Sadie Watson: Hamilton County's first elected female
Sadie Watson took the oath to become the first female register of deeds and elected official in Hamilton County on February 1, 1922.
She ran as a Republican candidate and carried every district in the county, allowing her opponent, Randolph Howell, majorities in only 10 of the smaller precincts.
Watson's vote count over Randolph Howell was 3,820, -- 1,196 of those being in Chattanooga.
It is not known if gender played a role in the campaign as there is little campaign literature from that election.
Since the gender of the voters was not recorded, it is not known how many women voted for Watson.
In a January Chattanooga Times Free Press article, Sadie's predecessor, Willard Springfield, expressed full confidence in Watson's ability to perform the duties of register.
"Miss Sadie Watson is the most thoroughly efficient and capable woman in the country. She is able to conduct any sort of business no matter of what magnitude. She knows every phase of work in the register's office and the patrons have every confidence in her ability. She has been so courteous and painstaking in her work that all who have had business with this office commend her most highly," Springfield said.
This was a remarkable vote of confidence as the women's equality movement had just officially been recognized by the United States government less than two years earlier.
Sadie would not be the last female register.
In 1926, Pearl Chivington was elected. Dorothy Brammer filled the office from 1954 to 1986. Sarah Defriese was register from 1986 to 1994. Pam Hurst had been the register since 1994 until last year.