The Southern Area of The Links, Incorporated came into existence on the Monday after Easter, April 19, 1948 at 1:00 p.m. with the organizing of the sixth club – Rocky Mount-Wilson-Tarboro. The establishment of this group came after more than a year of intense planning and activity by the founders of The Links, Incorporated, Links Sarah Scott and Margaret Hawkins, and their seven friends of the Philadelphia Club. They felt it was time to expand their organization into the South. This duty was given to their friend Julia Delaney of Raleigh, NC and Link Doris Joyner Reynolds, who became a member of the Philadelphia Club late in 1947 (Link Reynolds was born in Winton, NC).
Julia Delaney discussed this with her daughter, Nan Delaney (Hines) Johnson, who lived in Wilson, NC. Nan felt that eastern North Carolina was an ideal place to extend the chain of friendship. With the help of her friend, Ann Armstrong of Rocky Mount, NC, five friends from Rocky Mount, five friends from Wilson, and one friend from Tarboro, NC were named and this began the Rocky Mount-Wilson-Tarboro Chapter of The Links, Incorporated. Julia Delaney brought her cousin, Link Doris Reynolds of the Philadelphia Club, to Rocky Mount to induct the thirteen ladies into the first southern club of Linkdom. Link Doris Reynolds administered the pledge in an impressive candlelight ceremony to Ann Armstrong, Marguerite Armstrong, Sallie Armstrong, Nancy Bowens, Esmeralda Hawkins, and Jessie Pash of Rocky Mount, Grace Artis, Addie Butterfield, Norma Darden, Ethel Hines, Nan Delaney Hines, and Vera Shade of Wilson and Helen G. Quigless of Tarboro.
Even though the Club was organized in Rocky Mount at the home of Esmeralda Rich Hawkins and initially called Rocky Mount-Wilson-Tarboro, the name later changed to Wilson-Rocky Mount-Tarboro because the inspiration from the idea of having this group came from Nan Delaney (Hines) Johnson of Wilson, NC who served as the first president of the club.
One year later. the Raleigh Links Club formally organized at noon on the Monday after Easter, April 18, 1949 at the home of Mayme R. McCauley. Link Doris Reynolds of the Philadelphia Club directed an impressive initiation ceremony. Julia B. Delaney, organizer, served as the first president of the club, which became the second Southern Area Club. All Clubs were later called Chapters of The Links, Incorporated. Currently, there are 274 chapters.
In 1954, The Links, Incorporated was decentralized into four geographic areas: Eastern, Southern, Central and Western. Chapter growth was maintained by having existing chapters sponsor chapters in other cities. For example, the Raleigh Chapter sponsored the 3rd chapter in the South-Winston Salem Chapter in 1950, and the Wilson-Rocky Mount-Tarboro Chapter sponsored the Charlotte Chapter (#14) in 1955. Later, this rule was limited to a radius of 25 miles.
The Southern Area has grown from two chapters in 1949 to 77 chapters in seven states and the Bahamas (the Republic of South Africa chapter was retired in 2004). There are 9 chapters in Alabama, 19 in Florida, 15 in Georgia, 1 in the Bahamas, 8 in Louisiana, 5 in Mississippi, 14 in North Carolina and 6 in South Carolina. Prior to 1965, West Virginia and Texas were part of the Southern Area.
Of the 13 National Presidents, 5 were elected president while residing in the Southern Area: Links Pauline Weeden-Maloney, Helen G. Edmonds, Julia Brogden-Purnell, Regina J. Frazier, and Patricia Russell-McCloud, J.D.
Southern Area National Presidents