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A Brief History of the Democratic Women of Cleveland County
Women perform varied roles in the Democratic Party–for example, precinct leader or county officer. At the same time, the party provides an organizational link for women’s particular political interests.
We are Democratic Women of Cleveland County (DWCC). an auxiliary of the Cleveland County Democratic Party. As such, we are also a chapter of Democratic Women of North Carolina, which itself is a recognized auxiliary of our state party organization.
As women became more active in politics once granted the right to vote in 1920, we had excellent role models to lead the way. They were Fay Webb Gardner and Margaret (Bess) Gardner Hoey, Shelby sisters-in-law who became North Carolina First Ladies. Gov. O. Max Gardner and Gov. Clyde R. Hoey were part of the “Shelby Dynasty” that helped lead our state out of the Great Depression. And, with their governor husbands, Miss Fay and Miss Bess championed women’s involvement in politics as the way to advance citizens’ lives and to improve country, county, and community.
In 1978, interest grew in forming a local Democratic party auxiliary for women. Recognizing the opportunity were Clyde Nolan, longtime party stalwart known as “Mr. Democrat,” and Joyce Cashion, a pioneering community leader elected to the Cleveland County Board of Commissioners.
Recruited as the first DWCC officer slate were Julia Palmer, president; Sandra Connor, vice president; Beverly Hamrick, secretary; and Marlena Gold, treasurer. The organizational meeting for the new group was held June 29, 1978, at the Law Enforcement Center.
Following Ms. Palmer as successive DWCC presidents have been Marjorie Rogers, Bonnie Reece, Ann Deaton, Joyce W. Sheaffer, Peggy Strickland, Betsy Wells, Brenda Lipscomb, Leatha Lockhart, Priscilla Dunlap, and Joyce Gladstone.
Today, DWCC continues to support causes and candidates consistent with its mission and values. Over the years, several members have sought and won countywide office, including Ruth Dedmon, Linda Thrift, and Mitzi Johnson, clerk of court; Marjorie Rogers and Bonnie Reece, register of deeds; Joyce Cashion and Mary Accor, county board of commissioners. Ms. Accor was the first woman to chair the commission.
Highlights in DWCC History
Late 1970s: A Shelby Daily Star photo with cutline proclaims “Democratic Women of Cleveland County get men members, too.” The photo marks the beginning of associate membership for men wishing to join our organization. (Men continue to be welcome!)
2011 and 2012: DWCC hosts highly successful fundraising breakfasts recognizing Fay Webb Gardner and Bess Hoey.
2013: DWCC hosts the state convention of Democratic Women of North Carolina, drawing participants from across the state to Shelby and the LeGrand Center.
2022: DWCC is responsible for the successful fundraising drive to make the CCDP Billboards Project possible.
When and Where We Meet
We hold our regular monthly meetings on the 3rd Monday of every month at 6:00 PM unless otherwise shared with members.
how to join
Become a Valued Member of the Democratic Women of Cleveland County
Dues are $10 per year. You may pay them in person, by mail, or through our website. But we can discuss all that when we welcome you aboard.
And if for any reason, you simply don’t like filling out online forms, reach out to us at [email protected]. We’ll be glad to send you a membership form by email or by USPS.