Quote

When the 19th Amendment finally passed the Senate, Marie Stuart Edwards, Peru, IN said: "... we rejoice that this has come just now to the women of America at the dawn of this wonderful reconstruction period. Women are to “sit in” at the remaking of the world. I believe women will bring to our body politic an independence of action, a clarity of thought, unhampered by precedents, and an inspired desire to vote for the best interests of human society. We are calling on all women of the state to study, to carry through their plans for educational work along civic and citizenship lines. We are urging them to put loyalty to humanity, loyalty to country and to state above all ideas of party loyalty, since these new voters have yet to participate in party councils.
“I am glad to see this amendment pass. I am anxious to see it ratified. Most of all, am I anxious to see this great new force in action.
Marie Stuart Edwards, 4 Jun 1919

Friday, December 25, 2020

A Family Affair

 For 3 years now it has been my privilege to associate with Brenda WeaverIt feels as though we have known each other for much longer however, and it is an honor to call her friend.

Brenda had just “retired” from her job at the courthouse and was looking to do something to keep herself busy.  Her love for Miami County and for History brought her to one of the early meetings of Miami County Indiana Worth Remembering in the winter of 2017. 

I remember the first time I met her.  The name was, of course, familiar but I had not expected to meet a down to earth, approachable lady.

She had come to the Miami County Museum, dangling her purse, to join a discussion on how to fill the 100 years’ gap in the history of Miami County.

What also stood out was her unique way of saying things.  Brenda speaks in striking images.  She always has an old proverb or folksy wisdom at the tip of her tongue.  Of course I can’t think one right now but her quotes always resonate truth and common sense!

Brenda is the oldest of 3 children born to  

Donna Jeanette Richmond 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

and Billy Carl Meadows.

The Meadows and their children: Brenda, Rhonda and Billy Carl II lived in Hinton, West Virginia until the railroads brought them to Indiana in the early 60s.

Brenda is married to Terry Weaver, with whom she has 4 children: Monica, Carla, Dean and Myles.

Terry surely knew, when Brenda retired, that she would not likely stay away from the courthouse very long.

Politics is in her DNA. 

When Brenda’s mother, Jeanette Meadows was named Miami County GOP chairwoman in 1998, she said in an interview for the Kokomo Tribune[1], that she had “been involved in politics since 1962”.  She must have meant in Indiana, because the Hinton, WV newspapers show her to have been involved earlier than 1962.

Indeed, Jeanette Meadows, blazed the political trail ahead of her daughters well before the family came to Indiana. 

 She served as Republican County Chair in Summers County, WV.   It may be during this time that she met JFK, who stopped by the Republican Headquarters while on the campaign trail in West Virginia in May 1960[2].  Rhonda Meadows Trexler, also Jeannette’s daughter, then 5y old, was sitting on the counter and she asked the future president if he was going to vote for her great-uncle Punchy Neely[3].


 

Jeanette's son, Billy C., II Meadows recalls seeing Eleanor Roosevelt in Hinton, WV while she was campaigning for JFK in 1960.  That is one of the things about having parents involved in politics: you get to see a lot of VIPs.  Jeanette also ran on the Republican District Ticket in the May 1960 Primaries.

I didn't find much of anything for the 62-68 period but this bit was interesting...

Co-chairing the Whitcomb-for-Governor committee in 1968, Jeanette Meadows and her husband Billy attended the Governor’s inauguration with the Miami County delegation.[4]

She also served as precinct committee person for 15 years.

In November 1975 Jeanette Meadows was appointed Recorder by County Commissioners to serve until the next general election.  She was elected on her own merits in November 1976 (7,678 votes)[5] against Jullianna Nye (5,998 votes).   

That, in fact, made her the first woman to hold an elected office in Miami County.  She was re-elected in November 1987 as recorder[6] with 9,142 votes.

Brenda followed in her mother’s footsteps when she was hired as Deputy Recorder, under Connie Hunt, in 1986.  She felt like she could make a difference on her own, so in 1992, she decided to run for office too.  She was elected Miami County Recorder on her own accord on November 3, 1992[7] and re-elected on Nov 5, 1996.[8]    

In 2000 she was elected Auditor, then again 4 years later.

In 2008, she sought and won election as recorder, once again.  She retained that position until the end of 2016.

It is as we began planning the centennial Poppy Field in 2018, that Brenda started attending the commissioners’ board meetings every other Monday.  It wasn’t long before the political ‘bug’ resurfaced.  Her past experience made her aware of what she could bring to the table to once again make a difference for Miami County. 

Marking 100 years of women’s right to vote in the United States, 2020 was the magic number for another ‘first woman’ in Miami County History and Brenda was up for the challenge.

 

On November 3, 2020, Brenda was elected Miami County Commissioner, the first woman to ever hold this office here.  Brenda is back in her element again! 

Her mother was surely proud of her career as a civil servant and likely smiled from above as she watched her granddaughter, Carla Weaver holding a familiar family Bible where Brenda’s hand rested as Judge Timothy Spahr administered the oath this Dec 23, 2020.  


During that same 1998 interview Jeanette Meadows said: “We’re the only two mother and daughter elected in the same office in the state.”

While Jeanette worked hard at promoting and electing other leaders in the state, Brenda felt she could tackle the role of County Commissioner.  Her woman’s touch and good old common sense, but also her keen awareness of laws, rules and regulations should come in very handy navigating thru the difficult times ahead.

We congratulate her and are happy for her.  We wish her the best as she joins the other county commissioners in her new duties.  Time to roll up the sleeves. There is lots of work ahead!

Brenda has also served in many other capacities including more recently as President of the Miami County Historical Society. She stepped down from this position to assume the responsibilities of county commissioner but we are lucky to be able to say she can continue with us at Miami County Indiana Worth remembering, since we do not receive county funding.

 



[1] Kokomo Tribune 15 Feb 1998, Kokomo, IN

[2] 4 May 1960

[3] Punch Neely – the Sunday Gazette-Mail, 27 Sep 1959, Charleston, WV

[4] Kokomo Tribune 12 Jan 1969, Kokomo, IN

[5] The Logansport Pharos-Tribune 3 Nov 1976, Logansport, IN

[6] Logansport Pharos Tribune 4 Nov 1987, Logansport, IN – “Nearly 15,000 of Miami County’s 18,000 eligible voters went to the polls Tuesday…”

[7] Kokomo Tribune 4 Nov 1992, Kokomo, IN

[8] Kokomo Tribune 5 Nov 1996, Kokomo, IN - 8,367 votes

2 comments:

  1. Great article! It is good to know more about Brenda. Congratulations to her on following the legacy of a great woman - her mom.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Thank you Debby! Her mom left big shoes to fill. Brenda has done her proud.

    ReplyDelete

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