The following is taken from Women of Courage, Ten North Country Pioneers in Profile, written and produced by the St. Lawrence County, NY Branch of the American Association of University Women (1989).


Louise Fletcher Chase

Distinguished Citizen


Louise Fletcher Chase can be described as a "Woman for All Seasons" and an outstanding contributor to many community projects. In 1972, Norwood, NY distinguished her the recipient of that village's first Distinguished Citizen Award in recognition of her many outstanding community services.

The North Country roots of Louise Fletcher Chase go back to the early 1800s when the Hale and Fletcher families settled in Norwood. Her father purchased "Baldwin Heights" and it was here that Louise and a twin sister, Margaret, were born on July 30, 1888.

Louise graduated from Norwood High School in 1905 and from Vassar College in 1911. In those days most women did not attend college and much was expected of those who did earn a college degree. One of her professors at Vassar told her upon graduation, "Go home and do something special for your town." Louise Fletcher Chase took that advice seriously. She returned to Norwood and became a teacher of high school history and government. She started a reading room over the local bakery where people could read newspapers and books. This was the forerunner of the Norwood Library founded in 1912 in which she was a moving spirit. She served as the Library Association's first secretary, and her sister Margaret was the first assistant librarian.

She responded to another need when she organized and became the first coach of the Girls Basketball team at Norwood High School. For 1914 to 1918, during World War I, she was Supervisor of Physical Education for the Town of Potsdam and both Norwood and Norfolk Schools. Also during this time she was Supervisor of the Junior Red Cross and founder of the Tanawadeh Council of Camp Fire Girls in Norwood.

Louise Fletcher Chase loved music and was the organist at the Norwood Congregational Church. She also taught others to play the organ. She later attended Harvard University for graduate work in music, and then went to New York City where she became music secretary for the YWCA.

In 1921 she married Carrol L. Chase and they lived in the Boston area for many years. She continued to serve her new community as organist of the Boston Congregational Church. Louise was a member of the League of Women Voters and served on the Massachusetts State League of Women Voters Executive Board for five years.

Her interest in politics was first expressed during her teaching years in Norwood when she campaigned vigorously for women's suffrage. Years later she liked to relate how she would put on her best suit, hat and gloves and stand on Main Street in Norwood handing our pamphlets supporting women's right to vote. She became one of the first women "election watchers." She supervised proper voting procedures and was serving in this capacity when the women's suffrage bill was first defeated in Norwood.

In 1958 when Louise Fletcher Chase and her sister, both widows, returned to Norwood to live in the family home at "Baldwin Heights" where Louise resumed her active role in the community. She continued for many years gathering information, pictures and artifacts for the Norwood Museum. Her interest in St. Lawrence County History led to the formation of the Norwood Historical Association. At the age of 84 she was co-author of "The Story of Norwood, NY 1872-1972." Many residents in Norwood still fondly remember Louise Fletcher Chase and appropriately her portrait hangs in the Norwood Museum to which she was such an active contributor.

After her death on July 21, 1974 the obituary in the Massena Observer stated, "Mrs. Chase was a women of rare ability, a loyal and thoughtful friend who gave freely of her many talents for the benefit of her church, her village and her friends."


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