Tuesday, June 28, 2016

The Great Debater

Rebecca Williamson "Becky" Carter was the daughter of Edward M. and Fannie May (Capen) Carter. She was my great-aunt. She was fiercely independent and self-reliant. Her father died when she was only ten and she helped her mother raise her four brothers. She not only graduated from high school; she graduated from Bates College in 1933. She would later earn a Master's degree from the University of Wyoming. She married Bruce B. Bailey on October 10, 1942 in a bright red wedding dress. They settled on a relatively isolated farm and happily lived without running water, electricity, or a telephone, cooking and heating with wood stoves for their adult lives. I remember that they even rolled their own cigarettes. Finally, after Uncle Bruce died, the family convinced Aunt Becky that she had to get a telephone in case of emergency. Although they chose to live frugally, they did indulge in the things they really enjoyed. Aunt Becky practiced her French to stay fluent and took a few trips to France. She continued to engage in educational pursuits whether it was a national institute or an adult education class. She & Uncle Bruce were avid readers and subscribed to national newspapers and owned many books. Uncle Bruce and Aunt Becky never had children, but upon her death, she set up a scholarship fund to help her great-nieces and great-nephews and their children pay for higher education. To say that she was unconventional, would be an understatement. 

Rebecca Williamson Carter - graduation photo from The Mirror, 1933
Anyone who encountered Becky or one of her brothers will attest to their ability to debate issues. Therefore, I was not surprised to find the following in the Bates yearbook, The Mirror, for 1933. Becky won awards for debating and was inducted into the forensic honor society, Delta Sigma Rho. 

Freshmen Winning Team and Best Individual Speaker Awards
Women Debaters - Becky is second from the left in the front row

National Honorary Forensic Society

 Source Information: Ancestry.com.U.S.,School Yearbooks, 1880­-2012 [database on­line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2010. Original data:Various school yearbooks from across the United States. 

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