Rural Leadership

16-year-old Helena Muffly wrote exactly 100 years ago today: 

Sunday, February 11, 1912:  Went to Sunday School this afternoon. A lawyer from Sunbury was there. He was an excellent speaker. Ruth had some unusual news to impart after she arrived. Carrie was over a little while this afternoon. Gave her one of my pictures. Also gave my Sunday School teacher one.

Recent photo of McEwensville

Her middle-aged granddaughter’s comments 100 years later:

Sunbury is the county seat of Northumberland County. It is about 20 miles from McEwensville.

The lawyer may have spoken about the leadership.

As I mentioned last week, in 1912 the Country Life Movement was actively working to revitalize rural communities since many youth were leaving for jobs in the cities.

We’ll never know what the lawyer said, but I can tell you what was written in a magazine published in 1912 about the leadership skills needed to revitalize rural communities.

A well-organized personality reflects its efficiency in the organization in which it dominates, and vice versa.

Such are the qualifications of leadership and the organizing capacity which may be described as the ability to build and operate human machinery. It has its roots in tact and skill in dealing with men, in tenacity and in a certain instinct for construction.

One who possesses it sees a new person as social material and is likely to know what can be made of him better than he knows himself.

This type of ability was never in any such demand as it now is, particularly in the rapid rise of the Country Life Movement.

Rural Manhood  (January 1912) (A Magazine Published by the YMCA)


Carrie Stout was a friend of Grandma’s. Grandma had her photo taken by a professional photographer in January.

4 thoughts on “Rural Leadership

  1. Been following your grandma’s diary, and many times flashes of familiarity would come through — then today, I realized that you were talking about Northumberland County and parts thereabout. Ah, ha, stories of from my greatgrandfather were a subset — he being born in Northumberland County. Small world.

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