Blue Ridge Country - March/April 2017 - 47

"The President and Edith Wilson" pose before her portrait at the Bolling Wilson.

parents, several aunts and some
cousins, Edith shared the home
with two grandmothers. From an
early age, she served as caregiver
for Grandmother Bolling as well as
the lady's 26 canaries. In turn, her
grandmother taught Edith to read,
write, speak French, sew dresses, appreciate good music and make quick
judgments. Grandmother Bolling
hated the word "can't" and forbade
it in their conversations. "You can
do anything you set your mind to,"
she told young Edith.
"We see Edith as a source of inspiration for young girls today,"
says Farron Smith. "She is the only
president's wife born in the southern Appalachians, and I think her
accomplishments can give girls in
this region a sense of pride."
Wilson was at heart a practical
person, something Wythevillians
love about her. As first lady during
World War I, she observed gasless
Sundays, meatless Mondays and
wheatless Wednesdays to set an
example for the federal rationing
effort. She even brought in sheep
to graze on the White House lawn
rather than waste manpower in

mowing it, and auctioned off the
wool to benefit the Red Cross.
Smith teamed up with retired
teacher Joyce Covey to produce
a children's book about Wilson's
White House flock, "How the Sheep
Helped Win the War." The museum's sheep-toy mascot, Woolie
Wythe, travels to book signings and
was pictured on Facebook visiting
Ireland with two museum board
members who spoke on Bolling
Wilson at the Ulster-American Heritage Symposium. The children's
book, published for the museum
by Mascot Books, is sold in three
Wytheville locations: the museum,
visitor center, and the Bolling Wilson Hotel.
When Bill and Farron Smith
renovated, named and opened the
four-story hotel across the street
from the museum in 2014, interest
in Edith soared. Wytheville's Convention and Visitors Bureau director sees the upscale boutique hotel
as an anchor to downtown revitalization efforts. Each floor is decorated in a theme from Edith's life:
the orchids Woodrow Wilson gave
her daily, the canaries she cared for

Edith Wilson's hoecake mix sells briskly at her birthplace
museum.

as a child, and bourbon-her drink.
The hotel's Graze on Main restaurant sports classy sheep art and offers Edith's signature hoecake recipe four delicious ways, from dessert
to dinner entrées. Edith Bolling
Wilson may have left town more
than 100 years ago, but suddenly
she's very cool.
When Chicago author William
Hazelgrove published an Edith Wilson bio in October 2016, "Madam
President: The Secret Presidency of
Edith Wilson," one of his first book
signings was held in Wytheville. He
sold at least seven times as many
copies in Wytheville as he did at
his next stop, Washington, D.C.
"Wytheville people are supportive of Edith. They've given us Bolling Wilson furniture. Girl Scouts
from all over the area come to earn
their Edith Wilson badges.The Bolling Wilsons are a big part of our
life now," says Farron Smith.
The Edith Bolling Wilson Birthplace Museum is open Tuesday -
Saturday 10-4. December - March
30 hours are 10-2 Thursday - Saturday. For more information, visit
edithbollingwilson.org. 
March/April 2017 47


http://www.edithbollingwilson.org

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Blue Ridge Country - March/April 2017

Features
Festival Guide 2017
Waterfalls of North Carolina: A Photo Essay
Wytheville Loves Edith
Barry Glick, Garden Guy
Vanishing Landmarks of North Georgia
Cheese!
Departments
From the Editor
Contributors
Mill Creek Stories
Worth a Click
Creature Feature
The Good Walk
Mountain Report
Country Roads
Singing in the Garden
Festivals & Events
Guest Column
Blue Ridge Country - March/April 2017 - Intro
Blue Ridge Country - March/April 2017 - Cover1
Blue Ridge Country - March/April 2017 - Cover2
Blue Ridge Country - March/April 2017 - 3
Blue Ridge Country - March/April 2017 - 4
Blue Ridge Country - March/April 2017 - 5
Blue Ridge Country - March/April 2017 - From the Editor
Blue Ridge Country - March/April 2017 - Contributors
Blue Ridge Country - March/April 2017 - 8
Blue Ridge Country - March/April 2017 - 9
Blue Ridge Country - March/April 2017 - Mill Creek Stories
Blue Ridge Country - March/April 2017 - 11
Blue Ridge Country - March/April 2017 - 12
Blue Ridge Country - March/April 2017 - 13
Blue Ridge Country - March/April 2017 - 14
Blue Ridge Country - March/April 2017 - 15
Blue Ridge Country - March/April 2017 - Worth a Click
Blue Ridge Country - March/April 2017 - Creature Feature
Blue Ridge Country - March/April 2017 - The Good Walk
Blue Ridge Country - March/April 2017 - 19
Blue Ridge Country - March/April 2017 - Mountain Report
Blue Ridge Country - March/April 2017 - 21
Blue Ridge Country - March/April 2017 - Country Roads
Blue Ridge Country - March/April 2017 - 23
Blue Ridge Country - March/April 2017 - 24
Blue Ridge Country - March/April 2017 - 25
Blue Ridge Country - March/April 2017 - Festival Guide 2017
Blue Ridge Country - March/April 2017 - 27
Blue Ridge Country - March/April 2017 - 28
Blue Ridge Country - March/April 2017 - 29
Blue Ridge Country - March/April 2017 - 30
Blue Ridge Country - March/April 2017 - 31
Blue Ridge Country - March/April 2017 - 32
Blue Ridge Country - March/April 2017 - 33
Blue Ridge Country - March/April 2017 - 34
Blue Ridge Country - March/April 2017 - 35
Blue Ridge Country - March/April 2017 - 36
Blue Ridge Country - March/April 2017 - 37
Blue Ridge Country - March/April 2017 - Waterfalls of North Carolina: A Photo Essay
Blue Ridge Country - March/April 2017 - 39
Blue Ridge Country - March/April 2017 - 40
Blue Ridge Country - March/April 2017 - 41
Blue Ridge Country - March/April 2017 - 42
Blue Ridge Country - March/April 2017 - 43
Blue Ridge Country - March/April 2017 - 44
Blue Ridge Country - March/April 2017 - Wytheville Loves Edith
Blue Ridge Country - March/April 2017 - 46
Blue Ridge Country - March/April 2017 - 47
Blue Ridge Country - March/April 2017 - Barry Glick, Garden Guy
Blue Ridge Country - March/April 2017 - 49
Blue Ridge Country - March/April 2017 - 50
Blue Ridge Country - March/April 2017 - 51
Blue Ridge Country - March/April 2017 - Vanishing Landmarks of North Georgia
Blue Ridge Country - March/April 2017 - 53
Blue Ridge Country - March/April 2017 - 54
Blue Ridge Country - March/April 2017 - 55
Blue Ridge Country - March/April 2017 - Cheese!
Blue Ridge Country - March/April 2017 - 57
Blue Ridge Country - March/April 2017 - Singing in the Garden
Blue Ridge Country - March/April 2017 - 59
Blue Ridge Country - March/April 2017 - 60
Blue Ridge Country - March/April 2017 - 61
Blue Ridge Country - March/April 2017 - Festivals & Events
Blue Ridge Country - March/April 2017 - 63
Blue Ridge Country - March/April 2017 - 64
Blue Ridge Country - March/April 2017 - 65
Blue Ridge Country - March/April 2017 - Guest Column
Blue Ridge Country - March/April 2017 - Cover3
Blue Ridge Country - March/April 2017 - Cover4
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