having speakers talking about the history of the community and the club and later a picnic lunch cooked by the best cooks around," said Elder.
Other members with over 50 years of membership are Ophelia Elliott, Elizabeth Ozburn and Geneva Hodges.