The Madison County Supervisor of Elections office honored five local women who are registered voters over 100 years old at the Madison County Courthouse on Wednesday, July 22, at 3 p.m. The agenda for the program began with an opening prayer by Rev. Robert Holmes; Sheriff Ben Stewart led the guests in the Pledge of Allegiance; Judge Bailey Browning welcomed guests; Clerk of Courts, Tim Sanders, read the Proclamation; closing remarks were by Tommy Hardee; and Rev. Sim Alexander said the closing prayer. Tommy Hardee, the Supervisor of Elections of Madison County, said it was awesome to recognize people that have fought for their right to vote.
“This was an awesome day,” said Hardee. The five women honorees were: Georgia Johnson, Essie King, Eloise Stewart, Cora Thigpen and Willard Whitty. Johnson and Stewart were not present at the ceremony. Hardee told stories about each honoree and their life. “The neatest thing about this is when you can sit and talk to some of the family,” said Hardee. Johnson’s family was present. Johnson, 101 years old, was born in Madison and married William Johnson. She has six children, 14 grandchildren, 12 great-grandchildren and three great-great grandchildren. She was a housewife. “If I had the opportunity that the young people have today, I would’ve been somebody,” said Johnson. Patricia Holmes, the niece of Johnson, said she thought it was a wonderful program to honor all of the elderly people, especially over 100, which is a blessing. “It was honorable of Tommy Hardee to recognize these people,” said Holmes. “My aunt is a lovely and Christian-hearted lady.”
King, 108, whose birthday was Monday, July 20, died on Friday, July 24. She wasn’t feeling well and didn’t have a lot to say, said Hardee. She lived in Mississippi most of her life and moved to Madison in 1988. The next honoree Hardee mentioned was Stewart. “I think her mind is better than mine,” he said. She is 104 years old and has two children, five grandchildren and six great grandchildren. Her father was a commissioner and she went with him from house-to-house when he campaigned. Thigpen, 105, was married to Shelly Williams and had nine children. She gained seven stepchildren and has 24 grandchildren, 43 great-grandchildren and 52 great-great-grandchildren. She loves gardening, quilting and playing the piano. Angel Weeks, the granddaughter of Thigpen, and a teacher at Moulton-Branch Elementary School in Valdosta, Ga., shared her thoughts. “It’s a tribute to her endurance and Madison County honoring her heritage.” Whitty, 100, was raised in Jacksonville and retired in 1979. She got married in 1981 and moved to Lee. She is an active member of the Eastern Star Garden Club. “She reads a lot, likes crossword puzzles and anything to keep her mind sharp,” said Hardee. After the honorees were presented with their certificates, some of Madison County’s officials congratulated them. Hardee thanked several people that helped make the program a success. Refreshments were served immediately following the program.
1. Photo Submitted. Honoree, Cora Thigpen, 105, and her family at the 100-year-old registered voters program.
2. Photo Submitted. One of the five women honored at the local registered voters program, Willard Whitty, 100, smiling after being honored.
3. Photo Submitted. Tommy Hardee, the Supervisor of Elections of Madison County, presents Eloise Stewart, 104, with a centenarian certificate at the voters over 100 years old, registered voters’ program.