Commentary

MILAM HISTORY

First female county clerk elected in 1924

This is the 10th in the series of articles on Milam County women.

L illian Jennifer Atkinson daughter of Elliot t and

Rebecca Butts Atkinson was born in the Maysfield area of Milam County.

She was one of eight children.

Her parents began a mercantile business in Maysfield in 1844. The business closed when her father died in 1907.

Lillian attended school at the academy in Maysfield and Stewart Seminary in Austin.

She worked in Hamilton until her father’s death when she moved home with her mother where she taught school for a short time.

She worked in Milam County offices and was elected and served as county clerk from 1924 to 1928, the first woman to hold this office.

She also owned and operated her own insurance and loan company, and was an active member of the Business and Professional Women’s Club in Cameron.

Her interests were varied. She was a good cook, loved gardening, flowers, wild life, fishing and hunting for Indian relics.

Her love for the outdoors was instrumental in introducing and instilling a love of these interests to her nieces, nephews and their friends.

Lillian left a legacy to a large extended family of Williams and Atkinson.

At a time when women were not elected to hold offices in the county, she served the people of Milam County as their county clerk serving during Jeff T. Kemp’s term as the County Judge.

She lived to be 94 years old and is buried in Little River Cemetery.

It would be 58 years before Milam County had another female county clerk after Atkinson left office in 1928.

That happened in 1986 when Willie Mae Wieser was named county clerk to replace her late husband, Wayne Wieser.

Since 1986, Milam has had only female county clerks, Wieser, La Verne Soefje and Barbara Vansa.

Here’s a list of Milam County Clerks dating back to Republic of Texas days:

William D. Thompson, dates not listed; Arthur Eldridge, 1841- 45; Jeremiah Hood, 1845-46.

Francis Duffoe, 1846-1851; Charles Buck holts, 1851- 52; Stroud Melton, 1852-57.

W. D. King, 1857-62; John G. Batte, 1862-66; Jefferson Rodgers, 1866-67.

Z. P. Peter, 1876-69; W. H. Norman and H. Peter, 1869-76; J. C. Rodgers, 1876-80; W. D. Paden, 1880-86.

W. M. Baines, 1886-88; W. M. Gill, 1888-94; J. P. Collier, 1894- 1902; J. E. Tyson, 1902-04; J. T. Kemp, 1904-18.

W. T. Yates, 1918-1922; Lillian Atkinson, 1924-28; Homer Nabours, 1928-1958.

Wayne Wieser, 1958-86, Willie Mae Wieser, 1986-91; La Verne Soefje, 1991-2007; Barbara Vansa, 2007-present.


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