There are some, believe it or not, who don’t realize that the “church ladies” are not the only hard working women in Wabash, and who confuse the UCW or the Marietta Circle with the Wabash Women’s Institute. The members of the WWI are from almost every denomination and doing double duty in both their churches and the Wabash Women’s Institute.
The WI’s founder, Adelaide Hunter Hoodless, became an advocate for Domestic Science Education for Women, after her youngest son died from contaminated milk. Through lecturing, lobbying elected representatives, and determination—and all in the era before women in Canada held the elective franchise or were even recognized as “persons” in the BNA Act--Adelaide Hunter Hoodless was able to mobilize women to support new standards for health and domestic education, and the Federated Women’s Institute of Canada was born – soon spreading to England.
Wabash Women’s Institute members work in the same tradition to support this rural community. Their gifts to projects in both Thamesville and Dresden are amazing, especially at Christmas. The WI meeting hall was a gift from the Forester’s Lodge when that group dissolved, and the illustrious ladies have also been given deed to the Wabash Park by the park committee. Both the building and the grounds are kept in ship shape by the hard work of members! Quilting is a popular craft and Shirley Phillips – quilting machine – was a real bonus in “woman hours.” Luncheons, teas, card parties, supplies for children’s services in Chatham, and not to be forgotten, the boy and girl scouts, and scholarship awards for LKCS students are but few of the sponsorships of the WWI. The volunteer hours recorded at every meeting for federal purposes are in the thousands and give the institute influence in lobbying for change.