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The Blue Book of Iowa Women A History of Contemporary Women

Compiled by Winona Evans Reeves, 1914.


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Miss S. Elizabeth Matheney

The woman who holds the record in Iowa, if not in all the United States, in the length of tenure of a state office, is Miss Sarah Elizabeth Matheney of Keokuk, who has for twenty-three consecutive years been secretary of the Rebekah Assembly I. O. O. F. of Iowa.  She was born near St. Francisville, Mo., March 8, 1861.  Her parents, Mr. and Mrs. Andrew N. Matheney, came to Iowa in 1853.  Her father was a shoe manufacturer and later in the retail business.  Miss Matheney, after graduating from the high school and a business college, for many years aided her father in the store, and it was here she got the business training, which has made her the expert in keeping the records of the more than 41,000 members who comprise the Rebekah assembly of Iowa.  When she was elected to this office in 1891 where were 74 lodges with a membership of 4,000;  where are in 1914, in Iowa, 566 lodges with a membership of 41,000.  She has done much to promote this remarkable advancement.  Many of the laws and the improved methods in the state work are due to her insight and realization of the needs of the Degree.  She is perhaps the best known woman in the organization and is a woman of great influence.  The Journals of the State Proceedings which she issues annually are models of their kind.  She is a devoted member of the M. E. church, and of the Bible school.  She is a member of the Civic League of Keokuk and has served the organization as treasurer.  Miss Matheney is appreciated, not only in her public service, but in her home, where she has ever been a most devoted daughter and sister, always ready to sacrifice her own interest and advancement for the love and care of those who were ill or needed her aid.



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