Austin Hostetter graduates from Camden-Frontier High School in the spring of 2016. He is an ambitious learner with a passion for history and art history. He was a leader at his school, being involved with band, drama, NHS, FFA, student government and Student Council. He thinks of himself as a visionary for the future by studying the past.
The Woman’s Congress: Trial and Victories in Hillsdale History
When people discuss the rich history of Hillsdale County, more often than not you will hear about the Hillsdale County Fair and its longstanding involvement in shaping the community. Having just recently held their 165th opening, many groups can proudly call the fair their birthplace, but no group has been more influential than The Woman’s Congress. The Woman’s Congress rooted itself into the heart of Hillsdale Country since their first meeting in 1897.
The original purpose of The Woman’s Congress was to bridge the gap between urban and rural women of the area by showing their common interests in music, crafts, and many other creative endeavors. The group also wanted to empower the local women and prove to the town that they were hardworking and filled with determination, this principle resulting in their original motto of “Let us women put down self and work for a cause.” And work for a cause they very well did, as The Woman’s Congress just recently held its 119th annual meeting with five days packed full of performances.
As the years progressed, The Woman’s Congress incorporated many more members of the community and removed their exclusively women policy. Due to this, they changed their motto to the equally powerful “The more one gives to others, the more one receives for oneself.” Though the original mission of The Woman’s Congress was to bridge a gap between urban and rural life, they now work to connect the newer generations with the generations past and the values that they held true in their lives. This can be clearly seen by the women who wear their period-appropriate dresses and run the meetings each year.
From the original president, Mrs. Kate Ward, all the way to the current president, Carol Rosales, The Woman’s Congress has served as a showcase for local talent as well as a place to remember the days of the past so that we many incorporate their values into our future. As the world rushes into tomorrow, it is important that we not forget the lessons we learned yesterday. And rest assured, The Woman’s Congress will always be there to lend a humble hand and remind us that our generations aren’t so different from one another.
Austin S. Hostetter - 2016