Jessie O Yancey

YANCEY, JESSIE O. (b. October 13, 1877, Maysville, Ky.; d. September 1, 1960, Lexington, Ky.) Jessie Yancey, the daughter of William Harrison and Rebecca Bell Oridge Yancey, was privately taught, yet she became a teacher in Mason Co. at many of the old one-room schools. Yancey was the first woman elected to public office in Mason Co., although at the time women could not vote: she became the first woman superintendent of schools in Mason Co., serving two terms (1910–1918). She was mostly associated with the Mayslick School, where she instituted a transportation system for the new consolidated Mayslick school in 1909. The provision of transportation precluded any excuses for students who used to say that they could not get to the more distant consolidated school.

In 1918 Yancey moved to Lexington and worked for the Kentucky Health and Welfare League and later the Fayette Co. schools. She was interested in health issues, recognizing that students needed to be healthy to be able to learn. It was only in later life that she ever attended a college class, long after she had run the school system in Mason Co. Yancey knew that success in school was a function of being present to learn, and in 1940 in Lexington she headed a committee to address that issue. Yancey was a cousin of Rebekah Hord, mayor of Maysville, the first woman mayor in Kentucky. Yancey, an Episcopalian, died at Good Samaritan Hospital in Lexington in 1960 and was buried at the Maysville Cemetery.

“Juvenile Delinquency.” Lexington Leader, March 4, 1940, 13.

Mason Co. Schools, Vertical File, Mason Co. Museum, Maysville, Ky.

“Miss Jessie O. Yancey Passes in Lexington,” Maysville Daily Independent, September 8, 1960, 1.

Above based on excerpted from page 981 of THE ENCYCLOPEDIA OF NORTHERN KENTUCKY THE UNIVERSITY PRESS OF KENTUCKY ISBN 978-0-8131-2565-7

Her Hat in the Ring